Dr. Phil puts it bluntly in his sit-down with Rachel Dolezal.
"You pretended to be black. You perpetrated a lie. You agree with that, right?"
"No," Dolezal says. The crowd swoons.
That's one of many shocking moments coming up today at 4 p.m. EDT. We've never actually watched a Dr. Phil show, but we're watching today!
Why? We just can't look away. Here's a woman -- a very white woman, who had a very white upbringing in the whitest of all places, Montana -- who's says she's black. Wait, she says she's "transracial," that race is just a state of mind, that people can be whatever race they want. That's like saying people can be whatever height they want. It's like a bad car wreck you just gotta' stare at.
The back story is amazing. Dolezal was elected president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP in 2014. But before that, she attended a black college, Howard University, in Washington, D.C. -- which she sued for dscriminating against her as a white woman, denying her scholarship funds and a teaching assistant job. A few years later, she said she was the victim of a hate crime (a claim that later grew to eight hate crimes) when someone put a noose on her porch.
She began morphing into a "black" woman, doing her hair in cornrows, darkening her skin, speaking about race and her "ancestors." But the whole concocted story unraveled when a reporter asked Dolezal what race she was. She refused to answer and walked out of the interview. Then her very white parents came out and said she was white. Still, Dolezal wouldn't budge. "If, you know, I was asked, I would definitely say that yes I do consider myself to be black. ... I identify as black."
On today's show, Dr. Phil is at his judgmental best when he confronts Dolezal about her lies. "What did you do wrong here?" the avuncular doc asks. Dolezal's answer is one for the books.
"Well, I think that, um, as much as I'd like to take ownership for everything, I can't, because I didn't actually start the narrative of 'She's a liar, she's a con, she's a fraud.' You know, I mean, that really is what blew it up. How I was living my life was not some kind of like, you know, open invitation for people to kind of just initiate their hate and pick on me. It's like I try to go back and think, 'Is there something I could have done differently?' Is there a point where I could've said, 'This is my whole back story'? I can't go back and point to like one thing that I would've done differently."
Dr. Phil: "You haven't answered the questions, and if that is your answer, holy God, you don't want that to be your answer."
Dolezal: [Nervous laugh].
That's all the show is teasing in a short promo clip, which ends with Dr. Phil saying: "You know the difference between right and wrong." And Dolezal does. She's a smart woman who got caught in a lie -- but somehow, unlike nearly every other person who's ever been in that position, she cannot let go of the lie. And she cannot stop being the victim, someone who is being persecuted for her beliefs -- even if those beliefs say that race "is not coded in your DNA" (um, it is).
And that does make for some must-watch TV.