Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jemele Hill's Apology

It's not a Buzz Bissinger... but we'll take (a dump all over) it...

The beginning is easy: I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being thoughtless and insensitive.

And offensive to Jews, Veterans, Mel Gibson, the Reagan Administration and basically all of America?

I'm sorry for making a casual reference to something that should never be construed as casual.

Saying that being a Celtics fan is akin to thinking "Hitler was a victim" isn't really a casual reference. Something about mentioning Hitler is never casual. Unless it's Emo Hitler.

Real apologies don't mix with rationalizations, so I won't insult your intelligence by offering you any.

But you just rationalized it by saying that these were "casual references." That's a rationalization. And I bet you're going to spend a page-and-a-half rationalizing it further, aren't you? My intelligence is bracing for insult.

This isn't about my editors because even if the word "Hitler" never appeared in the posted column last Saturday, that doesn't change the fact that I wrote it and, at the time, found humor in making a moronic comparison between a man who was responsible for killing millions to Detroiters who root for the Boston Celtics.

This sounds a lot like rationalization. Although it's good to know that you thought it was funny when you wrote it. I thought you were going for shock effect. Now I realize that you actually laughed about it, and I'm actually more insulted.

This is about my living up to a standard I expect of everyone else -- respect, awareness, honesty and accountability.

It's kind of about being a hypocrite Jemele. You've been writing about the topic of race and racism for the last year-and-a-half. You've torn into every white person who's given you ANY reason. You've basically demanded the heads of Don Imus and Kelly Tilghman for similar (but not nearly as offensive) remarks on LIVE BROADCASTS.

The difference is that Don Imus and Kelly Tilghman don't get to take back the words they say. You're writing an article, which you presumably re-read and edit in some manner. You had numerous chances to adhere to that "standard" of yours. You failed at "respect" and "awareness" when you made the remarks. And this apology isn't doing much for "honesty" or "accountability."

In January, I wrote about Kelly Tilghman, the Golf Channel anchor who was suspended two weeks for joking on the air that young players should "lynch [Tiger Woods] in a back alley." I wrote, "... those who, like Woods, believed this is a 'non-issue' would understand that the word 'lynch' is off-limits to most blacks, just as joking about the Holocaust is off-limits to most Jews."

Okay, so you knew better than to make such a 'joke' and you did it anyway. This apology is making you look a lot more like someone who needs to be fired.

I got too comfortable with my own knowledge and history of dealing with racial issues.

You mean since that's all you write about? Race? So you're telling me that your ignorant remarks were bred by YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUBJECT?!

I dropped my guard. I got caught up in being cutesy and wrote something stupid.

Cutesy!? You think that's fucking cutesy!? The implication that Celtics fans favor seeing America nuked by the Russians is cutesy!? Jesus fucking Christ, I want you fired more now than when I read your stupid fucking comments.

Just because I'm a black woman doesn't mean I've got an automatic sensitivity chip for cultures outside of my own.

Yeah, it really just means that you're safe to write whatever you want about the topics of race and/or gender and nobody will call you on your bullshit for fear of being called racist. However, I'll take this statement to mean that you're admitting that you're completely unqualified for your job, and that you deserve to be fired.

In the Tilghman column, I wrote, "While I don't believe [Tilghman] is a racist, I certainly wouldn't classify what she said as a 'slip.' A cussword is a slip. This was a constructed, racial scenario that is a frightening reminder for some people in this country."

Maybe Tilghman got caught up in being cutesy! You know what is a constructed, racial scenario that is a frightening reminder for some people in this country? Holocaust Denial!!! Which is what you're doing when you suggest that Hitler was a victim. Which you did.

The moment I put "Hitler" and "victim" in the same sentence, I did the exact same thing. It doesn't matter that my intent was to use hyperbole to bolster the humor.

You were using hyperbole to bolster the humor? I thought you were being cutesy. Make up your fucking mind. And in order to bolster the humor, there must first be humor. The fact that you keep insisting that any part of this is humorous really only tells me that you're not sorry enough, and should be fired.

I once wrote about Don Imus that "speech is free, but consequences are not."

You also wrote that if "he needs to be fired to understand that this is unacceptable, then so be it." And here you are, with the assertion that you simply mis-worded a joke. You constructed a racial scenario that is a frightening reminder for some people in this country. Remember?

My consequence is losing some of my credibility, and for me, that's a stiff penalty.

That's a non-existent penalty. The fact that you're apparently going to keep your job is proof that you haven't been held accountable even slightly for your actions. The only punishment stiff enough for Imus was a swift firing, right? So if you were to hold yourself to that same standard, then you should quit your job. Shouldn't you Jemele? Wouldn't that be a show of your integrity?

I learned some good and some not-so-good things about people during the week of my suspension. I've learned who my friends are.

You have friends? When did this happen?

I've learned Boston Celtics fans sure do know how to make the most out of e-mail.

So you've learned to continue mocking Celtics fans, basically? Aren't they entitled to e-mail you after being compared to fucking Nazis?! I don't agree with Beantowners much, but they get a free pass when it comes to you. And it never expires.

When it comes to race, uncomfortable is best.

When it comes to race, maybe ESPN really doesn't need someone who's exclusive job is to write about it. Have we considered that option? That maybe if people didn't make their LIVING off of pointing out instances of racism... that maybe we wouldn't spend so much time thinking about race? And maybe if we didn't spend so much time thinking about race... there'd be less racism?

I'll tell you something that DOESN'T reduce racism. Paying people to climb onto a pedestal and point their finger while screaming, "RACIST! RACIST! RACIST!!" every time they disagree with someone's actions.

I'm not going to stop writing about race.

I'm not going to stop insisting that you need to be fired, because you've learned nothing. You've simply rationalized the situation... after telling me that you weren't going to insult my intelligence with rationalizations.

You've claimed ignorance, humor, knowledge, hyperbole and 'being cutesy' as excuses. None of these excuses holds any degree of water, and none of it makes this better.

Do yourself a favor and fall on your sword. The only reason ESPN hasn't fired you, is because they're scared you'll call them Racists.

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