Asians hate apologizing. Because it means we have to admit we were wrong. And we hate being wrong as much as we hate apologizing, which is why we excel at stuff to painstakingly avoid it. Our parents also never taught us the distinction between apologizing and flogging ourselves; when we were wrong as kids, we’d have to apologize for the ages. Literally. Like for stuff we did years ago, that we had already apologized for, not to mention the stuff we did five minutes ago. Then we’d have to admit that we fucked up not because, y’know, we occasionally dabbled in bad behavior or that we were, um, children, but because of some deep dark character flaw that we would have to spend the rest of our lives rectifying. Which then sent us into some horrible shame spiral about our “true” selves. It was all very grim, punishing, and Catholic, like Meryl Streep’s character in the movie Doubt, but if it taught us one thing, it was that WE. ALWAYS. HAVE. TO. DO. BETTER.
All this is just to say that we get how hard it is to say you’re sorry. It’s so much easier to, like, shoot an elephant. So when we heard this morning that you’d apologized for giving us the chink-eye, we were pleased, to say the least. Relieved too, because we were exhausted from reading all of the lazy, unexamined responses to the chink-eye picture that told us to “lighten up” or that our eyes “really look like that” or that, apropos of nothing, we’re just mad because our dicks are so teeny. You see, therein lies the problem: when you have a really famous person doing a really racist gesture–and we can’t believe we have to spell this out in the year 2009–it opens the floodgates. It makes it okay to hate. It gives a greenlight to people to air out, inflate, and disseminate their prejudices with impunity.
But then we actually read your “apology”:
“Ive also been told there are some people upset about some pictures taken of me with friends making goofy faces! Well, Im sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong and out of context!
In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity! I was simply making a goofy face. When did that become newsworthy? It seems someone is trying to make something out of nothing to me. If that would of been anyone else, it would of been overlooked! I definitely feel like the press is trying to make me out as the new ‘BAD GIRL’!”
I feel like now that Britney is back on top of her game again, they need someone to pick on! Lucky me! haha Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know what is on my heart. You guys know me and have been by my side every step of the way!
You guys know my heart and know the most important things to me are my friends, family, fans, and GOD! In NO WAY do I want to disappoint any of you! But, when I have made mistakes in the past, I feel like Ive owned up to them and apologized.
Anyway, I really wish everyone would stop focusing on my personal life and get back to focusing on what I love! Music and Acting! Hopefully, I will be touring again this fall! Yayy! =] It will be a nice change to be back out on the road again! xoxo Blessings.. Miley =)”
Never begin an apology with “I’m sorry IF.” That makes it a conditional and half-assed. That’s like saying, “I’m sorry if I offended you. You think I offended you, but I don’t, and I refuse to think about this further because I’m right and you’re wrong. Who wants ice cream?” If you apologize, you have to own it.
Also, never lie in an apology. “I was simply making a goofy face.” No, you weren’t. You were giving us the chink-eye, an internationally-recognized symbol of unwelcome, like the reverse pineapple. The guy who’s making a peace sign and covering his mouth behind your hirsute boyfriend knows it. And your token Asian friend, who’s the only person not giving us the chink-eye because, deep down, underneath the hair product and the “I’m-just-happy-to-be-here” attitude, he understands on an inchoate level that you’re really laughing at him, and not with him…he knows it, too.
Furthermore, don’t leave things unsaid in an apology. If you’re going to blame the context, you’re obliged to provide the context. But in what context is giving the chink-eye acceptable? Are you going to feign like the Spanish Basketball Team and try to pass it off as a “loving” gesture? Were you and your friends doing an impromptu staging of Miss Saigon (we’ll admit we love that musical for the helicopter rescue)? Or were you just high, as a lot of people are saying you were? Marijuana is always a lousy excuse for bad behavior. And don’t hide behind the word “context.” Context doesn’t make it right.
How do we know so much about apologizing, when we’re so loath to do it? Well, we’ve had a lot of practice. And also, we’re Asian, and, like we said before, we excel at things because we don’t like to fuck up, make mistakes, and get sent down a horrible shame spiral. If you really want to be like us, Miley, get your fingers out of your eyes, and start doing the same.
love means never having to say you’re sorry in a half-assed way,
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