[guest post by Dana]
Rachel Dolezal was interviewed this morning by Matt Lauer on the Today Show. During the interview, she never conceded that she had deceived people, but instead claimed that this whole incident could be the start of a productive and broader conversation about what it means to be human in today’s world.
She never corrected a local news report that identified her as a black woman, for instance, she said, “because it’s more complex than being true or false.”
“It’s a little more complex than me identifying as black,” she said.
“When did you start deceiving people,” Ms. Dolezal did not concede that she had done so.
“I do take exception to that, because it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black, or answering a question of, ‘Are you black or white?’” she said.
Lauer also asked Dolezal whether she had done something to darken her complexion:
“I have a huge issue with blackface,” she continued. “This is not some freak ‘Birth of a Nation’ mockery blackface performance. This is on a very real connected level. I’ve actually had to go there with the experience, not just with a visible representation, but with the experience.”
Dolezal, who believes her ethnicity is a “complexity of my identity”, also played the martyr for the cause:
“As much as this discussions has somewhat been at my expense recently in a very sort of viciosuly inhumane way … the discussion is really about what it means to be human,” she said. “And I hope that really can drive at the core of definitions of race, ethnicity, culture, self-determination, personal agency and, ultimately, empowerment.”