In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Rachel Dolezal talked about what followed after she was publicly outed as "white" by her biological parents, and what's next in her future. She told the magazines that she's lost "friends and the jobs and the work and—oh, my God—so much at the same time" since she was launched into the public eye.
She also talked about her self-proclaimed black identity, describing it as something fixed about her, something she cannot "put on or take off anymore."
"It's not a costume," she told Vanity Fair. "I don't know spiritually and metaphysically how this goes, but I do know that from my earliest memories I have awareness and connection with the black experience, and that's never left me. It's not something I can put on or take off anymore."
She added, "Like I've said, I've had my years of confusion and wondering who I really [was] and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all, but I'm not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be—but I'm not."
Dolezal defended her identity as black—though not necessarily African American—and insisted that she did not intend to pull a fast one on anyone. "I just feel like I didn't mislead anybody; I didn't deceive anybody. If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that's more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn't say I'm African American, but I would say I'm black, and there's a difference in those terms."
"It's hard to collapse it all into just a single statement about what is," Dolezal said. "You can't just say in one sentence what is blackness or what is black culture or what makes you who you are."
The writer of the piece, a black woman, added that the purported difference between being black and being African American "escapes the vast majority of people I know."
Looking forward, the 37-year-old mother discussed what was next for her and her son. "I've got to figure it out before August 1, because my last paycheck was like $1,800 in June." For now, the former Africana studies instructor says she's making some extra money by braiding people's hair and doing weaves by appointment a few times a week. Dolezal added that she "would like to write a book" and share it rather than "having to continue explaining" herself. After that, she would like to reenter the social justice movement.
[via Vanity Fair]