An Open Letter From A Black Elder: Asian Family Please Stop Using The N-Word! Teen Vogue Drama Part 2
Let me preface this piece by saying I have and will always stand with the Asian community — especially following the racist murder of 6 Asian women in Georgia and increased attacks across the country. Sadly, as we call for unity between Black and Asian communities, another controversy unfolds. TheGrio.com published screenshots of an Asian staffer using the N-word following Alexi McCammond’s resignation from Teen Vogue. This latest development is the inspiration for this article.
To all my Asian brothers and sisters in the United States, abroad or in your respective 49–52 countries:
PLEASE STOP USING THE N-WORD! I do not care about your age, proximity, genetic, romantic or business relationship with a Black or African American person, hip hop artist or the community. I am not, you are not and we will never be each other’s n*****. I don’t care who told you it was ok or that you were an honorary n**** or Black person… Black people aren’t n***** and n***** aren’t Black people. The N-word and Black people are not interchangeable or synonymous with each other.
Over the years, I’ve met, seen and heard way too many Filipino, Cambodian and Vietnamese, Korean and Indian people (mostly under 30) who genuinely thought it’s ok to use or call Black people the N-word because they grew up around us, or married, children and often to “code switch” with us. Yet, I know for a fact that it’s not a highly acceptable practice for Black people to use Asian slurs and here’s a big example:
McCammond ousted by n-word using Asian woman
In an ugly episode of an Asian person using anti-Black language, we find Christine Davitt, who was part of the staff revolt in opposition to Alexi McCammond as Teen Vogue’s EIC. Alexi posted insensitive Tweets about Asians (she’d apologized for years prior). However, Davitt conveniently forgot how she loved using the N-word when she was around the same age as Alexi.
I hope Davitt has submitted her resignation letter considering her vocal and unforgiving stance with McCammond teen tweets:
Yet, Christine Davitt, a senior manager at Condé Nast who self identifies as Filipino-Irish either forgot she Tweeted the N-word 3 times or didn’t think anti-racism rules applied to her. They do — or at least they should…Davitt has since made her Twitter page private.
Christine Davitt should also issue an apology to McCammond and all the people she rallied to oust her. Davitt is a sad, but glaring example of how some Asian or multiracial people weaponize their proximity to whiteness.
Callouts and getting caught
Oh the assimilated, hypercritical caucasity of it all. So Christine didn’t think twice about ousting a talented Black woman for complaining about being bested by an Asian person or for calling an Asian person “stupid” or “old”. Yet, I guess we’re suppose to show her grace and forgiveness for using the N-word at the same age. NOPE!
The problem is some Asian people in or adjacent to the African American, Black and hip hop communities have gotten comfortable using the N-word with each other and with Black people. As I stated, earlier that’s not all their fault, but it needs to stop. I personally know a Filipino person who proudly calls himself and his half Black child the N-word. When his partner asked him to stop he said, no because he doesn’t see it as a negative term. Yet, he identifies as a Asian — not Black in professional circles.
As an older Black woman, I’ve never liked hearing it no matter who uttered it because I know the humiliation behind the word; and unlike other groups that have taken hateful, racist slurs — none of their words came from the sick and dehumanizing institution of slavery and anti-Black racism.
The word has been used in extremely violent, derogatory, marginalizing, and oppressive ways and embodies much of the black population’s history, from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement to Jim Crow laws and Post-Reconstruction to the modern day mass incarceration and police brutality. To use the word is to flippantly dismiss the dehumanizing, pathologizing, demonizing, and violent history squeezed into the word. Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, 2016
Consequently, when Asians use it — they don’t understand it still stings a little more because they should know better. In addition to the historical harm, they should know because of colorist and caste slurs in their respective cultures. Yet, no matter how dark an Asian person may be — they find it insulting when a white person calls them the N-word or mistaken them for being Black or African.
When are we going to learn that fighting each other takes the focus off our common enemy and oppressor — RACISM. Racism hurts everyone, but it does more financial, mental, emotional and community harm to Black and brown communities. As long as we attack each other — they get to sit high, look low and watch our chaos keep us down.
Christine Davitt should also issue an apology to McCammond and all the people she rallied to oust her. Davitt is a sad, but glaring example of how some Asian or multiethnic people weaponize their proximity to whiteness.
If Davitt doesn’t resign or isn’t fired — Burt’s Bees and Ulta Beauty should still pull their contracts. Racist speech shouldn’t be tolerated no matter who it comes from. I hope Conde Nast doesn’t pull the Amy Cooper defense and say, “Christine has apologized and went to diversity training”. If McCammond was forced out for ignorant teen Tweets — Davitt definitely needs to be out for multiple N-word Tweets.
Equal opportunity ousting
This isn’t tit for tat. This is what real equity looks like. White, Asian and Black and Hispanic people get the same consequences for the same violations.
I hate cancel culture. I think McCammond’s case is different because she had apologized years prior and didn’t try to to hide it. Christine Davitt, has yet to apologize and simply just made her Twitter page private after she was caught.
At the end of the day, both of these situations require deeper conversations about what’s inappropriate versus racist and homophobic. The N-word is undeniably racist. McCammond is being accused of making racist and homophobic comments… unless there is another set of tweets, I don’t see anything homophobic. However, at this point — it’s moot. McCammond resigned.
Do big corporations really care as much about anti-Black racism?
Now let’s see if the Conde Nast, Burt’s Bees and Ulta Beauty care just as much about blatant anti-Black racism as they do Asian bias?
Teen Vogue staffer who supported McCammond exit tweeted 'N' word in the past - TheGrio
Teen Vogue employee, Christine Davitt, used the slur in tweets to a friend some years ago One of the staffers who…
Let's Talk: The N-Word and Anti-Blackness in Asian American Communities - The Kenan Institute for…
I didn't realize this was still something that had to be emphasized in 2016, but let's talk about it: unless you're…