Friday, January 27, 2006

Dear American People:

One of the assholes in Al Qaeda mailed me this letter. I hate those assholes, but I thought there was something interesting about it:

Dear American people,

We were shocked and vaguely amused to see your reaction to our actions on September 11, 2001. Flying two planes into buildings and killing thousands of people was merely meant as a political gesture and certainly was not meant to offend anyone. We are sorry if anyone was offended. We are not hateful, nor racist people. Perhaps you should grow thicker skin if you take our political gestures so seriously.

Saddama Bin Laden and Friends

Disgusting? Ridiculous?

Of course. And that's why everytime somebody promotes American racism and violence against ethnic other people, it disgusts me when people trot out the same fake-ass "apologies".

My point is not to equate the harming of millions of Asian Americans or other Americans of color with stereotypes to be on the par with the violent killing of thousands of people. It's that when someone has done an injustice to you, a hollow, insecure "apology" makes things worse.

So when CBS Radio's spokeperson responds to Adam Carolla's racial stereotyping of Asian Americans by saying, "The segment was meant to be humorous and was not meant to offend anyone,"
it's simply piling racial harassment on top of racial harassment.

Of course, this begs the question, "What am I supposed to do when, I do something horrendous and I'm expected to apologize?"

I proscribe three steps:
1) Empathize: Ask what bothered someone about the original transgression. In the case of racial issues, it's likely that the root of the problem is a racial perspective divide of some kind. Sincerely listen.
2) Respond with a sincere apology that addresses the specific grievance that were voiced.
3) Re-assess and learn: Listen again as the other person responds to your apology and ask them to honestly respond. Sometimes a simply apology won't be enough, but being empathetic and not trying to just end the encounter will help heal that. Apply what you've learned in future situations, so the same thing doesn't reoccur repeatedly.

In the case of Carolla and friends, here are some contact emails:
  • Joel Hollander, chairman and chief executive officer, CBS Radio, tel: 212-846-3939, email:
  • Dana L. McClintock, senior vice president, CBS Communications Group, tel: 212-975-1077, email:
  • Adam Carolla:
  • Dave Dameshek:
  • Rachel Perry:
  • Ozzie Castillo:
Please write in and express your own viewpoint on this issue. If you want to, please go ahead and forward your exchange with me here at xianb8 at the wonderful domain of yahoo dot com.

As one of my students says, "Two fingers, one word--PEACE!"


Blogger Gar said...

the opening letter cracked me up, but you hit the issue square in the face: half-assed, insincere, and vague apologies aren't really apologies at all.

excellent post.

2:01 AM  
Blogger xian said...

Thanks Gar! I was worried I'd find a whole bunch of "Why do you hate America?" responses...

5:40 PM  
Blogger Lee Herrick said...


Thanks for your post. I signed the petition you linked at APIA Blogs, and I hope this racist gets what is coming to him.



4:54 PM  

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