September 19, 2020

USA: A Black Lives Matter Leader Apologized And Admitted For Lying About Being Black. Also, A White Grad Student Pretending To Be Black Apologizes And Resigns From Teaching Position
Satchuel Cole, leader in the fight for racial equality in Indianapolis, lied about own race
written by Tim Evans and Natalia E. Contreras, Indianapolis Star
Friday September 18, 2020

Satchuel Cole, a highly visible community leader advocating for racial and social justice in Indiana, has apologized for misleading people about Cole's own race, saying "I have taken up space as a Black person while knowing I am white."

Cole — who uses pronouns they/them — worked with Indy10 Black Lives Matter and Indy SURJ, apologized and admitted lying in a social media post. Cole, who also was active in the LGBTQ community, did not respond to multiple phone messages and emails from IndyStar this week.

"Friends, I need to take accountability for my actions and the harm that I have done. My deception and lies have hurt those I care most about. I have taken up space as a Black person while knowing I am white. I have used Blackness when it was not mine to use. I have asked for support and energy as a Black person. I have caused harm to the city, friends and the work that I held so dear," Cole posted on a Facebook page under the name Satch Paige.

The apology is the only public post on the page. Cole has at least one other Facebook page, but IndyStar found Cole had used the Satch Paige account as recently as Aug. 31 to post about their work as an apartment manager.

Leaders of Indy10 Black Lives Matter and Indy Pride declined to comment. Leaders with Indy SURJ did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Cole's admission and apology came a day after an expose about Cole's family and race was published on the website Laron Anderson, the website's editor-in-chief, said it was the culmination of long-standing questions he and others had about whether Cole really was Black. Cole had based their racial identity, Anderson said, on a claim that their father was Black.

Born Jennifer Lynn Benton, their name was legally changed to Satchuel Paigelyn Cole  in 2010 in Hamilton Circuit Court, according to the online court docket.

Cole was a member of the Indy10 Black Lives Matter group and in 2017 became the spokesperson for the family of Aaron Bailey, who was shot and killed by IMPD following a traffic stop in June 2017.

Cole had also been involved with DONT SLEEP, a group that advocates for equity and justice in Indianapolis. Cole had acted as vice president and as of Friday was not listed as a team member on the website. 

Cole had been vocal about other cases involving police, including Eleanor Northington, a woman who died inside a church after a confrontation with IMPD officers last year.

In 2018, Cole founded the No Questions Asked Food Pantry, which has operated in partnership with Indy10 Black Lives Matter, Indy Pride, Queering Indy and Indy Feminists. 

This year, Cole was also one of Indy Pride Parade 2020 Grand Marshals. 

Cole is the latest in a string of white women who have admitted or been outed for presenting themselves as Black.

Others have presented as Black

A doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison issued a public apology this week after accusations emerged online that they were presenting as Black person despite being mostly of Italian ancestry. CV Vitolo-Haddad — who uses they/them pronouns — wrote in a Medium post Sunday that they resigned from a teaching position and stepped down as co-president of UW-Madison's chapter of the Teaching Assistants’ Association graduate workers' union. 

Vitolo-Haddad's admission came one day after Jessica Krug — a white associate professor of history at George Washington University who also earned her doctorate at UW-Madison — made national headlines after writing a blog post saying she had been pretending to be Black for years.

One of the highest profile incidents involved Rachel Dolezal, who stepped down in 2015 from her post at Spokane's NAACP after publicly claiming to be Black. Since then, Dolezal – who changed her name to Nkechi Diallo but still uses her birth name – was charged with committing welfare fraud. She was sentenced last year to community service and ordered to pay back $8,847 she was accused of wrongfully collecting in government assistance by lying about her income.

The harm that's caused

Dina Okamoto, director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society at Indiana University, said people may take on fraudulent racial identities for a variety of reasons, including for attention or to escape one's past.  

"The negative consequences and harm to the community are tremendous — a racial justice advocate who has portrayed herself as Black has taken up space, opportunity, voice, and attention from Black advocates and activists," Okamoto explained. "Her fraudulent racial identity was used to build her career in activism for the Black community. Every person who has come into contact with this advocate did so with the understanding that she had lived and experienced her life as a Black woman, and she has broken that trust with the community."

