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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

When an apology doesn't cut it

When you're caught being yourself, you can't apologize. Or at least no one will take you seriously.

That's the problem with Michael Richards. The ex-Seinfeld star's racist outburst at a comedy club likely (and sadly) showed his true colors. That's why his pathetic apology via satellite on The Late Show with David Letterman Monday isn't going to fix anything. He fell short of saying that he'd like to meet with African-American leaders. (In an effort to save face after shouting anti-Semetic remarks during his drunk driving arrest on July 28, actor Mel Gibson said during his subsequent apology that he would seek out Jewish leaders to confront his problem.)

When Jerry Seinfeld spoke on his behalf on The Late Show, he said that he has known Richards for years, loves him, is good friends with him, and that Richards is really upset about what happened. However, he failed to say that Richards isn't actually a racist. I think that's pretty telling. But honestly, is Richards upset because he was caught being a racist or because he is a racist?

3 comments:

  1. Not an expert on racial relations by any means, but if you have to SAY you're not a racist??

    If Richards can't handle a little heckling on stage at a comedy club, then maybe it's time he looks for a different career.

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  2. I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, Suzanne. Perhaps because I live in the South, where racism is sometimes shockingly out in the open, I've come to believe that sometimes when that despicable word is used, it's less because of the speaker's bigotry and more because of its use in everyday vernacular. I have no idea whether Richards is a racist. But I know that when I've been agry I've sometimes said things that I didn't mean. I've used words and phrases that I knew would be hurtful. And what word in the American vernacular is more charged and more hurtful, not just to blacks but to all of us? Again, I am not defending Richard's use of the word, but I feel that the silver lining in this awful episode is that it has sparked a dialogue about the state of racism in this country, the unfortunate use of the word by some members of the African American community, and the importance of dealing with our own inner demons. Hopefully Richards can tackle his demons and in the mean time stay the heck away from an open mike.

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