The more white supremacy groups did to me and my family, the darker my complexion became in the public’s eyes, without even seeing me. It’s like, 'Oh, she got blacker and blacker and blacker…' Now, the the audience is deciding, reframing my identity.Rachel Dolezal says she drew a self-portrait of herself with a "brown" crayon in kindergarten, and the teacher said she was using the wrong color
... It’s a little bit odd, to have other people’s actions and counter actions, keep shaping and reframing your own identity. I think that probably happens often for all of us.
Somebody would be, 'Oh, you’re not black.' So what do you do? 'Or you’re mixed, or you might be white…'
I remember, my first portrait that I drew of myself, in kindergarten … All of my portraits were the brown crayon. Brown crayon, black hair, you know. With braids, or curls or whatever. And the teacher taking the brown crayon away, and the teacher saying, 'you need to use the peach crayon.' And me being like, really confused by that. You know, in my mind, it was either, brown or peach.
The boxes of crayon then — I was born in the '70s — were not very diverse on skin color. I remember having anxiety on whether I was going to choose peach or brown, peach or brown. And that being something that created tension. And also holding up the crayons on my own skin, and: 'What am I?'
It’s fairly normal to not like to have to be the voice for an entire group, because that’s not liberating that’s confining. Especially in an area like Spokane or North Idaho, where it’s a majority white audience, it’s very difficult to have that burden on a daily basis… oh, well, what do you do with their hair? Then you get the sense that they are then assuming that every other black woman will do those things too.Rachel Dolezal critiques feminism for not dealing more with race
I lived in Mississippi for four years or almost five. You know, if you’re living inside an all-black community, then you understand. There’s more freedom to just be you. If you go to store in your slippers, it’s not a big deal…
Race, class and gender are always intertwined, from everything I do. Those three are the top considerations. What happens to you based on being a woman, and being a black woman, and being a low-wage worker or a high-class person or whatever, will always impact everything in your life. You can’t just isolate and just be this one thing for somebody and ignore these other aspects of their identity. Women’s study programs are, by I think 94 percent, run by white women.Rachel Dolezal says her "light-skin privilege" made it easier for white people to approach her — and let her correct them
Feminism in general was always women’s rights, women’s liberation, without pulling in the Alice Walker model of Womanism, with race, class and gender considerations. With some of those cases I feel like I’m a bridge, but that also makes my experience a little bit more isolated, and a little bit more lonely.
I think sometimes I can play different roles in that process, that are helpful in that moment, but not all of those roles are typically played by all my friends and colleagues. Okay, you understand this one part of me, but you don’t really get the other pieces of the story. But that’s alright.
Because I am very light-skinned, I think there’s a certain light-skinned privilege that I’ve noticed, with just again, in terms of bringing sides together. So that I feel that some white people approach me as a safe person to talk to, about how maybe they can glean some ideas, like, oh would this be okay?"
Rachel Dolezal critiques the way that white culture has "co-opted" black culture.
Even on campus, a white professor's asking, 'Oh if we did this with a certain event, would this be okay?'
It's also a little bit of burden to be that bridge. I do feel like that's a real part in my experience. Where that breaks down a bit is I am very Afro-centric, and I am very direct personality-wise, and I will say exactly what I think is right at that moment.
I had a student in Eastern one time tell me, ‘It’s so awesome that black people are good at sports and are good at music and stuff, and white people aren’t good at anything. What are we known for? We're not known for anything.' My response is, 'huh? You’re known for everything, because you’re allowed to do everything…'After the recording, Campbell says, Dolezal discussed why she had portrayed herself as "white" for years before portraying herself as "black."
“There’s this co-opting of all kinds of cultures, so you have an Eminem rapping, and Justin Bieber, heavily influenced by pop, which goes back to soul, and gospel and spirituals. The whole black music that has been created by black people has influenced every genre of American music. But a lot of people are like, it’s just 'rap' or 'thug' music or whatever.