A Racist Apologizes

The original title of And Then There Were None...
The original title of And Then There Were None (1939), by Agatha Christie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Offended Black People:

I meant exactly what you thought I meant when the word nigger leapt from my mouth. It did not escape. It did not slip out. I launched it with all the force my vocal chords could muster. I wanted it to stick. 

If I was sorry for offending you, I would never have said it. 

The truth is, the word nigger tastes like absinthe, dark and heady in my mouth. I have swirled it around on my tongue behind the curtain of nightfall, forbidden. It pairs well with other adjectives, like “dirty,” “filthy,” “stupid,” “ugly.” But it is intoxicating solo; I prefer it straight, no chaser. 

I called you a nigger because who pulls out a spade when the Big Joker outweighs it? Who brings a pillow to a gunfight? The word is all blunt edged consonants and feral growls. It is a word you stab with and yank back streaked bloody. 

And yes, I do have black friends, but we didn’t collaborate on this one. They’re fine people. But if they had done what you did to anger me, the word would still have echoed in my thoughts, manic to be heard. 

To be honest, I needed to free nigger from the cage of my teeth, to allow the word to point its blade toward home: the heart of a black person. 

Racist? Call me what you will; I have already called you the name I deem fitting for you. 

And if ever I repented, it would be for the act of withdrawal, the forcing of men to become mice and retract words–as if a feeble thread of “sorry” could stitch wounds meant to remain gaping. 

From my heart,
Every Racist Ever.


*If you hadn’t guessed, this fictitious post illustrates what I think a real “apology” for a racial slur should sound like. 

10 thoughts on “A Racist Apologizes

  1. “The wicked tongue has created many wars and one more war is to many.”

    So true! I think the first step in any person is recognizing your inherent bias and working to counteract that in your interactions with diverse people.

  2. As I ponder in thought, every color, nationality, sex, religion, and culture has a sense of racism. I grew up in a city just north of Chicago where, it was very segregated. We had Italian neighborhoods, Polish neighborhoods, Hispanic neighborhoods that were divided between the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and chicanos.We had the Black neighborhoods, and you went to the church in you neighborhood, if you were catholic. If you were not Catholic, you went to a church usually on a busy road, or in a less fortunate neighborhood. Every group had some racial classification such as Whap, Polack, Grease ball, Wetback, Hillbilly (white trash) equivalent to being a White nigger. Kikes, Krout, Holy rollers ext… However, I do not believe that one should try to belittle anyone even though they believe that there that their culture is superior to another. The wicked tongue has created many wars and one more war is to many.

  3. Thanks, Val! I don’t really mind the apology tours. I just wish they would be as honest as they were when they let the verbal daggers fly out their mouths.

    Sorry, my foot…!

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