As I type this I can’t get Michael Jackson’s Black or White song out of my head… “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.”
Rachel Dolezal is the Caucasian NAACP Spokane president who has been identifying herself as black for quite some time but more recently has been caught up trying to deceive others that she actually is African American. In the brief video interview below Rachel Dolezal responds to allegations that she is not black and that she was not truthful in identifying a black man as her father. Dolezal is accused of identifying herself as black in an application to the City of Spokane, despite being born to white parents in Montana.
This interview, while only approximately 30 seconds in length (before she ends the interview), is rich in deceptive markers – both body language and word choice. Watch the interview here.
Read my content analysis below in blue:
Humphrey: Is that your dad?
Dolezal: Ya. That’s… that’s my dad.
She nods in agreement that it is her dad. She hesitates, and then looks like she’s smirking. You’ll notice her lips tighten here. Tightening of the lips is a reliable indicator of anger.
Humphrey: This man right here’s your father? Right there?
Dolezal: Do you have a question about that?
She pauses for three seconds before she responds by asking “Do you have a question about that?” Then at the 8-second mark into the interview she takes a breath, turns her head slightly and flashes a micro-facial expression for anger – her eyebrows come together and down. She ends her question back to the interviewer with a smile. A smile is the most often used facial expression made to try to mask other emotions. She realizes is it not appropriate to show signs of anger or contempt, and therefore attempts to hide it. She also did not answer his question wanting to confirm that that man in the photograph he was showing her was indeed her dad. Answering a question with a question is an attempt to buy time.
Humphrey: Yes ma’am.
Humphrey: I was wondering if ah, if your dad really is an African American man?
Right after Jeff Humphrey says, “I was wondering if ah..” Rachel laughs. This could likely indicate nervous laughter.
Dolezal: That’s a very … I mean, I don’t, I don’t know what you’re implying.
She pulls her head backwards, which is a move we tend to make when we are surprised or want to get away from something. Think if someone startles you; your tendency is to breathe in and step or pull back. Think about if you smell something disgusting you pull back to get away from it.
Humphrey: Are you African American?
Dolezal: I don’t, I don’t understand the question of… I did tell you that yes that’s my dad. And he was unable to come in January.
Rachel shakes her head side to side (ever so slightly) subconsciously responding non-verbally in the negative to the question, “Are you African American?” She also pauses six seconds before she stumbles on her words, saying “I don’t, I don’t understand the question…” Again she does not verbally answer the question if she is African American but instead deflects by saying she told him that was a photo of her dad. It is also at this point you can see that her breathing increases by the increased rising and falling of her chest, indicating uncomfortableness with the interview.
Humphrey: Are your parents … are they white?
Dolezal: Walks off camera.
Just before she walks off camera you see her eyebrows come together and down again (anger).
Now watch it again.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” ? Friedrich Nietzsche.