The day after Christmas, a video of a white woman wearing Birkenstocks in the middle of winter and screaming about her lost cellphone went viral. The woman, now identified as Miya Ponsetto, accused a Black teenager who happened to be standing in the lobby at the same time as Ponsetto of stealing her phone and went so far as to lunge at the teen who’s father was recording the incident. Somehow, despite attempting to attack a teenager, Ponsetto was able to leave the hotel unchecked eventually discovering that she had left her phone in an Uber. On Thursday, Ponsetto—who I predicted was not from New York and of course, I was right—was arrested on a fugitive warrant in Ventura County, California, a few miles away from where she had been living, the New York Times reports.
AP reports that when the police attempted to apprehend Ponsetto, she refused to step out of her car. One officer said, “She tried to slam the door on one of the deputies and that’s when they just reached in and forcibly removed her,” although shockingly no one was compelled to shoot at her for resisting arrest. Interesting how that works for some people.
In an interesting twist that will surely be a plotline on Law & Order this year, before she was arrested, Ponetto sat for an interview with Gayle King to plead her case. Instead of being apologetic or aware of her actions, she basically told Gayle to talk to the hand, saying, “Gayle, enough,” after the most beloved anchor on television respectfully asked a question.
Ponsetto is awaiting extradition back to New York, where she will face charges that have yet to be announced by the prosecutors, although the sheriffs in Ventura County are suggesting that the charge of resisting arrest will be added. Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen H. Ghatan tells the Times that Ponsetto, who she claims is just “very young” and “emotionally unwell” regrets her actions at the hotel but maintains that the attack was not racially motivated because “[Ponsetto] is of Puerto Rican and Vietnamese descent and does not identify as white.” Unable to read the room and unaware of any degree of history, Ghatan doubled down on this statement, “She’s a female herself of mixed cultural descent. She’s not some blond-haired, blue-eyed privileged white lady.”
Far be it from me to tell anyone how they can and cannot identify but let’s get a few things straight shall we? Miya Ponsetto is phenotypically white, which means she can be mixed with every united color of Benetton but at the end of the day, she still benefits from white privilege. Also, plenty of Puerto Ricans have blue or green eyes because of years of colonial rule so at any point we, too, can be blue-eyed privileged white ladies if we believe in ourselves. That’s probably why it’s so easy for actual white women to refer to themselves as Latina and get away with it for a few years.
It is also peak privilege that Ponsetto was able to barge into a hotel where she checked out three days prior and yell at a white hotel manager, who still chose to entertain this woman and her baseless accusations about theft over the word of two paying Black hotel guests who were on their way to breakfast enjoying their morning, for fuck’s sake.
Taking all this into consideration, it is my solemn duty as an active member of the Latine Delegation to alert Ms. Ponsetta that her card has been revoked effective immediately, and she will not be affiliated with this team during 2021's upcoming racial draft. We wish her the best of luck on all her future endeavors which we hope will include some sort of punishment for her actions. Being without a phone for a year seems like a fair start.