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A Life to be Heard

Photo by Shawntelle Moncy

Rachel Dolezal, an EWU Professor, sits on a couch at her home in front of an original painting she created. Dolezal obtained her master's in fine arts at Howard University.

By Shawntelle Moncy, Staff Writer

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When I first walked up to Rachel Doležal’s bright red front door that stood out from the light beige home on South Hill, I felt nervous to have taken up this busy woman’s time to ask her about her life. I wasn’t sure if I was an inconvenience to her or if she would be really interested in sharing her story with a stranger.

She opened the door and looked at me with unexpected green eyes, a caramel skin complexion and a warm smile; I felt a relief from my nervousness and couldn’t help but smile back at her.

Doležal has many faces in Spokane County, including NAACP President, chairman for the Office of the Police Ombudsman — she participates in ride-alongs, observing both police and citizens’ behavior — advisor for Black Student Union at EWU and Africana Studies professor at EWU. She’s an activist wherever she steps foot, a columnist for the Inlander and a mother 24/7.

Yet these titles mean little to Doležal, she’s more concerned with the difference she can make in the positions they represent. “Some people think I’m really successful because I have titles, but I feel like my success is only measured in what work gets done,” she said.

Doležal welcomed me inside her little home full of sweet simplicity. Our voices echoed off the room’s hardwood floors. The walls were covered in abstract paintings I felt must have had a story behind the bristles that I could not wait to ask about.

She laughed as she excused the mess, though the mess was insignificant. Many books and papers were laid on her table and picture frames were on every surface showing her and a young boy; I could tell their relationship was sweet. She guided me to her black, leather couch where I sat across from this lively woman and began to ask her how she got to where she is today.

From the Montana tepee where she was born in 1977 to empowering the black community in Spokane today, Doležal has lived a life full of experiences “most people normally don’t have to go through.”

According to Doležal, “Jesus Christ” is the witness on her birth certificate. Her mother believed in living off the land; they lived in the middle of nowhere.

As a child, Doležal and her family hunted their food with bows and arrows.

From Montana, she, her mother, stepfather and three siblings moved to Colorado in 1992 for two years. From there, her family moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where her stepfather accepted a religious job opportunity.

“It’s a painful thing to talk about my childhood,” she paused as she looked down into her hands. “I kind of don’t talk about it much.”

Doležal has no contact today with her mother or stepfather due to a series of events that still haunt her thoughts today.

Doležal and her siblings were physically abused by her mother and stepfather. “They would punish us by skin complexion,” she said.

According to Doležal, the object her mother and stepfather used to punish them was called a baboon whip, used to ward baboons away in South Africa. These whips would leave scars behind, “they were pretty similar to what was used as whips during slavery.”

In 1996, she moved to Jackson, Mississippi, to pursue a four-year degree in art with a full ride scholarship.

She met her now ex-husband and afterward moved to Washington D.C. in 1999 where they married and where Doležal furthered her education in the fine arts at Howard University, graduating with a master’s degree.

“I’m a creator, and so whether that’s painting, whether that’s creating organizationally or creating curriculum, whatever, I like to create things,” she said.

During her time at Howard, her paintings sold quite well in convention centers around the nation, the highest for around $10,000.

As Doležal spoke about her artwork, I turned myself around on her couch to admire her large painting on the wall behind me.

“You can come sit over here, so you don’t have to twist your body around,” she laughed as I got up and sat next to her and we admired her painting together.

She named the painting, “The Return.” It was a large, horizontal painting with three different sections from left to right.

“It’s kind of a dialogue between cynicism and optimism,” she said. The painting’s first section on the far left showed a boy pulling back a curtain to reveal to a woman what chaos was going on outside.

The middle frame showed a wretched storm in a sea with four sharks to represent the cynicism and four doves to represent the optimism.

The last frame showed the boy closing the curtain and trying to understand the optimism within the storm.

One of Doležal’s paintings was at a convention center in San Francisco, where her and a trusted mentor went out to dinner together to celebrate the sale. As soon as Doležal looked away, the mentor slipped gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, also called the “date-rape drug,” into her drink.

According to Doležal, her mentor took advantage of her that night. She said suing was nearly impossible due to the amount of wealth the man had.

“I can never trust anyone to bring me a drink again, you know, because it was a trusted person,” she said.