If Cole was seeking purpose and community, and wanted to escape the past, Okamoto said Cole still could have participated in advocacy as a white woman but "would have had to work to center Black needs and voices."

"Race and racial identity are complex issues, but they need not be fraught; the situation here and situations like it are fraught and harmful because of the ways in which people construct false identities and pasts to make inroads and gains within and at the expense of Black communities," she said.  

A matter of trust and betrayal

Michelle Moyd, the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor in the Department of History at IU, said such frauds open "painful questions especially within Black communities about who they can trust, and under what circumstances."

"This is part of the longer legacy of living with racism in the United States, where people with lighter skin have benefited from their proximity to whiteness, while people with darker skin are demonized and mistreated in myriad ways. When people like (Cole) do this, it is hurtful to those she betrayed by lying, first of all. But it is also damaging to anyone who believed in her. I count myself among them, since I followed her on social media and at times donated small amounts to the causes she promoted."

Moyd added that kind of suspicion "is definitely not what we need right now, but each time something like this happens, folks wonder how many more are out there doing the same thing? And who is trustworthy? This is probably especially important for activist communities where trust might be one of the most important currencies."

"Each time one of these frauds is exposed, the people around them are left to pick up the pieces," she said. "Those who understood (Cole) as a trustworthy member of the Indianapolis activist community now must repair the damage she has done, even as they also must continue their crucial social justice work. Nobody has extra time to do that kind of damage assessment, especially now. And yet because they are committed to the work, they will do so, and they will continue. Because they must."

Crystal Turner, who met Cole after moving to Indianapolis from Michigan, said she feels betrayed. Not long after arriving in Indiana, she went to a meeting at Cole's home.

"She said it was to discuss BLM and the first thing I asked was 'Why is this Black Lives Matter meeting being ran by a white woman?'" Turner recalled. "But she explained her lie of a story and she had enough other people betrayed that they vouched for her. And she would constantly acknowledge she was able to pass for white ... and how she had to use that to help others. So I’m sure a lot of people, like I did, just thought she was really aware of her privilege as a biracial Black woman, not that she was a white woman just pretending for years."

Turner, who has since moved back to Michigan, said Cole claimed their father was Black. The deception caused a lot of collective harm, Turner added, "especially knowing the personal struggles of the Black women she got close to, still using us for her benefit. She always wanted someone doing something for her."

In a reply to Cole's apology on Facebook, Turner noted "what's so sad is you could have done all the same work and never had to lie to get it done. You just chose to."

'We are disappointed'

In May the Central Indiana Community Foundation awarded more than $1 million in responsive grants to several Marion County’s non-profit organizations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cole’s No Questions Asked Food Pantry received $35,000 to continue feeding families in need. 

The grant application does not ask about the race and identity of the organization's leader said Pamela Ross, vice president of opportunity, equity and inclusion at CICF.

Ross said Cole’s actions are unacceptable and disappointing. 

“We were funding the work of No Questions Asked Food Pantry and this particular fund was not only vetted through CICF staff but it was also vetted through residents who said the organization added value to the community,” Ross said. 

She said this was the first time CICF had awarded funds the food pantry and several other grass-root level organizations. 

“We granted support to the work being done, which was validated by the community,” she said. “But we are disappointed that we have another instance of a white woman claiming to be a Black woman and it continues to perpetuate issues that we see in the community and it creates divisiveness.”

Ross said CICF will continue to work to build trust in the community and she encourages the community to work on healing from the damage of Cole's actions. 

“This situation has created a different level of conversation about telling the truth,” Ross said. “We are looking at leaders and at how many leaders of color actually are running these organizations. That does matter, but it does not matter in an application, it matters in the conversation because we want to influence more leaders of color.” 

Others say focusing on this one issue for too long could deter from the work that's left to be done in the Black community. 

'Work is more important than damage'

Shelley Covington has donated to the food pantry and also did some work with DON'T SLEEP where she met Cole about three years ago, she told IndyStar Friday. 

Covington said she has forgiven Cole but she wants others to know that this will not stop the community from growing and from coming together. 

