The NAACP is throwing its support behind Rachel Dolezal, the white president of the organization's Spokane Washington branch who pretended to be black for the past 10 years.
"One's racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership," the NAACP said in a statement. "The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal's advocacy record. In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational, and economic justice for all people, and we encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization."
On Thursday, Dolezal's parents, both of whom are Caucasian, came forward debunking their daughter's claims of being biracial. Dolezal, however, continues to say that she identifies as black.
"I don't give two sh--- what you guys think," Dolezal said when questioned on accusations that she misrepresented her race. "It's more important for me to clarify that with the black community and with my executive board than it really is to explain it to a community that quite frankly I don't think understand the definitions of race and ethnicity."
Dolezal's deception went viral after she walked out of an interview earlier this week. The reporter first asked Dolezal about a photo on the NAACP Facebook page, featuring her and a black man she claimed to be her father. Dolezal insisted the man is her father, leading the reporter to ask point blank whether she was African-American.
"I don't understand the question," Dolezal said, before storming off.
Her parent's Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal trace their daughter's fascination with black culture to their adoption of two black children when she was young. "The adoption of the children definitely fueled her interest as a teenager in being involved with people of color," Ruthanne told The Washington Post. "We've had friends of different ethnicities. It was a natural thing for her."
Rachel went on to receive a full scholarship to Howard University, which "took her for a black woman," according to Lawrence. "You've got a white woman coming in that got a full-ride scholarship to the black Harvard," he explained. "And ever since then, she's been involved in social justice advocacy for African-Americans. She assimilated into that culture so strongly that that's where she transferred her identity."
While Dolezal does not speak to her parents or brothers Ezra and Zach, she does have custody of her 21-year-old brother Izaiah, who is black and whom she claims to be her son. "She turned Izaiah kind of racist," Ezra said. "Told Izaiah all this stuff about white people, made him really racist towards white people."
Many of Dolezal's other claims are now under question or outright debunked by her parents, including accusations that Lawrence and Ruthanne punished their kids "by skin complexion" and abused them with baboon whips similar to ones used "during slavery."
The city of Spokane is currently investigating whether Dolezal misidentified her race in an application to the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, on which she serves. On the application, she claimed to be of white, black and American Indian descent. There is also suspicion that Dolezal fabricated several hate crimes against herself, including a letter she received containing pictures of lynchings. "The only way this letter could have ended up in this P.O. box would be if it was placed there by someone with a key to that box or a USPS employee," the police report states, as reported by KXLY.
However, the NAACP has asked for an end to the vitriol directed at Dolezal and issued a call for outside help in investigating the threats. "We take all threats seriously and encourage the FBI and the Department of Justice to fully investigate each occurrence," the organization said in a statement.