“I’m sorry if you were offended by what I said”, is not how you apologize. Unfortunately this is the sad excuse of an apology most people default to.
The most responsible way to apologize almost has a formula to it. As Upworthy Curator Franchesca Ramsey stated, in her video titled “Getting Called Out: How to apologize”.
Step 1: The apologizer must take responsibility.
Step 2: The apologizer must make the commitment to change their hurtful behavior.
Let’s look at two highly publicized apologies celebrities have made after making insensitive remarks about race.
Last year one of the most high profile ‘apologies’ came at the hand of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Sterling was caught on tape making offensive remarks about black people to his girlfriend. His statements sent many people into a frenzy, expressing their disdain for Sterling and demanding a well deserved apology followed by his termination as owner.
Weeks after the incident Sterling sat down for an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and “apologized”. The interview was nothing short of a hot mess.
#1 mistake: He waited weeks to issue is apology. Time is of the essence when it comes to an apology.
#2 mistake: He failed to accept the blame. He blamed his mistake on his age and then continued on to blame is girlfriend and to top it off made a completely unrelated remark about Magic Johnson’s contribution to minorities.
More recently, Giuliana Rancic a television personality received major backlash when she made racially insensitive remarks about singer, Zendaya Coleman, on the E! Networks’ show Fashion Police. Giuliana stated that the singers’ faux dread locs made her look as though she smelled of weed and patchouli oil.
The next day Giuliana made an on-air apology and this apology differs from Sterling’s in a way that is undeniable.
#1 Giuliana understood that the intent of her statement did not matter. What actually mattered was the impact.
#2 Not stopping there, she took responsibility for her actions.
#3 Then proceeded to make a commitment to change the behavior that caused the offense.
That is it! That is exactly what it takes to properly apologize. It is not rocket science it just takes sincerity and the intent to change.
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