Many viewers of 90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days are invested in Alina Kasha and Caleb Greenwood’s future.
Their friends-to-lovers storyline is compelling. Caleb is eccentric, Alina is disabled, and Elijah is a delight.
Right now, a number of fans are calling for Alina to be fired from the franchise.
It has nothing to do with her on-screen behavior and everything to do with her old, racist tweets.
On screen, Alina Kasha seems relatable, funny, and horny.
While some elements of the fandom dislike her because she’s a woman and because she speaks about her sexual desires, most viewers liked her.
Liked, past tense … because of recent jarring revelations about her.
In 2015, Alina Kasha took to social media to share her makeup job, but it was not a "glam" look.
She wore a fake beard, drawn on with either marker or makeup brush, with her eyebrows matching, alongside a bandana.
While she (thankfully) did not include Blackface, her caption was nearly as vile.
"Yo n—a gotta do sum gold diggin,’" she captioned the photo.
At the time, she did write the N-word using the letter Q in place of the letter G.
Whether that makes it better, or simply shows that she knew that what she was doing was wrong, is a troubling thought.
In 2014, in a Facebook post, Alina did not even use the letter Q, writing out the racial slur repeatedly.
She had, she wrote, been invited to a "n—a party," which she joked could happen "only in Russia."
Her description of the "party," with numerous references to Black skin and hair, sounds so repulsively vile that it’s difficult reading.
Initially, Alina denied that the screenshots circulated were genuine, accusing critics of using photoshop.
It is possible that she genuinely did not realize that the screenshots were genuine at first.
Since then, however, Alina has clearly come to understand that they were very real and very wrong.
"I sincerely want to apologize to those whose feelings have been hurt," Alina wrote.
"I never intended to offend anyone," she continued.
"I am and always will be against any form of discrimination," Alina affirmed.
"My English is okay," Alina understated, "but I am Russian, and there’s a lot of nuances that you learn over time."
She explained that she had previously assumed that the N-word, with its -a suffix, was a word akin to "fella" and did not understand the history behind it.
Parts of what Alina is saying make a lot of sense. Parts of it do not.
It is certainly the case that the vast majority of Russian citizens are not fully aware of the history of the N-word as a slur.
Truth be told, a shocking and shameful number of Americans — who live here! — sometimes struggle to understand slurs.
It seems that every time that a celebrity is rightfully shamed for using the n-word, a middle-aged white person has to ask "why" Black people can say it.
In reality, this is easy to understand because that is how literally all slurs work.
If a slur against you is used by you, it is robbed of its social intent and historical weight and is not harmful.
Alina may understand this now but not then … but does that mean that she is off the hook?
Well, no, and I say that as someone who is a big fan of Alina’s on-screen story this season.
First up, in 2015, she substituted the letter G with a Q, which seems to indicate that she understood that something was not okay.
Second, the intention behind both posts seems very linked to an extremely unflattering portrayal of Black people, and specifically Black Americans.
Alina is Russian, yes, so perhaps this just seemed like an edgy joke to her at the time and not like something despicable and hateful.
But I am a white person — in no position to offer Alina any kind of forgiveness or let her off the hook, because I am not the afflicted party.
While these are old social media posts — seven years old, now — the Black community is fully entitled to feel however they might about Alina.
One thing that we can say with certainty is that, no matter what Alina knew in 2014 and 2015, her actions were not as bad as Baby Girl Lisa Hamme’s.
Why? Because Lisa is from the United States and could not plausibly "not know" what a slur is.
More to the point, because Lisa directly called her ex-husband, Usman Umar, the N-word, ending with the hard R.