TV critic Eric Deggans from National Public Radio is among the observers both professional and otherwise who feel that Rachel Dolezal‘s interviews on NBC didn’t get to the truth of her fraudulent past.
As anyone with a TV or Facebook page knows, Dolezal has been passing herself off as Black for the last decade. In her interviews with NBC, Dolezar never specifically answered questions about her racial background, despite the best efforts of Melissa Harris Perry, Matt Lauer, Samantha Guthrie and Amber Payne.
“It makes you wonder what they agreed to in order to get the series of interviews,” Deggans says. “They allowed her to make statements that didn’t go unchallenged. Although she said that she’d felt Black since she was five years old, she sued Howard University for discriminating against her because she was white. (The case was dismissed.) It seemed pretty obvious that this is a woman that is very confused at the very least and deceptive at worst. She has tapped into our psychodrama about race. This whole controversy is about how people feel about race and that most people don’t even know what race is. She’s obviously a very troubled woman with some serious issues in her family.”
Many were surprised by Melissa Harris Perry, in particular, who despite her reputation as someone who is in the forefront of issues on race, softballed her conversation with Dolezal, asking her more about her hair than about anything significant.
Deggans says that NBC has been widely perceived as not taking advantage of their access to Dolezal to ask her the questions that would appear to be the ones most germane to the situation.
“I have no evidence that they had any parameters set up but I’m very suspicious of a series of four or five interviews where they spend more time talking about her hair than they do about the contradictory statements that she’s made. What has disturbed me is that people have not even talked in any of these interviews about what race is. Race is a social construct.
It’s something that we as a society has come up with to explain family history and social heritage. It’s not really rooted in biology aside from the fact that we’re using these very obvious physical characteristics to identify and classify people. Race is this weird mix of what you say you are, your family history and how people respond to you. If she was honest about her family history, I don’t think many people would accept her self-diagnosis of being Black.”
Click the link above to hear the entire interview!