The parents of Rachel Dolezal spoke to HuffPost Live on Friday after revealing to the media that their daughter, the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, had been disguising herself as African American for years.
Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal told hosts Marc Lamont Hill and Nancy Redd that their daughter has a history of "seeking to reinvent reality," according to her mother. She had "expectations of herself that were not realistic, and also just a negative sort of view of people and family –- that sort of thing was also concerning," Ruthanne added.
The couple told HuffPost Live their daughter "had a happy childhood, grew up in a loving home" alongside four adopted African American siblings. The two claim that Rachel's siblings "were warned not to let it out -- not to blow her cover" by Rachel herself.
"They're puzzled, but [her siblings] told us that they are basically feeling that she’s basically been outed," her father said.
"The children did not enjoy having to be secretive about Rachel’s real identity," her mom added.
The Dolezals view their daughter's dishonesty about her identity as a way of disowning them as parents, which "is the painful part of this," they said.
"We're very fond of our African American friends. We've always enjoyed ethnicity and diversity and had friends, and Rachel grew up that way. Adopting the four children was an extension of that as well. [Rachel's] identification with African Americans is not hurtful to us, but for her to reject us as parents, that is what hurts, and the dishonesty is very concerning," her mother said.
Still, they have positive and loving memories of Rachel that are not reflected in the falsehoods about her identity. Ruthanne began to choke up as she recalled how, as a child, their daughter "was always caring about other people and spoke well of her family and wanted to be identified with us" -- a departure from the Rachel they see now.
"We recognize her, obviously, but this isn't the Rachel that we know," Larry affirmed. "It hurts us deeply, and we're quite saddened by that."
Despite the strains this deceit has taken on their relationship, the Dolezals have a message for their daughter: "Rachel, we love you," her mother declared. "Please tell the truth."
Watch the video above to hear more from Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal.
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