“There’s no protected class for me,” the former NAACP branch president told The Guardian. “I’m this generic, ambiguous scapegoat for white people to call me a race traitor and take out their hostility on. And I’m a target for anger and pain about white people from the black community. It’s like I am the worst of all these worlds.”
Dolezal has applied for over 100 jobs, but has received no offers, even from a supermarket. She has, however, been offered work in porn and reality TV. While a friend helped pay her rent for February, Dolezal expects she’ll lose her home next month.
“I do think a more complex label would be helpful, but we don’t really have that vocabulary,” said the former Africana studies instructor. “I feel like the idea of being trans-black would be much more accurate than ‘I’m white.’ Because you know, I’m not white.”
“It wasn’t like the honest thing to do is say, ‘I’m white’, because race is a social construct,” stated Dolezal to The Guardian. “And this gave me this great sense of internal freedom: I wasn’t actually all fucked up. I was actually on to something this whole time.”
“I’m not going to stoop and apologize and grovel and feel bad about it. I would just be going back to when I was little, and had to be what everybody else told me I should be – to make them happy.”
The former chair of Spokane’s police ombudsman group sunbathed, used traditionally black hairstyles, checked the “black” box on employment and medical documents, responded to inquiries about her ethnicity with “mixed,” and, if asked whether her mom or dad was black, said her mom was white.
Dolezal detailed her childhood in Montana in the article as one containing a suppression of her creativity by her white Christian fundamentalist parents, who supposedly beat her.
She says that she drew herself as having curly hair and dark skin and would cover herself with mud and pretend to have been kidnapped from Africa. When her parents adopted black children, she braided their hair, educated them on black history, and “began to see the world through black eyes.”
“On the white side I noticed hatred, fear and ignorance,” recounted the former NAACP branch president to The Guardian, describing her experience at college in Jackson, Miss. “And on the black side I noticed fear, anger and pain. I felt more at home with the anger and pain towards whites, because I had some anger and pain – toward not just my parents but also, even though I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it then, towards white supremacy.”
Dolezal braided her hair and wore dashikis as symbols of “renouncing the propaganda standards of European beauty being superior.” But while some progressives would deem these acts cultural appropriation, Dolezal noted that African American peers in her church said that “to copy is to compliment,” according to the article.
A year after Dolezal received a graduate scholarship and teaching capacity at the historically black Howard University, she became pregnant and her tutor revoked the two positions. Dolezal sued Howard for both gender and racial discrimination because the tutor had said “your white relatives can probably pay your tuition.”
“I would say the primary discrimination was gender,” remarked Dolezal. “It sounds bad, right. It sounds like I just played that card for my advantage. But I just knew that if I did not have my scholarship, we were going to lose our apartment and Kevin was going to have to drop out of school.”
Dolezal had acquired the idea that racial identity was “an invention of human beings” from Howard University. But according to her brother, “when she came [to Howard], they saw she was white and she wasn’t treated that well, especially by people that worked there. She probably started developing this kind of dislike for being white and dislike for white people. She used to tell [her adopted brother] … that all white people are racists. She might have developed some self-hatred,” as reported by CNN.