Following the revelation that former George Washington University professor Jessica Krug had been lying for years about being Black, another white academic revealed that she, too, has been posing as a person of color.
In an essay published on Medium.com entitled, “A First Step,” confessed to pretending to be Black and/or Latinx and announced her resignation using the pen name See Vee Vitolo-Haddad. According to reports, she is actually Italian.
“I am so deeply sorry for the ways you are hurting right now because of me. You have expressed confusion, shock, betrayal, anger, and mistrust. All of those things are a consequence of how I have navigated our relationships and the spaces we share,” she writes.
“In trying to sort through parts of who I am, I’ve taken some very wrong turns. I never really owned up to them as they became apparent, nor recognized the trail of damage behind me. The harm I caused is a result of my lack of courage, a preference for being vague and contradictory, uncertain, and insecure. I want to make amends for every ounce of heartbreak and betrayal.
“I have let guesses about my ancestry become answers I wanted but couldn’t prove. I have let people make assumptions when I should have corrected them.
“I know it will take a long time to remedy this damage. I don’t know how to begin repairing things yet, but I want to recognize the hurt. I am taking some time to reflect so I can offer a real apology. I know it will take time for many of you to be willing to redress this.”
Vitolo-Haddad wrote a follow-up titled “A Second Step” to try to take more responsibility and to apologize for her reaction to other people’s reactions:
“First, I am deeply sorry and regretful to the people I deceived by inserting myself into Black organizing spaces I didn’t belong in. That deception was parasitic and harmful. I want to identify those moments and state what I should have done differently:
“#1- When asked if I identify as Black, my answer should have always been “No.” There were three separate instances I said otherwise. I should not have adopted any identity outside of what I know. I should have recognized my commitments to liberation can be based on my experiences without incorporating those experiences into my identity. I should have instead been clear and honest about how I identify and talked through people’s perceptions and ideas of me.
“#2- I should have never entered Black organizing spaces. They are not my place. Once realizing this, it wasn’t sufficient to just leave; I should have explained that directly to the people who invited me and clarified my identity.”
The TAA Executive Board and Racial Justice Committee of UW-Madison issued this statement:
“We condemn CV Vitolo-Haddad’s appropriation of Black and Brown identities in no uncertain terms. They have resigned as co-president, and we have removed their access to our website, social media, and all other internal accounts. We cannot speak for CV, but we as TAA leaders are profoundly sorry for the harm they have caused members of the Madison community by 1) claiming Black and Brown identities, 2) using those identities to silence and alienate activists in organizing spaces, and 3) manipulating and gaslighting Black and Brown community members who tried holding them accountable.”
The TAA Executive Board and Racial Justice Committee statement on resigned co-president, CV Vitolo-Haddad. Please read. https://t.co/JlKqSTvZz3
— TAA (@TAA_Madison) September 8, 2020