We Need To Talk About The Comments That Started Sutton & Crystal’s RHOBH Feud

Photo: John Tsiavis/Bravo/NBCU/Getty Images.
Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
Spoilers are ahead. While Dorit Kemsley gets glam for 10 hours and Lisa Rinna and Garcelle Beauvais make awkward small talk about ceiling beams, the two newest Housewives are bringing the drama on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Season 11, Episode 3 continued the feud between newer housewives Sutton Stracke and Crystal Kung Minkoff, which began because of Sutton's complete lack of understanding in conversations about race, and continued because of a prank involving fake vodka martinis. After seeing Wednesday's episode, it's clear that Sutton and Crystal will never be on the same page.
To go back to the beginning, in last week's episode, Sutton, Crystal, and Kyle Richards talked about Kyle's productive conversation about race with Garcelle. Crystal noted that she could relate to Garcelle — they're the only non-white cast members — and Sutton suddenly got upset. "I am not doing this! I am going to tell you right now!" she said. Sutton seemed to say that because they are "educated" and "traveled" they didn't need to talk about racism, since that couldn't possibly exist within their group. Crystal pointed out that that was easy for Sutton, a white person, to say, and questioned whether she's "that girl" who doesn't "see colour."
The answer is: yes. In her confessional this week, Sutton said, "Yes, I'm the girl that doesn’t see colour. And that’s bad, why?"
Sutton and Crystal aren't even speaking the same language. Sutton hasn't even been filled in on why not seeing colour is a bad thing, because it diminishes others' experiences and keeps one in denial about systemic racism, for starters. In her own confessional, Crystal shadily pointed out that "the generation above me were simply taught to be colour blind, and Sutton’s 20 years older than me, so she’s part of the generation that was taught that." (The editors pointed out that Sutton is only 12 years older.)
In a conversation the next day, Crystal and Sutton seemed to come to somewhat of an understanding. Crystal explained that she has faced actual racism in her life. Sutton shared that people have accused her of being racist simply because of her strong southern accent, so she's on guard about it. In this moment, it seemed that they were truly willing to listen to each other.
The thing is, it wasn't clear from this one conversation that Sutton understood that being accused of being racist is not as bad as facing racism. And, in fact, that she'd be better off not sharing her experience of being accused of racism with anyone who has faced actual racism, especially if she's only just met them. This isn't to say that Sutton's experience isn't valid, just that it's not comparable.
And it's Sutton's lack of understanding that caused the whole thing to come up again. At dinner, Sutton tells some of the other women about what happened between her and Crystal, and expresses annoyance over the fact that her conversation with Kyle and Crystal had dared turned into "a race conversation" at all. She tries to connect with Erika Girardi, who is also southern, about feeling like she has to defend herself against being racist, and Erika totally shoots that idea down. Dorit hilariously inserts something about "being a child of the world" and Sutton gets annoyed at the idea that she doesn't also have multicultural experiences.
But everything with Sutton, oddly, doesn't come to a head because of the race thing, but because of a prank devised by immediate RHOBH legend Kathy Hilton. Kathy and some of the other women began pranking each other by ordering fake martinis and chugging them to the shock of the other ladies. With the women acting suspicious due to their pranking, Sutton became worried that she was being talked about behind her back. (Or, in front of her face at a dinner table, I guess.)
On the way back to their Tahoe rental house, Crystal tried to let Sutton in on the joke by subtly giving her a kick on the leg, but Sutton became upset that Crystal kicked her (her "legs are very thin") and convinced that she was purposely left out, growing upset not just at Crystal, but at everyone.
The episode ended with Crystal caught in a hot mic moment complaining about Sutton on the phone to a friend, just as Sutton was approaching her room to inexplicably bring her coat that she left in the living room. At night. When they weren't going anywhere.
This is all to say that Crystal and Sutton will probably never get along, or if they do make peace, that they'll never actually like each other. The divide was made too deep with the conversation about colourblindness that now anything — a martini prank, a kick on the leg, a returned coat — is only going to be cause for more drama. It only makes sense that Crystal would want to distance herself from Sutton. She tried explaining racism to her once; it wasn't her job to do so in the first place and it's certainly not her job to continue. Plus, as we've quickly learned, Crystal likes throwing a little shade, and she clearly doesn't mind Sutton being a target.
Sutton did apologize to Crystal in an Instagram post for interrupting her when she was talking about her own experience with racism in last week's episode. "I am committed to become a better listener to understand the painful realities experienced by people of colour," she wrote. Crystal accepted the apology, commenting, "Thank you, Sutton."
Still, while Sutton is on a better path, as shown in the latest episode, that change takes time. You don't just go from thinking colour blindness is good and being southern is a struggle akin to racism to changing those thoughts overnight. While that change can be made, the damage is done when it comes to Sutton and Crystal, and we'll continue to see it play out. We haven't even gotten to the "your ugly leather pants" moment yet.

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