Some would call Rachel Dolezal a hero for sparking a conversation on racial identity in a racially binary society.
Of course, those people will turn out to be fake commenters the former NAACP leader posed as in shameless self-promotion for her new memoir, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World.
The disgraced African-American civil rights activist still labels herself as a misunderstood black woman, even after her biological parents outed her as white in 2015, and sheds new light on her journey of self discovery in the unapologetic tell all.
In the book, Dolezal narrates her harrowing upbringing as a pale blond girl growing up poor on the side of a Montana mountain, where she could only dream of one day freeing her inner blackness.
Though she didn’t even meet a black person until she was 10 years old, the author says she’d read her grandmother’s National Geographic magazines and would pretend she was a “dark-skinned princess in the Sahara Desert,” writing:
“I would pretend to be a dark-skinned princess in the Sahara Desert or one of the Bantu women living in the Congo… imagining I was a different person living in a different place was one of the few ways… that I could escape the oppressive environment I was raised in.”
Little Rachel tried to play out this fantasy by making mud from the dirt outside, which she would “rub on my hands, arms, feet, and legs.”
But these playtime rituals were only to escape a much harsher reality, which Dolezal claimed included getting regularly beaten by her parents, molested by her brother, and being forced to eat her own vomit.
She also claims the family was so poor, she would wear dog-fur clothing and played ball with butchered chicken heads. Wow…
Dolezal says her family was a pack of “Jesus freaks” — she even includes a photo of her birth certificate listing Jesus Christ as a witness to her birth — yet her father would always walk around the house nude.
The author says she felt black for as long as she could remember, usually coloring a “brown-skinned girl with black curly braids” when drawing self portraits — naturally, the color peach “simply didn’t resonate” with the girl.
But everything changed when she was 17 and had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to work for a family friend’s fine-art greeting card company.
There, she read the autobiography of famous former slave Miss Jane Pittman, and was provided with “much needed solace” in confronting her own plight with abuse.
After relating to Pittman’s struggle, Dolezal escaped Montana farm life for a small college in Jackson, Mississippi. There, her inner-blackness “blossomed,” and she was “soon living something of a double life.”
Before she knew it, Dolezal was a professor at North Idaho College and Eastern Washington University, living her best and most fulfilling self as a black woman. She recounts:
“I was a Black-Is-Beautiful, Black liberation movement, fully conscious, woke soul sista.”
In 2014, she was named president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, and “made an entirely new set of friends and connections” in order to hide from her past white life.
But a year later, her ruse came crumbling down when local reporters found her parents in Montana, who revealed to the world their daughter’s caucasian biology.
Though even after making nationwide headlines and losing every job she’s had, Dolezal doesn’t for one second regret identifying as black. In her epilogue, she compares her identity to that of a transgender person, writing:
“Just as a transgender person might be born male but identify as female, I wasn’t pretending to be something I wasn’t but expressing something I already was. I wasn’t passing as Black; I was Black, and there was no going back.”
Yup, there’s definitely no going back now!
[Image via Instagram.]