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CV Vitolo-Haddad

Source: Screenshot / CNN/LinkedIn

Less than two weeks after the headache inducing “admission” of Jessica Krug, a white scholar who revealed she profited academically, financially and socially after posing as a Black woman, another offender has come to light.

Like Krug, CV Vitolo-Haddad used Medium to post, not one, but two confessions, apologizing for posing as a member of the Afro-Latino community. Vitolo-Haddad, who is non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them, admitted that they are actually of southern Italian/Sicilian heritage.

The back-to-back confessions under the umbrella of Rachel Dolezal connect the fact that the colorism, respectability politics and systemic racism are commodified in accessing Blackness or adjacency to it. It also speaks to a place of privilege, to be able to co-opt spaces that do not historically belong to you, in order to academically and financially achieve some semblance of status. While race is a complicated subject, it is not a piece of clothing that can easily be worn or discarded.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication stepped down from their teaching position and as co-president of the school’s chapter of the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA), the New York Post reports.

“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,” Vitolo-Haddad wrote in the first post published on September 6.

Vitol-Haddad’s admission came after an anonymous post on Medium questioned the inaccuracies of their statements regarding heritage.

“When asked if I identify as black, my answer should have always been ‘No,’ ” Vitolo-Haddad wrote September 8 in the second Medium confession. “There were three separate instances I said otherwise.”

Vitol-Haddad still somehow tried to make way for reasoning in their decision to engage in public Blackfishing by saying they never identified as non-white in their admissions forms, nor have they ever applied to scholarship opportunities for persons of color at the university.

“We condemn CV Vitolo-Haddad’s appropriation of Black and Brown identities in no uncertain terms,” the University of Madison-Wisconsin TAA union said in its statement.
“The TAA enabled this harm by electing them to a position of power in our union: we have unknowingly rewarded the toxic opportunism of performing Blackness. We intend to immediately begin the work of repairing this harm,” the statement said.
“UW–Madison expects that people represent themselves authentically and accurately in all aspects of their academic work,” John Lucas, the university’s assistant vice chancellor of university communication, told CNN.
In response Vitol-Haddad was disqualified from a conditional tenure-track position at California State University, Fresno. The offer was made prior to the controversy going public.
“We can confirm that CV Vitolo-Haddad will not be a faculty member at Fresno State,” said Cal-State Fresno spokeswoman Patti Waid.
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