After graduating from Howard University, Doležal and her husband moved to Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, where she gave birth to their baby boy named Franklin.

In 2003, her family moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where her relationship with her husband became unhealthy.

According to Doležal, her ex-husband was abusive to her and even their son. At two years old, little Franklin would intervene between Doležal and her ex-husbands violence and “he would sometimes get thrown across the room,” she said.

She made the decision for her and the protection of her son to divorce her husband in 2004.

According to Doležal, the decision to divorce her husband was a hard decision to make. “I wanted to have sort of like a perfect record, like there’s no room for error,” she explained.
“Probably because that was how I was raised, like it’s ingrained in me that I had to excel and if I didn’t excel, things were [going to] go wrong and so being a single mom is a failure, you know … that was not excelling.”

In 2006, Doležal developed cervical cancer. During chemotherapy, she decided to keep her incredibly long, blonde dreadlocks she had had and still puts them on today. She was considered cured in 2008.

In Idaho, Doležal took on the role as director of the Human Rights Institute, where North Idaho white supremacy groups burglarized every home she and her son lived in. Doležal said she believes the white supremacy groups felt threatened by female power. According to Doležal, they hung nooses in her home, vandalized and stole from her property, directed death threats toward her along with threatening to kidnap Franklin while he was in the second grade.

She reported all of these acts to the police and each was admitted into police records as hate crimes, yet the culprits were never caught.

Doležal moved from home to home and everywhere she moved, they followed. The hate crimes finally ended when she moved to Spokane in 2012.

With the experiences Doležal had throughout the years, she chooses to try to make change in the world as best she can.

“You should educate in order to make social change. You should educate in order to make a better society, not just educate in order to get a degree and get a job,” she said.

Today, Doležal involves herself in any opportunities where she can to have a voice. She looks at her work as a continuing journey toward justice. Rather than becoming bitter, Doležal chooses to empower others to lead in their communities no matter what challenges she faces. She wishes to reawaken the sense of empowerment.

“It’s really painful from my mom and, you know, everybody that’s pretty much said they loved me at some point or were there for me, has betrayed me in a pretty significant way,” she said, struggling to find the words to describe her feeling. “And so it takes a lot of self-work to keep your heart open and just to engage in relationships and not get bitter and not get jaded.”

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48 Comments

48 Responses to “A Life to be Heard”

  1. Subcomandante Goatz on June 11th, 2015 8:09 pm

    One has to wonder, in light of recent events, how much of here story is actually true.

    [Reply]

  2. Stacy on June 12th, 2015 5:43 am

    Leave this woman alone. She has helped lots of people, and that’s all that really matters!

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    Lindsey M Reply:

    I disagree. When she decided to fake hate crimes, she discredited people who actually have had this terrifying experience. When police and federal postal investigators had to respond to bogus claims, she filtered time, money, and resources from people who were actually victims of crimes or in emergency situations.

    Rachel accepted positions in the community that were put into place to give a voice to minority residents. By faking her minority status, she prevented other people, who had ACTUAL experiences living as a racial minority in our area, from filling those important roles as advisers to our local government and police departments. That hurts the people she is claiming to support.

    Rachel profited off her lies. She was paid to speak and paid to teach based on her experiences as black woman in modern society. This means that someone with actual experiences as a minority living in the United States, did not get the teaching position at EWU and did not get to share their stories as the President of the NAACP.

    Who knows if her accusations of abuse by her parents, ex-husband, and mentor are real, but if they are not, then she has hurt a lot of people who loved her. Because of her history of fraud, deception, and attention-seeking pathology, it is difficult to believe anything that she says. I would argue that a lot more people were hurt than were helped by this woman.

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    rachel Reply:

    WORD!

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    rachel Reply:

    UMMM THIS IS BLACK FACE! Falsely claiming to be black, fabricating the truth, profiting off peoples oppression and faking hate crimes is NOT helping anyone, it is SOOOO WRONG.

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  3. James F on June 12th, 2015 6:29 am

    She’s the daughter of 2 European parents, and this now reads like an Onion or Viz article. She’s got one hell of a vivid imagination though that’s for sure.

