"I identify as racially human, because really there is one human race," Rachel Dolezal said.

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
March 28, 2017 03:31 PM

Rachel Dolezal took part in a live, interactive interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, and shed light on how she came to identify herself as black — and also offered a more nuanced take on how she views herself today.

“I identify as racially human, because really there is one human race,” Dolezal, 39, said when one person questioned the notion that she could be transracial. (In the interview, which streamed live on Facebook, readers could submit questions for Dolezal to answer.)

A day earlier, Dolezal told Today‘s Savannah Guthrie that “I don’t identify as African American, I identify as black.”

Dolezal caused an international outcry in 2015 when it was revealed that the woman who was an NAACP branch president and claimed to be black was actually born to white parents. She is now promoting her new memoir, Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World.

The now-unemployed mother told the Times that she did not always identify as black, but her racial identity has been debated for “many years.”

Nicholas K. Geranios/AP

“I shared it openly throughout college and constantly people argued with me; I talked about being born white and why I was so passionate about black culture and black history,” she said. “People were constantly telling me that ‘I must be part black.’ People have been arguing about my racial category no matter what I say for many, many years.”

She also said that “I really feel like I’ve done the best at every turn to communicate the truth while being understood.”

“I feel like it’s unfortunate that given our limited vocabulary in a very black and white world it’s hard for me to express fully who I am and for people to see that and for me to be accepted and at the same time tell everything about my past,” she continued.

Dolezal said she felt black at a very early age, but “I was conditioned to repress that.”

She also says she never foresees a day when she would possibly consider herself white again.

“Nothing about whiteness describes me,” she said.

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She also opened up about the differences between the oppression she felt when people assumed she was a black woman, versus the isolation she felt after her story made headlines.

“I think that before June 2015 my life was in a lot more harmony because how I presented myself to the world, how I lived, everything I did was synchronized, and I really miss that. I really miss having in some respects a normal life, even if it was really hard to be stigmatized and identified by police and others as a black woman and treated with disdain and disrespect,” she said.

“Perhaps [I feel] even more stigmatized or perhaps controversial now because I don’t really have a group. I’m kind of on a little island,” she said. “I don’t know which one is harder. We’ll wait for me to live through the storm before I reflect.”

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