The video confrontation that started it all.
Apparent white woman and national punchline Rachel Dolezal issued a statement as promised today that is not so much an explanation, admission of guilt, or apology as it is a simple resignation from the presidency of the Spokane NAACP. As Dolezal writes on the chapter's Facebook page, "It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the N.A.A.C.P. that I step aside from the presidency and pass the baton to my vice president, Naima Quarles-Burnley."
She writes further that despite national issues of "Police brutality, biased curriculum in schools, economic disenfranchisement, health inequities, and a lack of pro-justice political... the dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity." She does not explain the genesis of that firestorm, nor does she address the comments made by her estranged parents, who told the media last week that their daughter was born to two Caucasian parents, and is not mixed race as she has claimed to be for a number of years.
A promised public statement that Dolezal was set to make at the Spokane NAACP's monthly membership meeting today has been put off, with Dolezal telling the public on Sunday that the meeting had been postponed "due to the need to continue discussion with regional and national NAACP leaders."
As the New York Times notes, it remains unclear whether Dolezal will be continuing to keep a part-time teaching position in African-American studies at Eastern Washington University.
The debate about whether Dolezal could be "trans-racial" raged on over the weekend, and Gothamist quoted NYU professor Ann Morning, who's sympathetic to this concept, saying, "We’re getting more and more used to the idea that people’s racial affiliation and identity and sense of belonging can change, or can vary, with different circumstances." But thousands more people have leapt to tear apart that term, especially given how wildly different an adopted racial identity/sympathy is from being transgender.
And while saying that we live in a "ridiculous" world where "There's a white lady posing as a black lady," comedian Dave Chappelle also came to Dolezal's defense, via the Washington Post, saying sympathetically, "There’s a lot of feelings that are going to come out behind what’s happening with this lady. And she’s just a person, no matter how we feel about her."
In closing her online statement Monday morning, which may still be followed by a more complete explanation for why she said she has a black father, Dolezal says, "Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It's about justice."
But, of course, the jokes aren't going to stop anytime soon.