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White Art Student/Black Activist Outed as Caucasian

Dolezal_PariahThis morning, Houstonians missed out on Matt Lauer’s interview with Rachel Dolezal because the NBC affiliate chose to cancel it in order to have minute-by-minute hysterical coverage of the any-minute-now-almost-rain coming with Tropical Storm Bill. (But you can click on the link above to view the interview.)

If you’ve been under a rock this past week, you may have missed the controversy surrounding Dolezal, the former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane (she resigned yesterday). The bizarreness of the story stems not from the fact the Dolezal is Caucasian (It’s not the NACP; there are white people in the NAACP, which stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), but from the fact that she allowed people to assume that she was African American or “transracial” and, in some cases, actually lied about her heritage.

The later news that she (unsuccessfully) sued Howard University, a historically black school, for racial discrimination while she attended as a white student simply adds to the baffling story. But the confusing touch for art lovers is that she received her MFA from Howard as a major in experimental studio with a minor in sculpture.

In Lauer’s interview with Dolezal, she reveals her artistic inclinations as well as her racial identity issues as early as five years old: “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and the black curly hair.”

Dolezal’s website, which doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2012, shows much of her artwork, including Pariah (above) and Regret (below).Dolezal_Regret

also by Paula Newton
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