Dolezal sues Howard University, alleging that the university denied her a teaching assistant job, further employment, and a scholarship because she is white. The lawsuit also claims that Professor Smith, chair of the Art Department, specifically kept Dolezal from serving as a teaching assistant one semester and removed some of her artwork from a student exhibition, instead favoring the work of African-American students. Suit:
[Howard University is] permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult.
Dolezal loses her appeal against Howard University. The judges confirm the original trial’s decision.
To defeat summary judgment on her discrimination claims, Moore was required to present a prima facie case “that (1) she belongs to a protected class (2) she is qualified for the employment position at issue (3) she was the subject of an adverse employment decision and (4) race was a substantial factor in the adverse action. As we now explain, Moore failed to make the requisite showing of either the third or fourth element in respect to all of her claims.
The court says her Art Professor did not hear that she wanted the position until after he had allotted the teaching assistant jobs. This meant that race was not a factor in the employment decision. She also did not make a case showing she experienced an adverse employment action in being denied the assistantship for one semester. While she did not work the fourth semester, she was actually paid for four semesters. She presented no evidence that any prospective employer chose not to hire her because she taught three rather than four semesters. On the removal of her artworks from a 2001 exhibition, allegedly in favor of those of African-American students, the court ruled that the claim is barred by a one year statute of limitations, and that she offered no proof of a hostile work environment.
Dolezal’s parents, who say they are estranged from their daughter, accuse her of lying about her racial idenity. They say she began to “disguise herself” in 2006 or 2007, after the family had adopted four African-American children and Dolezal had shown an interest in portrait art. Mother:
It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself. Her effectiveness in the causes of the African-American community would have been so much more viable, and she would have been more effective if she had just been honest with everybody.
When asked about her racial identity by a local reporter, Dolezal responds:
That question is not as easy as it seems. There’s a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that. We’re all from the African continent.
Dolezal gives up her post as president of the N.A.A.C.P. chapter in Spokane, Wash. Officials at the N.A.A.C.P. chapter in Spokane, and at the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where she had previously worked, say she had also represented herself to them as being partly of black descent. It was a claim she also made in news media interviews and in an application to the City of Spokane for a seat on the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, to which Mayor David A. Conton appointed her.
On the Today Show, Dolezal tells Lauer that she identifies as black — something she started doing at the age of five.
I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon, and black curly hair. I do take exception to that because it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of, are you black or white?
Mayor Condon calls for Dolezal to resign from her chairpersonship of the Office of the Police Ombudsman Commission. A city report states that she has failed to safeguard secret information and talks about it publicly, among several violations. Report findings:
Commissioner Dolezal engaged in conduct that humiliated, insulted or degraded…While working for the commission, she was simultaneously protesting police violence and speaking out about recent police cases involving violence against blacks.
Training incident details:
[She] asked questions that were, ‘hostile and accusatory,’ specifically inquiring if all the suspects in the training scenarios were black. When told that the first scenario of training had included only white suspects, she turned her body away from the officers and busied herself with her cellphone.
Dolezal’s parents say that her comments about painting her face with crayon are false. Mother:
That didn’t happen. We were very much in touch with her during her childhood and during those years, and we did not ever see any kind of representation of her, nor her teachers at school, of that kind of items. It’s not rational.
It’s disappointing to see that Rachel is still making false statements… I was hoping to see a change.
When presented with a birth certificate on NBC News, Dolezal says Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal may not be her parents:
I haven’t had a DNA test. There’s been no biological proof that Larry and Ruthanne are my biological parents. I’m not necessarily saying that I can prove they’re not. But I don’t know that I can actually prove they are…Nothing about being white describes who I am. The closest thing that I can come to is if — if you’re black or white, I’m black. I’m more black than I am white.
After repeated questions by the hosts of The Real, Dolezal admits she is a white woman who was born to white parents.
I acknowledge that I was biologically born white to white parents, but I identify as black. Why not give me the right to identify, how I identify? I think we’re all entitled to be exactly who we are and to identify as such.