In a story that's bizarre on a number of levels, Rachel Dolezal, a professor of African studies and head of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., is said to have been outed as not being the black woman she's portrayed herself as—by her own supposed mom and dad. A birth certificate and other public records seen by KXLY and other media ID Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal as Rachel's biological parents. Ruthanne tells the Spokesman-Review her daughter started to "disguise herself" in the mid-2000s after the family adopted four African-American children (the Washington Post says two are black). The city of Spokane says it's investigating whether Dolezal falsely IDed herself as black on her application to serve on the city's citizen police ombudsman commission, KXLY reports. "That question is not as easy as it seems. There's a lot of complexities … and I don't know that everyone would understand that," Dolezal, 37, told the Spokesman yesterday by phone regarding her race. "We're all from the African continent," she added.
Dolezal has been in the news recently after saying she had been the victim of various hate crimes, including receiving hate mail in the NAACP's post office box—mail that some have insinuated Dolezal planted herself, per the Spokesman. Larry Dolezal tells the Post that his daughter attended Howard University on a full scholarship after the school "took her for a black woman," and that "she assimilated into [the African-American] culture so strongly that that's where she transferred her identity." Family photos the Dolezals provided to various media show a smiling, blond girl who appears to be a young Rachel. Meanwhile, when a KXLY reporter approached Rachel Wednesday to ask her about a January NAACP Facebook post showing her with a black man said to be her father, she at first agreed it was her dad, but when the reporter kept pressing, things got very awkward. The Post has more on Dolezal's reported family feud. (Read more NAACP stories.)