It’s been almost a year since Rachel Dolezal, head of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP, first came under fire for having spent the past few decades lying about her race. The now infamous news clip, which surfaced in June of 2015, featured a reporter asking Rachel a simple question: “Are you African-American?” Under visible duress, Dolezal stuttered through her answer, declaring that she didn’t “understand the question,” right before refusing to continue the interview and then walking out of view of the camera.
Today, Dolezal visited The Today Show to reflect on the past few months and how the sudden reveal of her true identity to the public has affected her life thus far. While being shown clips from her previous interviews, she admitted that it was “difficult to relive” that time in her life, but that she is “ready to move on and think about the new year.” But whether or not the world is ready to let her move on is still up in the air. Dolezal claimed that she’s constantly recognized on the street, and “a lot of people take pictures, and it’s hard to go to the grocery store or be in public.”
Nevertheless, Rachel Dolezal seemed to stand by her decision, firmly declaring, “I don’t have any regrets about how I identify. I’m still me.” She followed up by clarifying, “I do wish that I could have given myself permission to name and really own the ‘me’ of me earlier in life. It took me almost 30 years to get there, but certainly, it’s a complex issue. How do you just sum up a whole life of coming into who you are in a soundbite?”
And, she seemingly has figured out a way to “sum up a whole life” in a way that’s far more than just a soundbite. At the end of the interview, it is revealed that she is currently working on a book about the complexities of racial identity.
When asked about the motivations behind writing the book, Dolezal noted that a lot of people had reached out to her in the midst of her controversy, citing their own battles with having “their lives caught in between boundary lines.” Thus, she says that she wants her book to explore “this larger issue of, if you don’t fit into one box, and you don’t stay there for your whole life from birth as who you are, what does that look like?” The topic is not black and white, according to Dolezal, “because race is such a contentious issue because of the painful history of racism. Race didn’t create racism; racism created race.”
As for where she is now in her life, Dolezal told The Today Show, “I’m really excited to write the book and get into addressing some of the issues that I’ve researched for many years, and I hope to eventually get back to teaching. I have some speaking engagements coming up. I just did a Ted Talk that will be online soon.” And, despite her extremely controversial attachment to race, she admitted, “[I’m] just looking forward to getting back into racial and social justice work.”