Many Teen Mom 2 fans were upset after Kailyn Lowry made a low-key racist move when she described her co-star Briana DeJesus as “ratchet” during a heated argument this season, which is a slang term that has a racially-charged meaning. Now, Bri’s sister Brittany DeJesus is calling Kail out and explaining why it’s prejudiced for someone to use the term “ratchet” to describe a woman of color.
“When an ethnic person goes off it’s called being ghetto/ratchet…BUT LET A WHITE PERSON SAY OR DO SOME S–T AND ITS NOT A PROBLEM,” the 26-year-old tweeted, in response to the scene.
In the episode, Kail and Bri were feuding because Bri started dating Kail’s ex-husband Javi Marroquin. The conversation got tense when Bri’s mother Roxanne DeJesus jumped in to make a point and Kail raised her voice to respond to Roxanne — and Bri told Kail to not disrespect her mother. When it was clear that their conversation wasn’t getting anywhere, Bri told Kail, “Shut up. You’re annoying,” and Kail responded, “Okay, you can be ratchet then.”
Britt jumped in to defend her sister and asked Kail why she felt Bri was being ratchet, and Kail said it was because Bri told her to shut up. “If she was being ratchet, she would’ve said, ‘Shut the f–k up, you’re f–king annoying,’ Britt said. “Don’t call my sister ratchet cause I’m the real ratchet one.”
The term “ratchet” is often used as a synonym of “ghetto,” and according to Melynda Price, a law professor at the University of Kentucky, “Ratchet is neither good nor bad. Any moral attachments to the word all come from the intentions of the person saying it.”
While some POC own the word and put a positive spin on its meaning, it can also have a negative connotation — which is why Kail used it as an insult and Bri took ownership of it. The other main issue is that the words “ratchet” and “ghetto” are usually only ever used to describe people of color or minorities. Even though Britt deleted her tweet calling out Kail, many fans feel the same way she does about Kail using that word as an insult towards Bri.
“I’m sorry but [Kail] should’ve never said Briana was being ratchet cause that’s profiling IDGAF but she was profiling [and] that’s what white people do when they’re in an argument [with] POC they always say things like [they’re] being ratchet/ghetto/hood,” one fan tweeted, and another commented, “I find it ironic how Kailyn obviously has a Latino fetish but also has a prejudice towards them because [nine times out of 10] out of she wouldn’t even call Jenelle [Evans] ratchet but she pulls that word out for Briana. Or like when she criticized how Joe cut Issac’s hair.”
That fan has a point. Kail is a mother of three boys who are all POC [two of her sons have Latino/Hispanic fathers and one son has a black father] it’s jarring that she would resort to using such a racially-charged word. But Kail has a history of saying offensive things when it comes to ethnicity. Back in 2014, Kail got a ton of backlash after she got upset about the way her ex-boyfriend Jo Rivera cut their son Isaac’s hair. “He’s too young for that. He’s half white,” she wrote in a text message. “Little white boys don’t get their hair cut like that.”
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