From Questions to Controversy over NAACP President

By Faye Higbee

The NAACP President in Spokane, Washington, Rachel Dolezal, has gone from questions over the hate mail that we reported yesterday, to questions over whether she is actually Black.

Ms. Dolezal has been on the Spokane commission that oversees the police department (OPO-Office of Police Ombudsman) since August of 2014. She was on the Idaho Task Force on Human Relations for 3 years.


NAACP president

Rachel Dolezal has no black heritage…but is the President of the local NAACP – Screenshot, Fox News

Who is she really?

But an interview with her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, told the Spokesman Review newspaper that her racial ancestry was actually Czech, German, and Swedish with “faint traces” of American Indian.

Ruthanne told the paper that Rachel began to “disguise” herself in 2006-2007 after her family adopted 4 African-American children.

“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself. Her effectiveness in the causes of the African-American community would have been so much more viable, and she would have been more effective if she had just been honest with everybody.” Ruthanne Dolezal

Harassment Claims

Recent questions over her reports of hate mail raised suspicions over whether the reports of racially motivated harassment were real. Previous cases of her reporting such attacks were believed to be unfounded or simply false by Idaho authorities. That situation opened the way for longstanding doubts to be voiced over Rachel’s credibility.

After the Spokesman Review broke the news that Ms. Dolezal has no black heritage, the city of Spokane began to investigate her position on the police commission. A private investigator in nearby North Idaho has been investigating her background. The NAACP had previously been discussing her background, but kept those discussions between themselves. Eastern Washington University, where she teaches African American studies, would not comment to the newspaper.

The Spokesman review reported that one Idaho Task Force member  said he was suspicious of several incidents Dolezal reported in Coeur d’Alene, one of which was a swastika placed on the door of the Human Rights Education Institute. Interestingly, the security camera was “mysteriously turned off” at the time of that incident.

Her answers to the paper and other news media have skirted the issue. She stated that the issue had “complexities” and that “we’re all from the African Continent.” She claimed her mother’s revelations stemmed from an ongoing dispute in the family.

What was the motive for the deception? Is this a woman who saw an opportunity to become important, or does she crave attention? If she truly cares about racial issues, it wouldn’t have needed deception to foster a dialog.  It is unclear whether the recent report of hate mail is false, but some of her past reports may have been. It’s a “complex” issue.