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No woman wants to be disrespected—and Black women know when they are being dissed. At its best, “auntie” is reverential, but that doesn’t mean you can always use it for someone who isn’t family. Nikole Hannah-Jones Jones, creator of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project, is the latest public figure to say she doesn’t want to be referred to in that way. On March 4, she tweeted, “Please don’t call me auntie unless I am actually your auntie.” The comment re-exposed a cultural divide over intent versus action and the role that language plays in the devaluation of Black women.

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