The Muslim progressive activist who is allegedly pretending to be a person of color has been citing her fabricated “Arab and Latin” heritage for almost 20 years.
Raquel Evita Saraswati, 39, who was outed by The Intercept for pretending to be of Latin, South Asian and Arab descent, spoke to Boston.com in 2004 about her upcoming wedding, saying she wanted to do something to respect her Arab and Latin culture.
“We want it to be something special, not about hype and not about media,” she told the outlet.
Saraswati was born Rachel Elizabeth Seidel and is referred to as “Raquel Evita Seidel” in the article.
Her mom Carole Perone has denied her claims about her heritage, saying the family is “white as driven snow.”
“I call her Rachel. I don’t know why she’s doing what she’s doing,” Perone told the Intercept. “I’m as white as the driven snow and so is she.”
Saraswati is the chief equity, inclusion and culture officer of the Philadelphia-based American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a progressive Quaker group that fights “violence, inequality and oppression.”
The activist, who has been referred to online as “the new Rachel Dolezal” — referring to the white woman who in 2015 was exposed as having lied about her race for years and even risen the ranks of the NAACP — posted a vague series of tweets Saturday, calling the allegation an “attack,” but later deleted them and made her account private.
“I assure people that as soon as I am capable, I will provide answers to the recent discussion and attack on me. I understand all the reactions you’re having. I am currently taking the time to get to where I can answer in a way that is most helpful and thorough,” she wrote, adding in a later tweet that “more will come”
Human resources official Oskar Pierre Castro who helped hire Saraswati for her diversity leadership role at AFSC said he felt “conned” and deceived” by the revelations.
Castro believed she was a “queer, Muslim, multiethnic woman” because that’s what she said she was.
The organization, however, is standing by Saraswati for now: AFSC spokesperson Layne Mullett told the Intercept the organization has received “documentation alleging that our Chief Equity, Inclusion, and Culture Officer, Raquel Saraswati, has been misrepresenting her identity.”
Saraswati “stands by her identity. Raquel also assures us that she remains loyal to AFSC’s mission, which we firmly believe,” Mullett said.
Saraswati and her mother could not be reached by The Post on Tuesday.