Father on Rachel Dolezal's alleged race deception: 'It's puzzling to us'

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Monday, June 15, 2015
Rachel Dolezal's father about alleged race deception: 'It's puzzling to us'
Controversy arose after the parents of Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal said she had been lying about her race, and Dolezal herself would not answer when asked about it. Now Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal speak with ''Good Morning America.''

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Rachel Dolezal's parents said that they do not know why their daughter allegedly pretended to be black for years.

"It's puzzling to us," Lawrence Dolezal said. "We don't understand it."

The two spoke to Good Morning America in the midst of a controversy over whether Dolezal, the 37-year-old president of the local NAACP chapter, lied about her race on a government application for the Police Ombudsman Commission, continuing the deception for years. Dolezal claims to be black, but Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal -- identified in public records as her biological parents -- maintain that is a lie.

"We raised our children to tell the truth," Larry Dolezal said. "That's always the best."

Rachel Dolezal was asked directly about the allegations by ABC affiliate KXLY during an interview about hate crimes against her family. She walked away mid-interview.

Tap to watch if you're viewing on the news app.

Dolezal's parents said that they have known about the alleged deception for years but did not speak about it publicly until approached by the press.

"She was obviously misrepresenting herself," Ruthanne Dolezal said. "We were aware of that but we did not pursue exposing her. It was only after the press came to us that we were willing to answer their questions."

In addition to maintaining that she is black, Dolezal is accused of lying about her father's identity, telling KXLY that a black man was her dad. Rachel is estranged from her family, and there is a legal battle over guardianship of one of Rachel's adoptive brothers.

"Of all of Rachel's false and malicious fabrications, this one is definitely the worst," Ruthanne Dolezal said. "Rachel is trying to destroy her biological family, and I believe that effort will not succeed."

When asked about any repercussions they believe their daughter should face, the couple said it's the NAACP's responsibility to resolve the issue.

The chapter initially announced it would address the allegations at Monday's monthly meeting. Dolezal told ABC News that she and the chapter had decided to wait until Monday to comment.

"There are many layers to this situation," Dolezal said Friday. "There are questions and assumptions swirling in national and global news about my family, my race, my credibility, and the NAACP. I have discussed the situation, including personal matters, with the Executive Committee. I support their decision to wait until Monday to make a statement."

That meeting, however, has been postponed, the chapter announced Sunday.

As for Dolezal's parents, they told GMA that they want Dolezal to be honest.

"Rachel, we love you. We hope you get the help you need to deal with your own personal issues so that you can know and believe and speak the truth," Ruthanne Dolezal said. "At the end of the story I'm sure that truth and justice will prevail."

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