Surprisingly, the human rights educator and activist maintains that her identity is far from an act, sitting down with Vanity Fair to explain her side of the story in full detail.
"It's not a costume," she told the magazine. "I don't know spiritually and metaphysically how this goes, but I do know that from my earliest memories I have awareness and connection with the black experience, and that's never left me. It's not something that I can put on and take off anymore.
"Like I said, I've had my years of confusion and wondering who I really was and why and how do I live my life and make sense of it all," she continued, "but I'm not confused about that any longer. I think the world might be — but I'm not."
Dolezal resigned from her position with the N.A.A.C.P. following the scandal, though her well-researched knowledge of black culture is something she will never relinquish.
"It's taken my entire life to negotiate how to identify, and I've done a lot of research and a lot of studying," she shared. "I could have a long conversation, an academic conversation about that. I don't know. I just feel like I didn't mislead anybody."
Then, she added: "I didn't deceive anybody. If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that's more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn't say I'm African American, but I would say I'm black, and there's a difference in those terms."
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