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Former Spokane, Wash. NAACP chief Rachel Dolezal made her first major television appearance Tuesday since revelations that she had lied to colleagues about being black.

Dolezal, referring to her ethnicity as a “complexity of my identity,” tells Matt Lauer that she considers herself to be black, even though she is “visually” caucasian.

Lauer: Your parents were asked this question this week. They didn’t have trouble answering it. They said, she’s clearly our birth daughter and we are clearly caucasian. That’s a fact. Your father said she’s a talented woman doing work she believes in. Why can’t she do that as a caucasian woman which is what she is? How do you answer that question?

Dolezal: Well, first of all, I really don’t see why they are in such a rush to whitewash some of the work I have done and who I am and how I have identified. This goes back to a very early age with my self identification with the black experience as a very young child.

Dolezal says she began identifying as black as early as five years old, telling Lauer, “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon.”

Dolezal also claims she never actively lied about her skin color but did decline to correct news reports that identified her as biracial.

She was less forthcoming, however, when asked about how she transformed her complexion: “I certainly don’t stay out of the sun, you know.”

Dolezal did not address recent reports that her parents’ decision to go public was tied to her supporting a young victim accusing her brother Josh of child molestation.

Both Dolezal’s biological son—conceived with her ex-husband, who actually is black—and her adopted brother, Isaiah—who she’s been raising as her own child—were in the Today Show studio watching the interview.

Contact the author at gabrielle@gawker.com.