Rachel Dolezal, the Washington-state NAACP leader who made headlines last year after it was revealed that she was from a white family, is writing a book about race. Despite her ethnic heritage, Dolezal told the “Today” show “I identify as black” in the middle of last year’s controversy.
Dolezal made her book announcement on NBC’s “Today” this week. The as-yet untitled book will be published in March 2017.
“A lot of people have reached out to me over the past year, which has been another kind of bright spot in this,” Dolezal said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories from people around the world about their lives, being somehow caught between boundary lines of race or culture or ethnicity. And so this larger issue of, if you don’t fit into one box, and if you don’t stay there your whole life, being identified from birth as who you are, what does that look like?”
Dolezal served as the president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP from 2014 to 2015. She resigned after her parents revealed that she was a white woman who was pretending to be black.
She was later fired from her jobs as a columnist for the Pacific Northwest Inlander newspaper and as a teacher at Eastern Washington University, where she taught classes such as “African American Culture” and “The Black Woman’s Struggle.”
Dolezal’s book will be published by BenBella Books, Publishers Weekly reports. BenBella Books is a small Dallas press that has put out books including “Black Woman Redefined,” “Collapse of Dignity” and “All I Needed to Know I Learned at Hooters.”
For people who watch publishing, it’s notable that despite her notoriety, Dolezal will publish with a small independent press. She announced her literary intentions to Vanity Fair last July, but apparently was unable to secure a book deal with a major publisher.
“I’m really excited to write the book and really get into addressing some of the issues that I’ve researched for many years,” Dolezal said. “I hope to eventually get back to teaching. I have some speaking engagements coming up, and just did a TED talk that will be online soon.”
“Race didn’t create racism, but racism created race,” Dolezal said on the “Today” show. “So I think it’s important to really think through a lot of those topics and questions that people have, and that’s why this became so visible, because it really challenged people to think about identity. ... Is there one human race? Why do we still want to go back to the worldview of separate races?”
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