After reading articles and listening to interviews given by Big Brother 15 houseguests Andy, Spencer, GinaMarie Amanda and Aaryn, I have come to the realization that these people have no earthly idea how to give sincere apologies. I’ve decided to help them out by giving them some tips.
Big Brother 15 Apology Tour: Apologizing 101
A sincere apology involves acknowledgment of one’s actions without deflection onto other things or people.
“If I said anything to offend you…”
“My words were taken out of context…”
“If I was portrayed as…”
The above INSTANTLY kills any apology you are attempting to make. There is no ownership in those words.
“If” I offended people? There is no “if,” and, OR but about that. You DID offend people! Saying, “If I offended you,” just ends up being more offensive. Furthermore, you are making the people you are apologizing to feel as if it is THEIR fault that they are offended in the first place. It’s as if you are saying, “Well, IF you would have taken my comments in the context that I meant them in, you wouldn’t be offended. But… since you didn’t do that, and since you are now offended… I’m sorry.” Uh, no, hunty. JUST NO…
The word “but” also lessens the effect of an apology.
I’m sorry that I made fun of Elissa’s son, BUT, being in the house stressed me out!
I’m sorry that I said that Candice’s mother didn’t want her, BUT, it was in the heat of the moment and I was angry at the time.
Those aren’t apologies. Those are excuses for your poor behavior. In actuality, saying those things was unacceptable, regardless of why you said them. The fact is that people aren’t interested in your excuses. They want to know that you actually get why they are upset. The fact that you DON’T get it only makes them angrier. Your lack of ability to empathize with their outrage is not really going to get you very far, so you need to make the effort to put yourself in the fans’ shoes. Watch the video compilations on YouTube. If you still can’t understand why the fans found this season so infuriating, then you should probably keep that to yourself and disengage from social media altogether. (Also, prepare yourself for a difficult road ahead because people don’t enjoy long, fulfilling relationships with sociopaths.)
Consider that prior to this season, there were FOURTEEN other seasons of Big Brother USA. Saying that people can’t relate because they weren’t in the house isn’t going to fly when there are FOURTEEN other seasons of live feeds to fall back on. If you ACTUALLY want the Big Brother community to ACTUALLY buy that you are sincere in your apology, you will have to admit that being in that house could not have possibly had that big of an impact on your personality. OWN YOUR BEHAVIOR! ADMIT that you were/are a dick, a bitch, and/or a jerk and that there is no excuse for the things that you said.
If you manage to at least do SOME of the above, maybe, just maybe, people will start to believe that you are sincerely apologetic. If you can’t do that, then there should not be any reasonable expectation of forgiveness, nor should you expect your “apology” to be accepted. People cannot accept what was never really given.
But, wait… There’s more!
Edited to add excerpt from my latest blog post:
An apology is more than saying, “I’m sorry.” None of the houseguests have acknowledged that they understand why people view them as bigots. They are, “Sorry IF,” they offended, but they aren’t “Sorry THAT,” they offended. In other words, they are sorry that we took what they said offensively, not that they were offensive. The apology also can’t be “narcissistically-tinged.” I don’t want to hear GM go on and on about how she is a positive, fun-loving person with a big heart because her own words have already greatly contradicted that. At that point, it’s time for me to stop listening because I know whatever follows is also going to be bullshit.
An apology that would showcase that GM understands the public’s outrage would look something like this:
“During my time in the Big Brother house, I ignorantly said many racially insensitive things. In my ignorance, I did not think about how my words would impact the millions of people who tune in to watch Big Brother each summer, nor did I consider the impact it would have on my family and friends outside of the house, nor the Big Brother family, at large. I realize, now, that when I called Candice a crackbaby (because she’s biracial) and said that her mother didn’t love her, those words did not only hurt Candice and her family, but they also hurt anyone who has ever made the heart wrenching decision to place a child up for adoption and every child who has been placed for adoption. Especially minority children. Those comments did not have anything to do with playing the game of Big Brother, and for that, I would like to offer my heartfelt apologies to Candice, her family and anyone else upset by what I said. Furthermore, my use of the ‘N’ word is not acceptable under any circumstances. I am sorry that my behavior played such a big part in making Big Brother 15 an unpleasant experience for many of my fellow houseguests, as well as Big Brother viewers. I hope that in time I can make up for my behavior and earn back the respect that I lost by my own actions. Thank you for hearing me out.”
Of course, she would have to GM-ize the above, but you get the gist! LOL.
The point is that none of them have actually apologized. They are more concerned with fighting off the label of “racist” than acknowledging that they understand why people believe that they are racist. Then again, it’s probably hard to acknowledge something that you honestly can’t comprehend. I’m actually kind of surprised that Aaryn’s PR people didn’t have something like the above prepared for Aaryn right when she got out of the house. They clearly aren’t of the Olivia Pope caliber! #justsaying
In the end, I hope that all of “The Offenders” have people in their lives who will give it to them straight. I am not very hopeful of that because this kind of ignorance tends to be bred at home and close minded people tend not to have close friends from backgrounds that differ from theirs. I don’t think, for instance, that GM will have anyone who will sit her down and explain to her why calling (black) people “niggers” is wrong and how hurtful it is.
But still… Here’s to hope….