By Samantha Cooney
November 23, 2016
MOTTO
Samantha Cooney is the content strategy editor at TIME.

A white model wrote a poignant post about white privilege and cultural appropriation after being featured on the cover of British magazine focused on black beauty, the Washington Post reported.

Blackhair Magazine, a bimonthly magazine focused on black women’s beauty and style, usually features black or mix-raced models on its covers, according to the Post. But for the magazine’s December/January cover, editors chose a picture of white model Emily Bador. Readers weren’t happy with the choice, especially considering the fashion industry’s historical lack of representation of black women.

Bador wrote a poignant Instagram post, apologizing to anyone who may have been offended by the cover. “I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn’t understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature,” Bador wrote. “Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn’t understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can’t go to school with natural hair.”

“I didn’t understand that as a white passing woman I’d be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I’d be persecuted. I didn’t understand cultural appropriation,” she added.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Blackhair‘s editor Keysha Davis also apologized for the cover. She said that the editors weren’t aware that Bador was white, and that they use images provided by public relations companies or salons.

“We are keenly aware of how black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the last thing we want to do is add to our erasure,” Davis wrote. “In this ever-changing world, race will surely become even more fluid and no doubt conversations around Black identity will continue to change, and we definitely welcome the dialogue.”

[The Washington Post]

Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com.

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