Rachel Dolezal's Family Reveal Even More Troubling Details About Her Past

rachel dolezalIt's not a big shock that Rachel Dolezal quit the NAACP in Spokane, Washington, today. The chapter leader, who had represented herself as biracial, was recently exposed as plain ol' white. Dolezal is correct when she says in her Facebook resignation letter that the debate over her identity is distracting from the organization's cause. But what is surprising is the way Dolezal's family has responded. 


They're not hiding how much they've been hurt by her.

First there's Rachel's parents, who outed their daughter as white in the first place. Of course, they didn't just up and announce themselves out of the blue. Lawrence Dolezal tells Savannah Guthrie on the TODAY show that they were contacted by an investigative reporter, and simply answered the reporter's questions truthfully. 

We taught our children, as we raised all 6 of them, ‘Tell the truth. Always be honest.’ So we weren’t going to lie, we told the truth. Rachel is our birth daughter.

The Dolezals have been estranged from their daughter for years. Rachel has claimed she was physically abused in childhood (and raised in a teepee, and hunted for her food with a bow and arrow ...), but her parents refute that claim. Ruthanne says, "I think Rachel has tried to damage her biological family, and those kinds of claims, as false as they were, seemed to serve her purposes in her mind."

I can imagine Rachel's behavior has been hurtful for the Dolezals for many reasons. They admit they are as perplexed as anyone, but they hope to reconcile with her someday.

More from The Stir: Parents of White Woman Pretending to Be Black Have Just as Much Explaining to Do

Rachel's brother, Ezra Dolezal, who actually is black and was adopted, tells Buzzfeed he thinks he does know what triggered his sister's identity reinvention: The treatment she received as a white student attending the historically black university, Howard.

She used to tell us that teachers treated her differently than other people and a lot of them acted like they didn’t want her there. Because of her work in African-American art, they thought she was a black student during her application, but they ended up with a white person...

It’s like what psychologists call self-hating. She had no reason not to like herself being white. She was an awesome artist and she could have accomplished everything she did, if she had stayed exactly the same.

Ezra disputed several of the other claims his sister has made in her life (like that she was diagnosed with cancer) before hitting he with the ultimate harsh judgment: Rachel Dolezal has been donning blackface.

“She puts dark makeup on her face and says she black,” Ezra told Buzzfeed. “It’s basically blackface."

Yeah, I'd say he's pissed at his sister. 

Meanwhile the New York Daily News dug up Dolezal's divorce documents (because why not?) and found a note from her soon-to-be ex-husband, Kevin Moore, expressing concern that she was poisoning their son's mind against them. 

He mentioned that you stated something ... about ‘handcuffs’ and something about ‘me never seeing him again. He also stated that you said I have ‘monsters’ in my house. I hate to think you may be just sitting at home thinking of bad and erroneous things to say about me to Franklin.

It sounds like Dolezal's lies have severely damaged her relationships with her family. She's cut herself off from her parents, angered at least one sibling, and she may be damaging her son's relationship with his father. What you get is a painful portrait of how living a lie can ultimately isolate you.

Dolezal clearly needs help. But through her actions she's cut herself off from the very people who would otherwise be first in line to support her. I hope she does get help and repairs her family ties, because the truth is we'll all forget about Rachel Dolezal in a few months. But she has to live with her legacy for the rest of her life. When the spotlight leaves, all you have left is your relationships.

Do you think Dolezal will ever reconcile with her parents and siblings?


Image via Spokeane NAAC./Facebook



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