“I am hoping this will be a challenge for more Black women to step up and join the cause,” Covington said. "If we can get past the betrayal, the hurt, the deception, and recognize that the work is more important than the damage that has been done then hopefully more people will step up and we’ll have new blood, new mindsets and new ideas will come in that will be ready to speak up, speak out on behalf of our goals and our objectives.”

Malina Simone Jeffers, who is a cultural entrepreneur in Indianapolis said after situations like this one, Black women everywhere should feel even more empowered and proud of their beauty. 

"From our labor to our culture, our hairstyles, our food, our fashion, and our neighborhoods — we continue to be taken from and rarely if ever, repaid and restored," Jeffers said. "For the larger community: we take this and ask ourselves what surprises us about it and learn from it."


This Morning published October 4, 2017: I Was Born White but I Prefer Being Black. Over the last five years, 29-year-old Martina Big has transformed her body with countless cosmetic procedures and tanning injections. Now, she says she's the 'proud owner of black skin' and identifies herself as a black woman. Broadcast on 04/10/2017

E! Entertainment published June 13, 2017: Martina's Ginormous Breasts Are at Huge Risk. Dr. Terry Dubrow is shocked when he gets the full details behind Martina's gigantic breast implants. Don't miss it on "Botched".
written by Mia Cathell
Thursday September 17, 2020

A white graduate student has resigned from their teaching position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison after falsely claiming to be a person of colour.

As first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, CV Vitolo-Haddad, whose non-binary pronouns are “they” and “them,” admitted to misrepresenting their race. The academic is Southern Italian and Sicilian, not black or Latino as they've previously purported.

"In trying to make sense of my experiences with race, I grossly misstepped," Vitolo-Haddad wrote in a September 8 article on the blogging platform Medium. "I went along with however people saw me. I over-identified with unreliable and unproven family history and latched onto anything I remembered growing up."

Vitolo-Haddad acknowledged that their actions were "deeply misguided" and "caused an incredible amount of hurt for the Madison community" as well as "everyone who has been exposed to this public reckoning."

Expressing deep regret to those "I deceived by inserting myself into Black organizing spaces I didn’t belong in," Vitolo-Haddad called the deception "parasitic and harmful."

They went on to realise that "perception is not reality" and "[r]ace is not flat" but a "social construct rife with contradictions."

“I have let guesses about my ancestry become answers I wanted but couldn’t prove,” Vitolo-Haddad stated in a prior confession. “I have let people make assumptions when I should have corrected them.”

To remedy the "betrayal," Vitolo-Haddad announced their resignation as co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) and associate professorship at UW-Madison.

"I can’t redress harm while in a position of organizational power," they asserted. "Education is build on a foundation of trust and accountability, and until I repair that I should not be teaching."

According to Inside Higher Ed, Vitolo-Haddad clarified via email that they never applied for scholarships, fellowships, or awards exclusively for ethnic minorities.

UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith Mcglone stated that the university “expects that people represent themselves authentically and accurately in all aspects of their academic work,” confirming that Vitolo-Haddad is “not currently employed as a teaching assistant.”

Their confession comes a week after an anonymous post exposed their white lies as "another academic racial fraud."

Vitolo-Haddad reportedly "lived an economically privileged life" with their white, affluent Italian American family, growing up in a $1.5 million home in Florida and attending an expensive private high school.

The Ph.D. candidate in journalism and mass communication has regurgitated critical race theory talking points on their YouTube vlog.

Last year on a political podcast, The Post Millennial's editor-at-large Andy Ngo debated Vitolo-Haddad. The black imposter reportedly became "extremely irate" when Ngo pointed out the common occurrence of hate hoaxes.

Vitolo-Haddad's downfall followed another high-profile scholar's self-cancellation and career termination. Jessica Krug, a former professor of African American history at George Washington University and a UW-Madison doctoral alumna, outed herself earlier this month for publicly identifying as an Afro-Caribbean woman when she is, in actuality, of Jewish descent. Vitolo-Haddad reportedly called Krug a “Kansas cracker” who received a Ph.D. in “performing blackface," describing the “transraciality” as “violence.”

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