Should I Have Apologized?
I deleted my tweet, apologized for its "inartful" phrasing, and sent a longer apology to the Georgetown faculty. Should I have said more? Less?
I launched this newsletter in June after Substack approached me and suggested that I take advantage of the moment both to shine a light on the rot in academia and use my unique voice to expound on public affairs. I’ve since been doing both of those things, both in serializing my cancellation experience and posting on all sorts of other topics. But one aspect of the Shapiro’s Gavel origin story hasn’t yet been covered—and I get asked about it regularly.
Looking back on my Georgetown affair, should I have apologized? The question gets asked in terms of both type I and type II errors, meaning that, would anything have changed (in a positive way for me) had I either refrained from apologizing altogether or been more apologetic?
As I described in my very first post, I took down my “lesser black woman” tweet the morning after, saying that what I wrote was “inartful” and that I “regret my poor choice of words, which undermine my message that no one should be discriminated against for his or her gender or skin color.” Later that day—this is still day 1 of the “four days of hell”—I sent a statement to Dean Treanor and the Georgetown community on the faculty listserv (which appears below the paywall and which I summarized in my zoom with the dean three days later), again expressing regret for my communication failure. But should I not even have done that, because it showed weakness and fed the online mob? Or should I have done more, with greater contrition, perhaps responding directly to students who had expressed how hurt they were by my words?
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