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White woman who wore 'afro wig' responds to backlash

CONTROVERSY: Michelle Joni Lapidos

A WHITE woman has faced backlash after wearing an ‘afro wig’ around the streets of New York and writing about it in her blog.

Despite initially stating website Before and afro was aimed to raise awareness about racism, in her latest post Michelle Joni Lapidos responded to critics who accused her of being ‘insensitive’ by admitting that when it comes to ‘racial sensitivity’ she is ‘ignorant'.

“Due to my privileged white upbringing, I am unaware of a lot. I have not experienced how very prevalent issues of systematic inequality are today in 2012,” she wrote in her blog entitled ‘My faults’, published on her website last week.

She continued: “I had no idea how achingly sensitive the issue of hair was to people of color. And as someone who hardly gets offended about anything, in a culture of South Park and Tosh.0, I was shocked at my own frightening capacity to offend people.”

Lapidos also stated that she started the blog to ‘gain insight into discrimination and oppression’ rather than an attempt to ‘insert herself into black culture’.

She explained: “I’ve proudly worn my afro to parties (and I happen to go to parties with black people and fried chicken), to work (yes – frequently!), to networking events, with black friends, with white friends, and to Rosh Hoshana dinner with my family.”

“Through physically wearing the afro I’ve gained a lot, but none of which is personal perspective on the black experience.”

After reading scathing comments left on several black blogs and websites about her plight, Lapidos has claimed that she is undeterred by it all and is in fact ‘more intrigued’ by what she describes as the ‘black experience’.

Responding to Lapidos' 'campaign', entertainment website Jezebel.com wrote: "Listen Lapidos, I get it, it's a natural reaction to get defensive when people call you out on your b**lsh*t — most folks don't like to think of themselves as bigoted or racist. Hell, even most racists just think they're right."

"But just because you voted for Obama and would never say the n-word doesn't absolve you from all racism forever. What we have here is someone who is so steeped in her white privilege that she doesn't even realize that her norm isn't the norm."

They continued: "It's this institutional bias that's pervasive and trickier to explain to those who don't understand, because it can be really hard to put yourself in another person's shoes."

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