Call them the debunking Dolezals. Following Rachel Dolezal's resignation from her post as president of the Spokane, Wash., NAACP chapter on Monday, June 15, the activist's estranged parents, Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal, spoke out to Us Weekly and other media outlets about the truth regarding their daughter's background.
The couple sat with Fox News' Megyn Kelly to clear up any claims made by their daughter, who created an uproar last week after it was revealed that she had lied about her race. "No, she wasn't born in a teepee," her father said on The Kelly File. "She was born in this room next to us here in our home." His daughter has also claimed that she grew up hunting for food with a bow and arrow. "No," Larry replied of when the family lived in South Africa. "But I did."
Her mother revealed how she and her husband discovered their daughter's fabrications about her ethnicity. "It was around 2007, when we first saw a newspaper article from the Spokane, Wash., area, where Rachel had represented herself to the press as being African-American or biracial," Ruthanne said. "She's not telling the truth."
Dolezal stepped down from her post on Monday in the wake of revelations that she had lied about her race. "The dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity," Rachel wrote in an extended resignation message on Facebook. "I have waited in deference while others expressed their feelings, beliefs, confusions and even conclusions – absent the full story."
On Tuesday, June 16, Dolezal appeared on the Today show to share her side of the story. "I identify as black," she told Matt Lauer. "This goes back to a very early age with my self-identification with the black experience as a very young child… I would say about 5 years old. I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and black curly hair, you know. That was how I was portraying myself."
Her parents were the ones to confirm last week that Rachel was not of African-American descent. "The reason why we spoke to the press about Rachel's ethnicity was because she was under investigation from law enforcement in Spokane for claims that she had hate crime mail in the NAACP mailbox," Ruthann Dolezal explained. "I think Rachel has some very serious issues."
"That led the Coeur D'Alene press into calling us to see if we could validate her claims or not to be African-American," Larry added. "And we said, well, no, we're both Caucasian, we're of European descent. She's our birth daughter."
The parents told Us in their first interview following the resignation that their entire family had been affected by Rachel's lies for years. "It’s been a relief to her brothers who she told ‘don’t blow my cover,’ so they’re kind of, now they don’t have to walk on eggshells if they are in her area," Ruthanne told Us. "We have been cut off by Rachel all contact so it’s a sad situation but in a way it’s best for everyone including Rachel if things are out in the open and people are being honest about what the reality is."
The couple said they were just as befuddled as the rest of the world by the situation. "We don’t know," Larry told Us of Rachel lying about her race. "That baffles us as much as anyone. She’s the only one that can explain that."
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