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Rachel Dolezal followed her Today Show appearance this morning with an interview on MSNBC. First, host Melissa Harris-Perry—who is black—asked Dolezal if Dolezal was black. “Yes,” the former NAACP president said. Then Dolezal was asked what being black meant to her.

“What do you mean when you say that? What does it mean to you to assume the mantle, the identity of blackness?” Harris-Perry asked.

“It means several things,” Dolezal replied.

First of all, it means that I’ve really gone there with the experience in terms of being a mother of two black sons, and really owning what it means to experience and live black...blackness. So that’s one aspect. Another as spect would be that I, from a very young age, felt a spiritual, visceral—just very instinctual connection with “black is beautiful,” you know, just the black experience and wanting to celebrate that. And I didn’t know how to articulate that as a young child—y’know, kindergarten or whatever. You don’t have words for what’s going on. But certainly that was shut down. I was socially conditioned to not own that, and to be limited to be whatever biological identity was thrust upon and narrated to me. And so, I kind of felt pretty awkward a lot of times with that. I remember when [my parents] chose to adopt my younger siblings, and I, knowing the limitations and some of the resistance to my creative spirit and the creative ways I wanted to express myself, I felt like who was going to be the link for the kids coming to the family?

In a second clip from the interview, Dolezal told Harris-Perry that she felt “very isolated” growing up as a white woman who believed she was black.


Contact the author at taylor@gawker.com.