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  4. Rory on June 12th, 2015 8:46 am

    I have tears in my eyes. “I was born a poor Black child.” Navin Johnson

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  5. BrownCowgirl on June 12th, 2015 10:03 am

    I have read a lot of articles about this woman since the story broke, but this one is the most frightening. Pretending to be black is almost the least of her crimes. She has potentially victimized several people with her allegations of abuse, she has done great damage to those with legitimate complaints of hate crimes, and she has involved children in a very twisted and sick game. It was not enough to simply pass but at every turn she has sought to raise her profile through manufactured tragedy. And, yes, this does overshadow the good she may have otherwise done. She needs help, she needs to set the record straight, and she needs to make amends.

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  6. Lily on June 12th, 2015 1:42 pm

    I think this is all a lie … she said she moved from here to there and then back to Jackson,Mississippi . Her parents said she grew up there, not moving until she went to college. I find this interesting,why would she lie about her race for one when she is clearly white. I’ve seen pictures of her when she was little w her long blonde hair. Hopefully she addresses this situation and quickly. If not she’ll end up losing everything she worked so hard for and for what…still confused about that one.

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  7. SoapBoxGirl on June 12th, 2015 2:37 pm

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I must say that I would be very afraid to have some of you on a jury. Many seem quick to jump to “knowing” facts they can not possibly know about this woman, her family history, or her experiences with hate crimes. I’d like to point out some overlooked details and share my view. I noticed all the other children her parents adopted were black. It’s not really clear to me who the step-father was and who the biological father was and if the father on the birth certificate was even her biological father. Clearly no one has ever lied on a birth certificate. 🙂 I’m not sure why so many believe the two parents. Maybe its the photos of when she was little – of course children’s hair and looks never change as they grow up… Blondes never become brunettes naturally (insert sarcasm). Remember families are complex and often dysfunctional. “Mom” and “Dad” are often not those genetically related to us, but those who parent us and love us. When she took care of her adopted brother, becoming his legal guardian, and parented him, she might as well have been his mom. She may have played the role of mom to that boy for more years that anyone can know. That’s between her and her son (previously her adopted brother). I say leave her alone to do more good in the community. I’d hate to see us require blood tests to prove our ethnicities. That is a slippery slope my friends. And pull back on the race to judgment (pun intended).

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    Paulette Burgess Reply:

    While I can’t understand the motive in her actions — and I think lying about alleged racially motivated criminal attacks is both awful and likely to incite actual crimes against whites — I agree with the spirit of this letter writer’s sentiment, which is thus: leave her alone. She is trying her best to be help the black community. And she is such a talented artist. Let her employers sort it out.

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    G Reply:

    She is a fraud, and a liar, it may not be clear to you but most of the rest of us see it just fine.

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    ATX Reply:

    Well said, Rachel. (insert sarcasm)

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    SPinDC Reply:

    It isn’t an opinion to say that she’s clearly delusional and a liar. There are many examples of forms where she’s checked the ethnic identity boxes for “Caucasian”, “Black”, and “Mixed Race” for official job applications. She created this identity, rose in the ranks, and is now forced to answer for why she chose to claim a different ethnicity as her own.

    I know plenty of people who admire other cultures and emulate them–one of my best friends is white and is in love with the Ethiopian culture, people, and traditions. He never pretends to be Ethiopian, however, and certainly doesn’t profit from an artificial identity of his own creation.

    Why you choose to ignore her lies is beyond me, but then again, you don’t understand why some of us are angry about what she’s done. In MY opinion, it is grossly offensive that she has tried to pass herself off as African-American, has gone so far as to be a student advisor and commiserated with them about her own “black experience” (her words, not mine) and has taken these roles from people who actually deserve them. If her real parents hadn’t come forward, do you honestly think she would have ever come clean about this? This woman clearly needs psychiatric help.

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  8. K Mary Gibson on June 12th, 2015 3:56 pm

    The middle portrait was painted by J.M.W. Turner in 1840.

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  9. Scott on June 12th, 2015 5:37 pm

    Does anyone honestly believe any of this?

