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Rachel Dolezal on 'Today': 'I Identify As Black'

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Rachel Dolezal, the embattled former leader of the NAACP's Spokane, Washington chapter, was on Today Tuesday to discuss her story. Dolezal, born to white parents has been accused of pretending to be black. When Lauer asked her if she was African American, Dolezal replied, "I identify as black."

Lauer asked Dolezal about comments her biological and estranged parents have made where they wondered why she couldn't do the work she's doing without pretending she isn’t caucasian. Dolezal said, "I don't see why they’re in a rush to whitewash some of the work I have done and who I am and how I've identified. And this goes back to a very early age with my self-identification, with the black experience. As a very young child…I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, the black curly hair, you know, that was how I was portraying myself."

Dolezal, regarding her skin appearing darker now than it did when she was younger told Lauer, "I certainly don't stay out of the sun, you know, and I also don't, as some of the critics have said, put on blackface as a performance."

Lauer brought up Albert Wilkinson, a black man who Dolezal claimed was her father. She said that she considers him to be her dad, even if they’re not actually related. She also said her sons, both black, consider her to be "culturally black."

Toward the end of the interview, Lauer asked Dolezal if she would have done differently. She answered, "There are probably a couple of  interviews I would do differently if circumstances, in retrospect, if I knew what I know now, but overall, my life has been one of survival and decisions I've made along the way, including my identification have been to survive and carry forward in my journey and life continuum."