Looks like Leah McSweeney isn’t the only one unimpressed by Heather Thomson.
Real Housewives of New York newbie Eboni K. Williams recently expressed her disappointment with how Heather acted while on the show.
In a conversation with Insider, Eboni explained,
“To have this white woman, despite her intentions, step into the space of translator, it furthers a narrative that there’s some inability to connect with me directly in shared humanity.”
“I don’t need to be translated, let alone translated by a woman who doesn’t have an adequate lens of my experience or even know me, beyond meeting me 48 hours prior to. So in those ways, I do think Heather was unproductive.”
Eboni further expressed her frustration with Heather during her appearance on WWHL! and told Andy Cohen. She said,
“It came across to me, Andy, like she was trying to whitesplain or translate for me and one thing I do pretty well is communicate effectively.”
Of course, RHONY is filled with problematic white ladies. Ramona Singer and Luann de Lesseps are certainly the most obvious culprits. They’re willfully ignorant — Ramona even admitted to being in her own bubble (a shocking moment of clarity for her).
But, make no mistake, Heather is also extremely problematic — just in a different way.
Heather thinks she’s “woke” because she worked for Sean Diddy Combs and Beyonce. She essentially told Eboni K. Williams that she knows everything about Black culture and understood her plight.
But Heather is ignorant to her own ignorance. She doesn’t understand that she, as a white woman, can never fully understand what Eboni goes through every day as a Black woman.
And, as Leah pointed out, Heather doesn’t know when to shut the hell up.
During Eboni and Luann’s conversation over Luann’s use of the word “angry” when referring to a Black woman, Heather fully inserted herself. She made herself the arbiter of the conversation and even tried to speak on Eboni’s behalf, instead of letting Eboni speak for herself.
Heather represents a group of liberal white women who believe themselves to be fully aware of racism in America. But while she may be more aware than say, Luann, she doesn’t know everything. And, as Eboni said, Heather was making herself a little too comfortable.
The problem with white women like Heather is they think that they have nothing to learn. But the truth is, they have plenty to learn. We all do. And what Heather really needs to do right now is to shut the hell up and listen. What all white women need to do right now is listen.
Interestingly, the only one who seemed to actually “get it” during the RHONY episode was Sonja Morgan. She stayed pretty quiet during the conversation, listening to what Eboni had to say. She only inserted herself when Luann tried to demand an apology for Eboni.
It’s still the beginning of the season but Eboni has already been through the wringer. Yes, she agreed to be on the show, knowing that it would be her and a bunch of ignorant white women. But you can’t help but feel like Bravo set her up for failure, trauma, and pain. And Eboni deserves so much better than that.
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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.