Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP, has come under fire recently, due to her biological parents’ claim she’s been falsely representing herself as a black woman.
Dolezal, 37, also works as a part-time professor of the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University, and is chairwoman of the city’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.
The city of Spokane said she identified herself as white, black, and American Indian on her application.
Spokane’s mayor, Mayor David Condon, and City Council President Ben Stuckart said the city is currently investigating whether Dolezal violated any city regulations when she applied for the position, and released a joint statement Thursday, stating:
“We are committed to independent citizen oversight, and take very seriously the concerns raised regarding the chair of the independent citizen police ombudsman commission. We are gathering facts to determine if any city policies related to volunteer boards and commissions have been violated. That information will be reviewed by the City Council, which has oversight of city boards and commissions.”
Dolezal’s mother, Ruthanne, said Dolezal’s ethnicity is actually Czech, and German, with trace amounts of Native American roots.
“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself,” her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, said during an interview with the Spokesman-Review. “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.”
Rachel Dolezal has not currently admitted to misrepresenting herself as an African-American woman, and said the issue emerged because she has been in the middle of a legal dispute with her parents, from whom she has been estranged for several years.
Her parents said she began misrepresenting herself as a black woman in 2006 or 2007, after her family adopted four black children.
Ruthanne said she only decided to comment on the matter when contacted by reporters.
Eastern Washington University and the NAACP have not provided comment on the matter.