UW-Madison teaching assistant resigns after admitting to lying about being Black

UW-Madison teaching assistant CV Vitolo Haddad is really Italian

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On the heels of the Jessica Krug controversy, yet another white academic has come clean about pretending to be a person of color.

According to reports, CV Vitolo-Haddad – a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student who identifies as non-binary and goes by ‘they’ or ‘them’ pronouns – has come clean about pretending to be Black and/or Latinx when in reality they is Italian.

In a Medium blog post, Vitolo-Haddad confessed to their duplicity, apologizing for “every ounce of heartbreak and betrayal” they caused by co-opting the Black experience in order to gain access to “Black organizing spaces.”

CV Vitolo-Haddad UW-Madison thegrio.com
(Credit: CV Vitolo-Haddad)

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They also outlined several occasions when people took in their olive complexion and inquired about whether they were Black or not, opting to play along with people’s assumptions about their racial identity.

“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. 

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“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,” they continued before resigning from a teaching assistant job at the university as well as a post as the co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA).

“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,” they concluded. “The first step towards that, however, is to resign my position as co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA). I can’t redress harm while in a position of organizational power. Second, I have resigned from my teaching position at UW-Madison. Education is build on a foundation of trust and accountability, and until I repair that I should not be teaching.”

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