Rachel Dolezal first discovered blackness at a young age by perusing her grandmother’s copies of National Geographic, she writes in her new book.
The former Spokane NAACP president chronicles her search for identity in a new memoir “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World” out this week. According to excerpts, her fascination with blackness, picked up from the magazine, pushed her to cover her skin with mud.
“I’d stir the water from the hose into the earth … and make thin, soupy mud, which I would then rub on my hands, arms, feet, and legs,” Dolezal said.
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“I would pretend to be a dark-skinned princess in the Sahara Desert or one of the Bantu women living in the Congo … imagining I was a different person living in a different place was one of the few ways … that I could escape the oppressive environment I was raised in.”
Dolezal grew up dirt-poor in Montana, a life she describes as tumultuous. But she says she always felt like she was black despite being born with pale-white skin and blond curls.
“I usually picked a brown crayon rather than a peach one. Peach simply didn’t resonate with me,” Dolezal writes of when she tried to draw self-portraits
She caught the nation’s attention in 2015 when it was revealed that that she had been trying to pass as black. Her parents quickly confirmed she was white to the media. She soon stepped down as the president of the Spokane NAACP.
She legally changed her name recently to Nkechi Amare Diallo, a West African name to help with finding a job.