What Did Munroe Bergdorf Mean When She Called 'All' White People Racist?
We sat down with the model fired by L'Oreal after her reaction to Charlottesville was taken out of context.
"The past few weks have been a bit of a whirlwind," DJ and activist Munroe Bergdorf says with characteristic candour when we meet to discuss the racism row that exploded around her following a post she wrote in response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August, in which one woman opposing the white supremacist protestors was murdered.
As a black trans woman Munroe is no stranger to racism but - as you might imagine - she was never expecting to be called a racist herself.
Munroe was named as a face of L'Oreal's True Match campaign in early August. Just a week later she was fired from the same campaign after a section taken from a post she wrote on her Facebook page was printed in the Daily Mail and as such went viral. "L'Oreal Paris champion diversity. Comments made by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with our values and so we have decided to end our partnership with her," the brand wrote announcing her dismissal on their Twitter.
Her original Facebook post was deleted by the platform, apparently for breaching their policy on hate speech, although the racist and transphobic comments made about Munroe in response to this media coverage were not.
And while the post, which included lines such as "Most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism," is very uncomfortable to read, the widespread reaction to her words says a lot about how we as a society are still refusing to understand white priviliege, structural racism and the extent to which it pervades society.
While it goes without saying that the full post gives context to her thoughts in a way the excepts printed in the Mail most definitely do not, what did Munroe mean whe she said 'all white people' have a part to play in racism? And why are those who are calling Munroe out as being 'racist' to white people so fundamentally missing the point about what racism actually is?
Here Munroe explains in her own words what happened, what she really meant and why she doesn't regret it despite the vile trolling and criticism she has had to and still is facing as a result.