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  10. AzJaXx on June 12th, 2015 8:04 pm

    Regardless of her reasons for initiating and perpetuating such breathtaking and far-reaching lies, Rachel continues to serve… only herself. “BUT WAIT!” …Some would argue… She is an activist carrying the message, she has taken-up for people of color, she has created new awareness through education, and, she has made a difference to those she served! True, all true;…but at what cost?
    I suspect this ‘whole thing’ may have started as a little white lie, (perhaps to fit in or make more interesting), which then took on a life of its own, until now, run-aground; a boat with no tether. I further suspect that, at some point, this ‘little lie’ grew and grew until there was no turning back…without humiliation and/ or ostracization. Within the confines of her charade, the more known she became, the more notoriety she sought. She got addicted to the attention and the power – which came…from the attention…and the power.
    Yet, Rachel really is not so different than anyone else plucked from obscurity and thrust into the spotlight; everyone wants to reflect well, and everyone wishes to be remembered. However, most of us understand we do not reside in a vacuum. Instead, a “cost-benefit” paradigm tempers our thoughts, affects our actions, and alerts us to pending ‘danger’ -aka- “fight, flight, or freeze”. So, while Rachel is not so outside-the-box different…neither is she ordinary.
    SHE: Deny’s her white, birth-father’s paternity, • Claims her, (black), brother is actually Her Own Son, • On Facebook, she posted a photo of herself and two black males claiming – one was her eldest son, and the other – her father, • Asserts she is estranged from her family, (both, parents, and ex-husband), because of violence, • Claimed her parents disciplined her through the use of a ‘baboon stick’; something previously used only on baboons and slaves, • Asserts she was born in a teepee, • Asserts she, as a child, was required to hunt and kill her food using a bow and arrow, • Asserts she lived in South Africa, • Asserts she has been victimized by at least 8 hate crimes, letters, and one, (hate), package, which, (was determined that), only someone with a key could have accessed, • and, • Currently, (with regard to race), is under investigation for falsifying a Spokane, Washington city Commission employment form. How many lies here; One lie, five lies, eight lies, all of them, none of them? To even have to ask, is……too many.
    What causes a Caucasian woman – or any woman – to attempt to change her race? Not a symbolic change mind you, but a bona-fide physical alteration and attempt to dupe the public into believing and supporting a complete and absolute fabrication? And why does she wish to portray herself as something she is not, especially when she must also acknowledge that, in doing so, she must simultaneously disown, lie to and about, hurt, and turn her back on, those who love and support her most?
    Surely Rachel Dolezel is aware of what she’s done. Surely she knows of the confusion she has created, the trust she has broken, and the chaos organizations will now be forced to navigate in her stead. The greatest irony however, the one that gets me most…. Still, the nightmare she alone created, yet pales in comparison to the enormous disservice she has done to the black community she strove to ingratiate.
    What do you think…Rachel’s aware of all this right… Isn’t she?

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    Titilaya Reply:

    You did an excellent job in laying out the case for her being a pathological liar. I was finished with her when I learned she sued Howard University for discriminating against her because she was WHITE. By the way, she lost the lawsuit and had to reimburse Howard University. My conclusion is that she is a rank opportunist. Here is the link to the article about her lawsuit.http://jezebel.com/hooboy-rachel-dolezal-sued-howard-university-for-discr-1711460097

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    jwgarman Reply:

    My only question is ‘what love and support from family are you talking about”? Her family doesn’t seem that loveing or supportive to me. They are the ones that started the process of exposing her from everything I have read. And due to personal experience I don’t trust the word of parents, no matter how loving they; claim they are, when their behavior shows me a lack of respect or consideration.

    Rachel may have lied….but I don’t think she has “turned against a loving family”. I think they are mad because she is not joining them in defending her brother who has been accused of sexual abuse. Sounds like they are playing a game of circling the wagons and are turning on her because she has apparently to join their charade…or what she thinks is their charade and betrayer of her.

    I think the whole family is just messed up and am glad not to be in anyway connected to any of them.

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    Cummie Washington Reply:

    I truly believe that once you tell one lie it can and does lead to another where that individual begins to believe and build a distorted perception of reality that continues to rise into a distorted fictional truth within that individual. I have Niece who does this and she tells stories of events that has strangers, let a lone most family members, believing their truths until they/we find out that she made it up. Now my Nieces integrity and honesty is always in question by her friends and especially by family members. And the oddity with her was that she herself believed in her (and our family calls this ‘fantasies’) stories. We believe this behavior arose from an early childhood, feelings of not obtaining a specific emotional fulfillment namely attention and an identification of self as to her importance within the family structure. This woman amplifies of going through the same psychological experience as my Niece, of wanting to be and needing to be recognized and approved of no matter who she hurts and besieges. It really is sad because all that this woman has achieved and acquired means next to nothing because its been acquisitioned on dishonesty by misrepresentation.

