Over the weekend, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry appeared to be giving Rachel Dolezal the benefit of the doubt when she asked her panel, “Is it possible that she might actually be black?” and brought up the “transracial” issue as a possible explanation. But on Tuesday, when Harris-Perry got a chance to interview the former NAACP chapter president, she had appeared to change her tune, asking in a preview clip, “Are you a con artist?”
Well, at the top of All In with Chris Hayes on Tuesday night, Harris-Perry’s full interview with Dolezal finally aired, and in it she expressed far more sympathy than that initial teaser indicated. In fact, the segment that aired after a break mostly consisted of the two women commiserating about issues surrounding their hair.
Watch video below, via MSNBC:
But even more than that part of their discussion, it was Harris-Perry’s debrief with Chris Hayes that appears to have drawn the most outrage from those watching and commenting on Twitter.
“I didn’t experience from her any malice of any kind. There were moments when I thought, OK, that’s not how I see the world. But honestly, I have lots of different conversations with many people when I see the world quite differently than them,” Harris-Perry, who was born to a white mother from Spokane and a black father, told Hayes. “What I experienced from her more than anything was a deep sense of familiarity. And I think that, for me, is maybe part of why I’ve approached this story a little differently than some folks.”
“I also think that the idea that wanting to pass into blackness is inherently crazy is something we need to question,” Harris-Perry said later. “The idea that, ‘Oh, my gosh, only a crazy white woman would want to be black’ should distress us.”
“If you’re asking what did I experience sitting across from her, it’s not that she’s holding one belief about herself while expressing another,” she concluded. “It’s that she legitimately experiences herself as a black woman.”
The reactions on Twitter were swift and almost universally negative. Below is a sample of the responses aimed at Harris-Perry:
— ☆OMAROSA☆ (@OMAROSA) June 17, 2015
5 minutes in and I'm already extremely dissapointed in Melissa Harris-Perry
— Negrita Linda (@dontkallmeKysh) June 17, 2015
I'm SO disappointed in Melissa Harris-Perry.
— #BlackExperience (@kidnoble) June 17, 2015
She's literally not answering shit and Melissa Harris Perry is buying it. I'm so disappointed. #RachelDolezal
— Mama Forever (@mspeeptoepumps) June 17, 2015
WTF, WTF, WTF is Rachael Dolezal saying? OMG now WTF is Melissa Harris Perry saying … she feels FAMILIARITY with her? #inners
— Sapphire Stevens (@SaphireAmosAndy) June 17, 2015
Melissa Harris-Perry. Turn in your card.
— Rebecca Williams (@RebeccaPlfdNJ) June 17, 2015
I am so so disappointed in Melissa Harris-Perry. No longer my hero. #RachelDolezal
— Jam Rockah (@jam_rockah) June 17, 2015
Melissa Harris-Perry looking real Don Lemony in the light.
— Harlo Stormborn (@HarloHaven) June 17, 2015
I don't know who's full of more shit Rachel or Melissa Harris Perry.
— Faux Fancy (@scratch_paper) June 17, 2015
Watch video below, via MSNBC:
[Photo via screengrab]
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