We’ve only just started season 11 of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but we’ve already tackled numerous race issues.
Between Garcelle Beauvais and newbie Crystal Kung Minkoff, the pair have already confronted their castmates over both their implicit bias and their white fragility.
Crystal Confronts Sutton
Let’s start with Crystal, who wasted no time confronting Sutton Stracke and her white fragility.
After Kyle Richards relayed a conversation she’d had with Garcelle about Black female stereotypes, Crystal decided to share her own experiences with racial stereotypes.
Crystal told Kyle and Sutton,
“From the perspective of someone who’s not white, when it hits you from stereotypes, it can be so painful that you can’t see anything else.”
“I’ve had friends who have said things to me, Asian comments and stuff like that. Do Garcelle and I share the same ones? No. I could never know Garcelle’s plight.”
It’s at this point that Sutton rudely interrupted and announced that she refused to talk about race and racial stereotypes.
Crystal responded with how easy it is for Sutton to avoid the topic because she doesn’t have to deal with racism on a day-to-day basis.
Sutton immediately got all riled up and started comparing white southern redneck stereotypes to Crystal’s experiences. She insisted that the RHOBH cast was educated and well-traveled and thus, apparently, don’t need to talk about racism.
Of course, Sutton’s whole argument is absolutely ridiculous.
First of all, stereotypes of white southern women are absolutely nothing compared to the racism POC experience every day. Yes, once Sutton opens her mouth and you hear her accent, perhaps she may experience stereotyping. But POC don’t get that luxury. They can’t even speak before being judged based on the color of their skin. To even try to compare the two is insulting.
Second, and more importantly, it doesn’t matter how educated you are, how cultured you are, conversations on race are *important* and are always necessary. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. You’re not exempt from racism.
Lastly, the fact that Sutton quite literally cut Crystal off to end a conversation about race that she was uncomfortable with just proves her white fragility. Yes, talking about racism can be uncomfortable, especially for white people. But you know what, Sutton? Get over it! Be grateful that Crystal is willing to share her experiences with you. So shut up and listen next time. Otherwise, you’re just showing your ass.
Since the episode aired, Sutton took to Instagram to issue an apology. She wrote,
“Despite Crystal and my strained relationship at the time, it was disrespectful to interrupt her not listen to her express her truth.”
“My life is blessed by the diversity of my relationships and I am committed to become a better listener to understand the painful realities experienced by people of color. I am sorry. I will do better and be better.”
In return, Crystal posted her own statement to accept Sutton’s apology. She wrote,
“Your apology means a lot to me, and I’m sure it means a lot to many others with similar lived experiences.”
“Asian Americans are often expected not to share their opinions, but despite this stereotype, I believe that everyone deserves to be heard. I consciously re-wired myself to be outspoken and share my feelings whenever possible and I encourage my children to do the same.”
You can read her full statement below.
Garcelle Sits Down With Kyle
Alright. It’s time to move on to Garcelle, who had an entirely different strategy when it came to talking about race. Because, unlike Crystal, Garcelle doesn’t get the privilege of getting to be quite as confrontational. Unfortunately, Garcelle has to contend with the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype and has to go about things a different way.
So, when Garcelle had to confront Kyle, she calmly explained why Kyle’s decision to call her out at the season 10 reunion about her unpaid donation was triggering for her. She told Kyle about the stereotypes of Black people not paying for things, not tipping waiters, and more.
To Kyle’s credit, she took it like a champ. She listened to Garcelle and didn’t get defensive.
She later told Crystal and Sutton that, while she didn’t regret it at the time, hearing Garcelle’s point of view made her regret inadvertently play into racial stereotypes of Black people.
What to Expect This Season
Of course, we’re still early in the season and there are certainly many more conversations about race and racism ahead, whether the cast likes it or not.
Crystal told ET,
“The conversation about race is long overdue. I let people know that it’s an open conversation for me and I want people to feel safe in it, but also if I feel like I don’t agree with what you’re saying about it, then I’m gonna tell you.”
“We’re in a very sort of tumultuous time and I feel proud and a responsibility to speak out… I have a voice and I’m gonna use it.”
Garcelle is also prepared to have tough conversations with her co-stars. She previously told Vulture,
“Sometimes you have to have the conversations that are tough. If you turn on any news, any talk show, anything right now, all of them have talked about race issues. I think whenever you have those difficult conversations, it can either go one of two ways: It can either go that relationship is severed and you both don’t get each other, or you were able to get past it and actually have a deeper conversation and maybe something important came out of it.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 8 PM.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.