/  09.21.2020

Following similar confessions from a college professor and Black Lives Matter activist, another white person has come forward about pretending to be Black. CV Vitolo-Haddad — who uses nonbinary pronouns — announced their resignation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an essay on Medium, where they confessed to lying about their race.

“I am so deeply sorry for the ways you are hurting right now because of me,” they wrote in an essay titled, “A First Step.” “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.”

“I have let guesses about my ancestry become answers I wanted but couldn’t prove,” Vitolo-Haddad continued. “I have let people make assumptions when I should have corrected them.”

In a second essay, Vitolo-Haddad clarified that they are actually of Italian descent, despite pretending to be Black and Cuban.

“It was my choice and error to identify any differently,” they wrote. “… When asked if I identify as Black, my answer should have always been ‘No.’ There were three separate instances I said otherwise.”

“I should have never entered Black organizing spaces,” the essay continued. “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.”

According to reports, Vitolo-Haddad had recently accepted a job offer at California State University, Fresno, which has since been rescinded. A statement from the University of Wisconsin-Madison also confirmed that Vitolo-Haddad resigned from their position as co-president of the university’s Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA).

“We condemn CV Vitolo-Haddad’s appropriation of Black and Brown identities in no uncertain terms,” the TAA Executive Board and Racial Justice Committee of UW-Madison said in a statement. “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.”


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