Rachel Zoledal, the former Spokane NAACP president who stepped down yesterday after being outed as white, sat down with Matt Lauer on the Today show and said plainly that she identifies as a black woman.
When Zoledal was asked if she was an African-American woman, she replied, “I identify as black.”
“It’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of, ‘Are you black or white?’ I was actually identified [as black] when I was doing human rights work in North Idaho as first transracial, and then when some of the opposition to some of the human rights work I was doing came forward and started, the next newspaper article identified me as being a biracial woman. And then when the next article when there were actually burglaries, nooses, etc., [it] was ‘This is happening to a black woman,’ and I never corrected that.”
She has also been accused of blackface. Zoledal denies ever being in blackface, saying that she doesn’t “stay out of the sun” and has problems with the act. “This is not some freak Birth of a Nation mockery blackface performance,” said Zoledal. “This is on a very real connected level. I’ve actually had to go there with the experience, not just a visible representation but with the experience. And the point at which that really solidified was when I got full custody of Isaiah.”
What does this even mean? This breaks down absolutely nothing on whether Zoledal really believes she was/is in blackface.
She deflected most questions, especially when Lauer brought up her 2002 discrimination lawsuit against Howard University. Zoledal sued the school for removing her scholarship and teaching assistant position, claiming that they said there were more deserving black students who needed it, and that she could have gotten help elsewhere because she was white. The lawsuit has since been dismissed.
Throughout her scandal, Zoledal is attempting to maintain her peace and self-identity. “My life has been one of survival,” she said, “and the decisions I’ve made along the way, including my identification, have been to survive and to carry forward in my journey and life’s continuum.”
If you really want to, watch her interview here.
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