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  11. Facts on June 12th, 2015 10:45 pm

    According to this account, Ms. Dolezal has been victimized by almost everyone in her life.

    Her mother, her mentor, her stepfather, her husband… hopefully she will meet someone in life who does not victimize her.

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  12. Bill Chamberlain on June 13th, 2015 6:11 am

    I believe in a God who looks into our hearts…… Efforts to be of service to a community that has been decimated by racism can only be appreciated!! My life caused me to live with two “White” families as a High School Student. Both were headed by Lutheran Ministers, their wives and 5 and 6 children respectively. For me that experience countered all the militant-black centric rhetoric of the 1960’s in Harlem, New York City. Along with my parents, these two families gave me an opportunity that turned my life around for the better.
    Since the revelation of your ethnicity came out there have been so many comments that were unfair, it saddens me…. Most folk don’t see it this way, but I believe that “Race” is a man-made construct for divisive purposes! My God CREATED US ALL!!! Thank you for your efforts, and your courage!!!! Continued Blessings, and please keep on being a vital involved person!!!!

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  13. J.Fitzgerald on June 13th, 2015 8:51 am

    While there’s no problem with a non-Black serving in a leadership position with the NAACP, there IS a problem with deliberately fronting as someone you are not.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if, on Monday, Ms. Dolezal issues the following press release:
    “It’s really such a miracle. One day I woke up and I was speaking Ebonics, my hair curled and my skin turned to darker shades.

    “I knew if I listened to enough Marvin Gaye records I would become an African-American.”

    On a serious note, I’m afraid Ms. Dolezal has a pathological need to be the focus of attention and that further investigation of the alleged “racist packages,” may be found to have emanated from the woman herself.

    Ms. Dolezal may have much to contribute, but she has lost her credibility and should step down from positions with the NAACP and EWU.

    [Reply]

    Paul Brower Reply:

    She can no more become black by listening to records of Marvin Gaye than one can become Austrian by listening to enough Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Japanese by looking at enough Hokusai prints.

    One cannot change childhood experiences (she surely has never been called a word that rhymes with “trigger” as a child, a very common and normal experience for any black child), DNA, or bone structure.

    As for “Ebonics”, many black people do not use it and in fact hold it in contempt.

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  14. John Sakowicz on June 14th, 2015 12:32 pm

    Rachel Dolezal committed criminal fraud — EEO and affirmative action fraud. By falsely claiming both African-American and Native American status, she deprived other of jobs, education, and opportunity. The Spokane Police Department should arrest and charge her. She is despicable.

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  15. Brad Denter on June 14th, 2015 1:11 pm

    A well written and meticulously researched article. Is there any chance of a follow up article? Ms Doležal has lead an unbelievable life and no doubt there are many stories which she has yet to tell. Keep up the good work, Brad

    PS sorry about the typo in my email address for my previous submission, embarrassing that I did not double check it for accuracy.

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    Michael Jeter Reply:

    “Ms. Dolezal has led an unbelievable life, and no doubt, there are many stories she has yet to tell.”

    No doubt, indeed, and there lies the problem.

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    David Reply:

    Brad, I think the operative word here is ‘unbelievable.,.’. And I don’t grok how you think this is a ‘meticulously researched article.’ Most of it is based on ‘Ms. Dolezal said this,’ or Ms. Dolezal said that.’ Not really any fact finding or verification.

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  16. Paula Simon on June 15th, 2015 12:55 am

    Lily, white people are not the only people with long, blonde hair. When I was born, my hair was platinum blonde. At the hospital where I was born, my mother asked the nurses, “Why did you bring me this little white baby? Can’t you see that I’m a black woman?” My hair changed to strawberry blonde with the platinum around the edges of my forehead and my eyebrows. Then, my hair changed to fiery red with blonde edges and I developed freckles. My skin was still pale but not as pale but not as pale as when I was born (my mother told me that she would take me outside even during the winter to try to “get some color in me”). Still, I looked like Pippy Longstocking before that character was created. As I grew older, my hair and skin continued to change, reflecting the various ethnicities of my DNA. My hair changed to ashy reddish-brown, then deeper and deeper shade of auburn as I became a teenager, then medium brown as a young adult, then dark almost off-black as I grew older. My pale skin also darkened over the years, especially after we moved from New Jersey to California. Now, I do get paler in the winter months; but, I am not as light as I was growing up.

