The past week has seen tension, tragedy, and one of the worst public displays of racism the United States has seen in decades. Which is why the following is important.
In case you missed it, Kim Kardashian recently defended makeup artist Jeffree Star, who was discovered to have posted racist messages on social media in the past (though he has since publicly apologized). When asked about Star’s past racist comments, Kim’s initial response was:
This (very understandably) was met with outrage from many of her followers.
However, Kim just issued an apology via Snapchat, saying that she wanted to, “apologize for defending a situation yesterday that I didn’t really know enough about.” She went on to say,
While this apology may not be the most eloquent thing we’ve ever heard (and yes, we’ll admit, it’s definitely rambling), we still think that the message — and the sentiment behind it — is SO important. Kim recognized that she had spoken from a place of ignorance, and instead of digging her heels in further or attempting to explain why what she said was okay, she apologized.
Words have power, and trivializing racism in any way through our words is a big deal. While Kim’s failure to recognize this with her initial comments is beyond frustrating, the fact that she publicly acknowledged it — and explained why what she did was not okay — is also powerful.
Kim used her extremely public platform as a teaching moment — both for herself, and for so many of her fans who may not have fully understood the hurtfulness (and harmfulness) of her initial statement.
And at the end of the day, we respect that.