Spokane is a modest town of wide streets and snow-capped horizons in Washington state, 90 miles from the Canadian border. Its population is 91% white, and voted heavily for Donald Trump. The lunchtime crowd in a downtown hotel bar is too absorbed in the ice hockey game on big screens to notice the woman who sidles into the lobby, and though curious to see what kind of attention she would attract, I feel relieved for her. Her great spiralled mane bounces as she approaches in a jade dress and heels, but only a fool would mistake the look for self-assurance.Two years ago, life was going well for Dolezal. Branch president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and chair of Spokane’s police ombudsman commission, she was well known and respected for her civil rights activism. Her Eastern Washington University students adored her; her 21-year-old son was about to intern for a diversity advocacy group in Washington DC; her younger son was doing well in high school. When a local TV news crew arrived one afternoon to interview her, Dolezal thought they were there to talk about hate crimes.“Are you,” asked the reporter, “African American?” Like a cartoon, her features froze. “I don’t understand the question.” The reporter pressed, “Are your parents white?” Dolezal turned from the camera and fled.
Rachel Dolezal: ‘I’m Not Going to Stoop and Apologise and Grovel’