    My mother was black, Native American (Cherokee/Seminole) and white. My father was black and Irish. My paternal aunt was as pale-skinned as any white woman, with fiery red, straight hair. My father’s brother, on the other hand, was dark brown. All three by the same Irish woman and black man. My daughter has the reddish-brown complexion of my mother, and the long, wavy jet-black hair of my maternal grandmother. My daughter’s hair grew down to her buttocks.

    What I am trying to do, Lily, is educate you on the metamorphosis of miscegenation. Race-mixing is not a recent phenomenon. It has been going on for thousands of years all over the planet. Racism is a social construct that has no basis in either history or reality; it is something born of both ignorance and fear. No one is clearly white or clearly black. America, evidently, never got the memo.

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  17. Joseph on June 15th, 2015 8:59 am

    Too bad this wasn’t intended to be satire.

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  18. EWU Mom on June 15th, 2015 5:38 pm

    Rachel Dolezal should NOT teach at EWU. She has zero integrity and zero crediblity. She humiliated students for “not being Hispanic enough” when she was teaching in “blackface” (her brother Ezra’s word).

    This woman should not be a role model or teach college student, as she has no ethics. Terrible thing to deny her own parent who raised her, to create a fake “father” who has been identified and wants no part of this mess.

    Most recently, it’s been revealed that Dolezal (under her married name of Rachel Moore) sued Howard University claiming racial discrimination because she was WHITE. After she lost that lawsuit, she apparently decided to become Black. It appears it was a cynical and calculated move to further her career options.

    Further, there is little question that in addition to the dozens of pathological lies, there are concerns about mental stability. What professor would graphically describe ALL of this alleged, fantastic, victimization in a puff peice/bio about the professor.

    Please EWU—find a way to get this woman off the EWU campus and away from our students.

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  19. Jennifer Katona on June 15th, 2015 5:50 pm

    lol @ anyone who believes any of this.

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  20. bobby on June 16th, 2015 2:34 am

    It seems to me she made mistakes which started as small misrepresentations or fictions and grew to rather big lies. perhaps we should not focus so much on her mistakes as the lessons we can learn for ourselves. in the long run honesty pays. we can catch ourselves and correct our errors and change course.
    remember Nixon got in trouble not for the Watergate burglary so much as for the coverup. Clinton could have admitted the sex early on and apologized. he was impeached for lying and repeatedly lying.
    I read somewhere that we should never fail to develop even small virtues because those virtues and tendencies can grow. though non of us are perfect , we should also avoid cultivating even relatively small vices if possible , because even small vices can grow to become big vices.

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  21. John on June 16th, 2015 6:26 am

    To the other people posting here: You are aware, I hope, that filing false police reports is itself a crime, right? And think of the practical consequences when it is discovered that such reports are false: People will discount other complaints by other people even if they are legitimate. In addition to being illegal, this is really disgraceful conduct no matter what may have motivated it, and the Spokane NAACP and national NAACP should repudiate Ms. Dolezal immediately.

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  22. James Gluc on June 16th, 2015 7:47 am

    I find the lying despicable. That being said, I am in the job market now. No matter what anyone says the job market is not good. I can well understand one wanting to change their background.

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  23. Phil Rushton on June 16th, 2015 10:45 am

    She sued Howard University for discriminating against her because she was WHITE !!!! Now, how does that work? She changes her race when convenient and/or profitable. Stop giving this liar any attention or she’ll end up as co-host on Al Sharpton’s Get Whitey Show.

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  24. DANEgerus on June 16th, 2015 12:55 pm

    Rachel Dolezal’s painting The Shape of Our Kind is a near duplicate of J.M.W. Turner’s 1840 The Slave Ship. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/15/rachel-dolezal-art_n_7586972.html She stole it…

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  25. Scotty C. on June 16th, 2015 2:25 pm

    The story in question about her race originated in the The Coeur d’ Alene Press, so the real question is what back history is there between Dolezal and the newspaper’s owner and real estate developer Duane Hagadone. There was a federal lawsuit against Duane Hagadone for violating the Fair Housing Act (you can look it up, Janet Reno was then the atty genl. at the time), so I wonder if this is a rich white guy with an axe to grind, or if it is more dubious, and we can dismiss this as the typical race baiting and culture war crap to rile up the right wingers. These sort of stories seem to appear in the news in every election cycle, do they not?

