Dolezal's Parents: Rachel Never Self-Identified as Black as a Child
Rachel Dolezal's parents pushed back on "America's Newsroom" after their daughter said on the "Today" show that her "self-identification with the black experience" goes back to when she was five years old.
The former NAACP leader told Matt Lauer Tuesday that she began questioning her racial identity when she was a child.
"I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and black curly hair," she said.
On "America's Newsroom" this morning, Dolezal's parents were asked by Martha MacCallum about whether their daughter ever identified herself as black as a child.
"That is a fabrication. That is false. That did not happen. She has never done that, anything like that, as a child," said Ruthann Dolezal, recalling that her daughter was "attracted to" African-American family friends from a young age.
Ruthann said her daughter never drew herself in the way she told Lauer.
The Dolezals spoke out last week, outing their daughter for falsely portraying herself as African-American. They explained that Rachel, who was raised in Montana, is white and of European descent.
Dolezal resigned Monday from her position as president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP.
She told Lauer she was first identified as “transracial” in a news report while she was doing human rights work in Idaho. Then, a news article identified her as biracial, and a subsequent report identified her as black, she claimed.
Dolezal said she decided not to correct the record about her racial background. Lauer asked why she did not correct it if she knew it was not true.
"It's more complex than being true or false," she answered.
MacCallum asked Ruthann and Larry "why you think she is doing this."
Larry said they remain "baffled," but that Rachel has "assimilated into the black culture and the African-American community now for 20 years."
He said that maybe "somehow that identify has transferred from being a multi-ethnic family to our adopted children, to then somehow thinking she herself is multi-ethnic."
Ruthann said one of their adopted African-American children, Isaiah, went to live with Rachel in his last years of high school.
But she said it is not true that Rachel "adopted" Isaiah or that she has "full custody." Larry said they cooperated in transferring legal guardianship to Rachel.
"Technically we're still his adoptive parents," he said.
At one point recently, Dolezal claimed that her father is a black man named Albert Wilkerson. Lauer asked her how she could do this, knowing her father is Larry Dolezal.
"Albert Wilkerson is my dad. Any man can be a father, not every man can be a dad," she said.
Larry said it "hurts deeply" to hear his daughter say that.
"For over 20 years, Rachel fondly referred to me as 'papa,'" he said.
Ruthann said that right now the couple is also "very alarmed at the level of dishonesty that Rachel is exhibiting."
Larry said the couple has Rachel's phone number, but neither have contacted her in the past two years "at her request."
Watch the full interview above, and see the "Fox and Friends" interview with Dolezal's brother, here.