“It sounds like Munroe’s coming from a place of great pain, I hear that coming through. Those are not the words that I would choose to describe my thoughts on racism or white supremacy but I’m not going to attack her.”
The dust has settled a little following the Munroe Bergdorf racism debate and now RuPaul star and trans icon Peppermint has spoken about it for the first time.
Trans model, Munroe was dropped by L’Oréal after posting on Facebook that she did not have the “energy” to keep discussing “the racial violence of white people anymore. “Yes ALL white people.”
Her post was in response to the Charlottesville violence that saw one person killed and many more injured as far right demonstrators from the KKK and other white supremacist groups clashed with counter-protesters.
Peppermint has been travelling around the world the last few months but she couldn’t fail to notice the explosion of anger in the UK following Munroe’s ditching by the beauty company: “I saw the controversy. Monroe says her words were taken out of context and it’s sad it came to this. I was happy they were finally lifting up a trans woman of colour.”
At the height of the controversy surrounding her interview, Munroe appeared on Good Morning Britain and was mauled by the professionally-belligerent host, Piers Morgan. Peppermint watched the interview before speaking exclusively to Out News Global from her New York apartment
“I have watched the piers interview because I was curious. I think Munroe did explain herself clearly. It was a tough interview. Very uncomfortable. That couldn’t have been easy.”
But Peppermint says she can understand why L’Oréal dropped Munroe from their campaign:
“Within 24 hours a company will distance themselves from something that’s too much of a hot topic. That’s what happens when you live in a world where everyone’s conversations are simply based on headlines not substance, you’re cut off. I do not agree with them letting her go, I think this would have been the perfect opportunity for them to take a risk and facilitate the conversation. Perhaps they could have sponsored some type of event or program or discussion where she would be allowed to clarify her words and people could really engage in a conversation that was fruitful.”
“I do not agree with them letting her go, I think this would have been the perfect opportunity for them to take a risk and facilitate the conversation. Perhaps they could have sponsored some type of event or program or discussion where she would be allowed to clarify her words and people could really engage in a conversation that was fruitful.”
So was Munroe right to make her comments on Facebook in the first place?
Peppermint says: “It sounds like Monroe’s coming from a place of great pain, I hear that coming through. Those are not the words that I would choose to describe my thoughts on racism or white supremacy but I’m not going to attack her.”
“The thing that’s glaring here is that we need to continue the conversation on race. The misconception is that time heals all wounds, but I know that as a voice for trans people and black people here in the States, that’s not the case with race relations.
“When you’re an activist it’s important to say things that get people to react and have a conversation. This conversation was already a racial powder keg of sorts, Munroe didn’t create it , she just lit a match.
“Things feel so delicate; it’s like carrying a huge water balloon into the future. Do we wait for it to burst, or do we pop it now before it grows any bigger and figure it all out? It might be damaging in the short term but hopefully healing and understanding is inevitable.
Piers Morgan told Munroe during the Good Morning Britain Interview that he felt victimised by Munroe Bergdorf’s comments as a white man.
Peppermint says she understands that Piers was upset and many white people felt attacked and angered by Munroe’s comments.
“We are all entitled to our feelings, but we can’t stop there. I would say to him, Piers – yes I know that you are feeling upset and hurt, but we can’t write people off for disagreeing with us. We have to have a conversation with those who oppose us.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility, including yours, Piers, to dismantle racism, sexism, gender inequality and other forms of discrimination. Sometimes this means having conversations that are uncomfortable.”
“I can’t speak for Munroe or clarify it for her, but everyone has a relationship to racism, which affects how we navigate through life. I think it’s important to listen to each other.
“Like with Trump, there are a lot of people who obviously feel it’s crucial he’s president. I feel it’s just as crucial he’s not president so I need to understand those people and they need to understand me, If we can’t start there then there is no chance of finding a way out of this situation we have found ourselves in.”