Politics & Culture

This Russian Designer Is Receiving Backlash for Using a Racial Slur

Her apology was much worse.
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Russian fashion designer Ulyana Sergeenko received backlash on social media after sending a racist note to blogger Miroslava Duma. Some are even calling for a boycott of her couture show today in Paris. The note (along with a bouquet of roses) said, “To my n*ggas in Paris.” And worse, it was shared to Duma's 1.6 million followers on an Instagram story with a heart emoji. Both the 36-year-old designer and Duma were condemned on social media.

This morning, Sergeenko attempted to apologize on Instagram, explaining that she never meant to offend people. “Kanye West is one of my favorite musicians, and NP is one of my most favorite songs. And yes, we call each other the N word sometimes when we want to believe that we are just as cool as these guys who sing it.”

It doesn't matter if Sergeenko intended to offend anyone. Once presented with why her words are hurtful, her inability to look past her privilege and recognize the historical context and innaproppriate usage of the word means she's got a lot to learn. A word doesn't lose its history because Sergeenko hasn't experienced it. She clearly lacks an understanding of her “favorite musician’s” culture, causing her inability to write a sensitive and thoughtful apology. 

Several hours after her initial response caused further outrage on social media, the designer’s friend, Duma, finally wrote an apology on Instagram. “The word is utterly offensive, and I regret promoting it and am very sorry.”

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