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  26. Suz on June 16th, 2015 2:26 pm

    She seems like a decent person to me who sees herself as black.

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  27. Cristy on June 16th, 2015 2:44 pm

    Reading this article after what has happened..wow, this woman seems to have been “victimized” her entire life, by everyone. Clearly a woman who uses the victimization (most or all of it likely made up) to get attention. It’s quite sad and embarrassing.

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  28. Dave Myers on June 16th, 2015 3:46 pm

    OK folks, her parents have clearly said their daughter was lying about being born in a teepee, and about having native ancestry, and many other things.

    BUT, subsequently they then said she has some native ancestry. And then they mentioned that they did actually live inside of a teepee, but she wasn’t born inside the teepee.

    I have to say that owning and living in a teepee in montana is not a normal situation for most americans, it is highly unusual. Her parents admit they lived in a teepee but call her a liar when she said she was born in one. They did not contradict though her claims that she had to hunt with a bow and arrow as a child to get her own food.

    The parents say she is lying in saying she has a black son, saying her black son is her adopted black brother. However, the courts granted her guardianship due to abuse by the other parents, and she raised him, and he does in fact say he considers her to be his mother. Also she also has a biological son who is in fact genetically black.

    It seems to me that her claims about the teepee were reasonable given that her parents were actually living in a teepee. OK, she wasn’t born in a teepee, but she lived in one as a small child. It’s not like there was no teepee at all. If there was no teepee this would be totally different.

    I doubt she is a native, but the parents admit to being the source of that claim! And she believed them! So they were probably lying in their claims to having native ancestry, but then they want to call her a liar for repeating what they told her about her ancestry, while they hold on to the claim for themselves? That’s some pretty crazy stuff folks!

    Her referring to the boy she had legal custody and guardianship of as her son is obviously totally valid given that he also considers her his mother. To call this one fraud is simply cruel, meanspirited and delusional.

    I am convinced that her parents are liars. I also think she is a pretty confused person about her identity and I can see why she doesn’t care for her birth parents, given their half truths spread to smear her. Their current history of misrepresenting things means I don’t believe them when they say they didn’t abuse the kid. The judge certainly believed the kid.

    Parents have issues, daughter has issues, but she’s getting away from them.

    She clearly identifies as black and her TWO black children accept her as black culturally, as do many other members of the black community.

    She’s probably not genetically black, but who knows, given her parents track record, maybe her real father is actually black. She does have a few black facial features such as her nose. Perhaps a paternity test would be useful for figuring things out at this time, assuming her mother’s husband will consent to one.

    [Reply]

  29. bb on June 16th, 2015 4:19 pm

    Just wondering if it is possible that the teepee she grew up in was a house that self identified as a TeePee and if the Bow and Arrows she used to hunt for food was actually a Kroger’s.

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  30. Agzela on June 16th, 2015 6:01 pm

    ROFL!

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  31. JoeSnow on June 16th, 2015 6:24 pm

    This woman is a total fraud. Even the painting she is sitting in front of is a copy. To paraphrase Barack Obama “she didn’t create that”.

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  32. Jean Lindholm on June 17th, 2015 4:53 am

    The middle painting in the tryptich pictured hanging in her living room and discussed in the article is a plagiarism of a painting by J.W.Turner titled The Slave Ship. She is selling prints of it and offering the original for sale on her website without any acknowledgement thst it is a copy of a painting by another artist.

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  33. Brad Denter on June 18th, 2015 5:32 am

    This article has been cited by major news organizations across the nation and internationally. Great to see the journalism and Africana studies departments at EWU getting the attention they deserve. Quite an accomplishment for Shawntelle Moncy to have rooted out the truth behind Ms Doležal’s remarkable life, no doubt she has has a bright future ahead of her as a journalist.

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  34. A T Arsnic on June 26th, 2015 2:16 pm

    Well, I really wish I had the good fortune of waking-up say, tomorrow morning, and “self-identifying” as white. Then, I could have a day off, from being a Black Woman borne into a world where White Men are in the majority. Just for a change.
    Ah! I see. Some identities are more equal than other identities.

    [Reply]

  35. President Trump on August 28th, 2016 10:59 am

    Dolezal is an insane white woman who lied about everything. The only “hate crimes” were committed by Dolezal.

    [Reply]

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