Friday, May 18, 2007

"S/he needs to apologize..."

Although most are probably sick of hearing about anything Imus-related, I've been meaning to crank out this post for a while, now. A podcast I listened to, this morning, prompted me to get off my electronic ass and hit the keyboard.

A guest on NPR's "News and Notes" radio program mentioned that Don Imus, and people in-general, should apologize after having wronged someone(s). Later, I was pleased to hear them begin talking about sincerity, which was a refreshing change from what I've heard from most folks. Sadly, though, that didn't seem to be the point of her original statement or of similar statements that I hear from media personalities all the time.

Sorry if this is repetitive but I'm of the opinion that the only folks who "should" apologize are those who are sincerely remorseful - and children. I don't hear anyone saying, "I'm sure ol' Don didn't really mean to be offensive or to call those college athletes a bunch of 'nappy-headed hoes,' so he should let people know how bad he feels for his words.*"

All that leaves is the version of the apology that is reserved for children. Y'know, how you tell kids to say they're sorry, even if they don't really feel it? I think that serves a purpose in that it forces a dose of humility down the child's throat and, hopefully, gets him or her used to taking responsibility for his or her actions.

I guess forcing an unrepentant child to apologize could also encourage the practice of false apologies. That's what I think is going on in Imus' case.

It's not "important that he apologize," as the "News and Notes" guest put it... not unless he actually feels that he did something wrong (or wants to pull one of those "sorry that you took offense" apologies out of his ass).

Though I'm tempted, I'm not going to get into whether Imus is truly remorseful. I just wish that people would stop calling for the Imus', the Michael Richards', and the Mel Gibson's of the world to apologize.

They're grown-ass men. They should apologize only if they mean it - not because a bunch of newscasters, political leaders, or even the wronged individuals demand it.

It's simple. You only say, "I'm sorry for wronging you" if you're actually... wait for it... sorry for having wronged someone.

Anything else is a lie and devalues the very concept of contrition.

* - as opposed to how bad he feels for the repercussions he's suffered as a result of those words


Dena said...

i came to your blog by way of liz. all i have to say regarding this post is.......AMEN!

Michael May said...

Dude, I couldn't agree more. A coerced apology is absolutely useless.

Liz said...

Absolutely on point. Thank you...written as I'm sitting in a courthouse.

B. Good said...

I hate it when people apologize for the sake of apologizing, especially when they don't mean it.

And why "call" for an apology?? Who ASKS for an apology? Even if I think one is necessary, I don't think I'd ever ASK someone to apologize to me. Doesn't that defeat the purpose? One should recognize their own wrong (if they in fact, believe they are in the wrong), and fess up to it. But if you ain't sorry, then just telling me you are does nothing for me.

I'd have more respect for them if they said, "Yeah I said it. AND???"

plez... said...

if it coerced, it's not really an apology, because the apologist probably isn't even sincere. the whole Don Imus fiasco left a bad taste in my mouth from the mere utterance to the Al Sharpton Publicity Tour to the Rutgers B'Ball Team Press Conference. imagine, two weeks of media scrutiny for a two second lapse in judgement. WOW!

West said...

Welcome, plez...

From what I understand, this wasn't Imus' first "lapse in judgement" - especially with regard to race.

I hear that he's apologized more than once, in the past, then reverted back to type after a lil time went by.

chele said...

West -- I understand where you're coming from and I definitely believe that everyone forcing these guys to apologize is a friggin waste of time.

However, regarding not unless he actually feels that he did something wrong (or wants to pull one of those "sorry that you took offense" apologies out of his ass). ... I am one of those people who will apologize if something I've said has offended you ... but I may not take back what I said. Does that make my apology insincere?

West said...

Hey, chele.

In that paragraph, I was talking about whether/when it's important to apologize. I say it's not important unless the apology is because one feels they did something wrong or unless they are saying they're sorry the other person took offense. And, I was talking specifically about Imus' situation, which isn't a one of those debatable hypotheticals (in my mind, anyway). It's a situation in which dude was wrong, so trying to act like he's sorry they took offense, as if there was no reason for them to do so, would have been pulling something out of his ass. Something stinky.

"I stand by what I said, but I *am* sorry that what I said caused you pain or embarrassment," can still qualify as sincere, depending on the person, the situation, and the delivery.

Trula said...

Yah, if he doesn't mean it, and he obviously doesn't, then he should just shut up.

Remnants of U said...

* - as opposed to how bad he feels for the repercussions he's suffered as a result of those words

That is soo important.

Also, I understand Chele's point. Been there done that, but yes it depends on the situation, person & 'how it's said' :-)

chele said...

Thanks for the clarification. Makes perfect sense.