Has anyone else ever taken a self-care break, only to get halfway through it, and realize that you’re ready to get back to whatever it is you’re taking a break from? Cause, whew! I stayed away from the news, only posted about my dog and light hearted-things, and told my fam to talk to me about current events next week. Then a few days into my “self-imposed week-long self-care” I was like yeahh, I’m finna slide right back into the thick of thangs.
I was kindly reminded (aka told to have several seats) by my s/o and my dad, that I needed to take the full week, as I had promised myself. They had a point. I *may* have tried to rationalize (to myself) around it, but they were right.
My self-care week is over now though, and today we’re talking about apologies. Not about giving them, but about something that is all too common. People accepting apologies, when it isn’t their place to do so.
What do I mean?
Remember Amy Cooper, otherwise known as “Central Park Karen?” She was the white woman who called the police on Christian Cooper, a Black man, who was bird watching and had asked her to leash her dog. Amy invoked and weaponized her white woman tears, by calling 911 and frantically telling the operator, that Christian was threatening her and her dog, which was a complete lie. After the video surfaced, and she was condemned in the court of public opinion, lost her dog and her job, she issued a series of apologies. This is one of them:
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family…It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended…everyone who thinks of me in a lower light and I understand why they do.”
“When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury.”
Amy did what so many do after being caught, especially in these “call the police for no reason” situations, she said sorry. Would she have said sorry had there not been a video or if she wasn’t dragged unmercifully and deservingly online? Imma say no.
We’ve (Black folks and POC) seen this trick and pony show, one too many times, to ever care about or believe her apology. That didn’t stop white people, however, from accepting her apology for us.
“She said sorry. That’s all anyone can ask for, why are people still mad?”
Well, it probably has to do with the fact that she isn’t actually sorry, but sorry she got caught, or however that phrase goes. Then there’s the denial of what she did, the minimizing of it, the added layer of still trying to criminalize his behaviors, and the turning herself into a victim part – during her series of “not apology, apologies.”
She ONLY got around to the “decent” apology posted above, after royally fumbling the ones she posted before, and being criticized for it.
Another case of this, would be what happened after RBG’s death.
Which, side note, was supposed to be its own IWW. But I did enough arguing with people all around these social media streets, that by the time I needed to write about it, I was overrr it.
You might not know this, if you don’t move in these circles, but a lot of Black and Indigenous people, had very different responses to her death, than most other people, who were hailing her as a saint. Instead of posts about how great she was, they instead talked about all the ways she’s harmed those communities. Things she’s said, votes she placed and actions taken.
How do you think a lot of white people, more specifically, white women responded to these criticisms? It wasn’t good, I’ll tell ya that. If you know the term “man-splaining,” then you’ll understand what I mean, when I say they “white(women)-splained.”
Instead of listening to BIPOC, or even researching, if they were unfamiliar with their concerns, they led with dismissiveness. Said time and time again, that their objections, their intersections, didn’t matter.
They flat out called BIPOC liars.
And when they finally got around to looking up the criticisms, they found an apology from RBG and they accepted it FOR us. Not before chastising us for not caring about her apology. Certainly not before making it a point, to talk about how it makes us bad people, for not enthusiastically and loudly accepting her apology. It definitely didn’t happen before we were gaslit. It, without a doubt, did not happen before the “liberal, I fight for everyone” types, pushed out their best, well-dressed passive/liberal racism.
The idea that you, as an unimpacted group, can accept an apology on behalf of the impacted group (often when the impacted group refuses to), defies all logic.
If someone has been in a domestic violence situation, and their abuser apologies; do you think the domestic violence survivor, gives a fuck that the neighbor thinks they should accept the apology? How do you think it would go, if their neighbor accepted for them?
A prominent philanthropist, who has done some amazing things for the betterment of mankind, has some very damaging and racist views about POC. They apologize, only after making waves. POC don’t want to hear it, understandably so. They are then pressured into accepting the apology and into “playing nice.” Is this something that you genuinely think is okay?
I, as a cis Black woman, would never EVER, accept an apology for the trans community(or any other marginalized community), after harm has been done.
1. That’s not my place.
2. I’m most likely going to be on their side. Who hurt y’all? Oh aight, bet.
3. I understand nuance.
4. I know that those who do good things, great even, are entirely capable of, have done, and probably will do harm to other communities.
5. I have some damn common sense.
And 6? Maybe I need to take it back to our childhoods, when our parents explained apologies to us. Apologies are made to show true remorse and to try to right a wrong. If they are only said, because that’s what you think people want to hear, or for your own benefit, they shouldn’t be said. Even if that apology is genuine, those you harmed have no obligation to acknowledge or accept it. We all know this.
Therefore, we’re gonna need y’all to STOP ACCEPTING APOLOGIES FOR MARGINALIZED GROUPS.
We’re tired of having to deal with an off-brand, too small, band-aid, that doesn’t stick well – being presented to “fix” a gaping, infected wound, that spans the entirety of our backs.
We are not accepting platitudes, after the fact and only after pressure. We will not put on a happy face and smile in the presence of harm.
I think a part of it, is that having someone not accept a sorry, puts a spotlight on one’s own flaws. It doesn’t allow you to skip past the hurt you’ve caused nor sweep it under the rug. You’re confronted with the ugliness of whatever it is, you’re not given that “it’s okay, don’t worry about it” and people don’t like that. But truthfully, that’s not their (the person(s)you harmed) problem. It’s yours and yours alone to attempt to remedy.
Perhaps, instead of putting the pressure on those affected to accept apologies, you could, I don’t know, actually recognize and confront the problem?
What a concept.
When JanayB isn’t posting memes, scrolling through “wokebook” posts, ordering food and otherwise being your typical millennial, you can find her here destroying white tears and basking in her unapologetic blackness. Get in touch with her at JanayBsays@gmail.com.