Rachel Dolezal, former director of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington, made waves this summer when it was revealed that she was actually a white woman, despite self-identifying as black for years. The revelation led to yet another public discussion of what, exactly, constitutes being “black,” and the confusion was compounded by a series of bizarre interviews from Dolezal. On Monday, Dolezal appeared on The Real and further attempted to explain her position.
“I acknowledge I was born biologically white, to white parents,” Dolezal told the hosts of The Real. “But I identify as black.”
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The admission was greeted by a standing ovation from studio audience members, many of whom had previously snickered at Dolezal’s obfuscating responses. Hosts Loni Love and Tamar Braxton pushed Dolezal, reminding her that she is still afforded opportunities that are off limits to most black people, and her attendance at Howard University took a spot away from a black woman. Dolezal responded that blackness is more of a philosophical or cultural distinction to her.
“Sometimes how we feel is more powerful than how we’re born,” Dolezal said. “Blackness can be defined as philosophical, cultural, biological, you know, it’s a lot of different things to a lot of different people.”