Rachel Dolezal said that her life experience is similar to Caitlyn Jenner’s.
In a new part of from an interview with NBC News’ “Today Show,” the controversial former head of a NAACP chapter said she empathized and identified with the former Olympic athlete after reading her interview in Vanity Fair.
“I cried. Because I resonated with some of the themes of isolation, of being misunderstood — to not know if you have a conversation with somebody, will that relationship then end because they have seen you as one way,” Dolezal told Savannath Guthrie of “Today.” (Dolezal also spoke with Matt Lauer.)
Earlier this month, Dolezal came under national scrutiny after claiming she identified as black and suffered hate crimes because of her race.
Dolezal’s story has only unravelled from there, as it was revealed that she lied about parts of her background, claiming that a black man was her father and telling people that she was born in a tepee.
In the early 2000s, Dolezal sued Howard University for discrimination, claiming she was treated unfairly because she was white. According to a 2005 appeals court opinion found by the Smoking Gun, Dolezal claimed that Howard was an “abusive work environment … permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult.”
News of Dolezal’s apparent fabrications ignited a fire storm online culminating in her resignation from the NAACP on Monday. Critics slammed her for misrepresenting her ethnicity and identity and attempting to “pass” as black while avoiding cultural burdens.
In a different interview with NBC that aired on Tuesday, Dolezal hit back against some of her critics.
“This is not some freak, birth-of-a-nation, mockery blackface performance,” Dolezal said. “This is on a very real, connected level, how I’ve actually had to go there with the experience, not just a visible representation, but with the experience.”
Watch the interview below, via NBC:
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