That was Richard Pryor’s prerogative, but not ours.

Well, it’s taken a minute but Cliff has formally apologized and this sounds like a real heartfelt apology.

I am writing this to formally apologize. I am truly contrite that my words caused pain or anyone to feel less than. I was wrong, it was stupid, and I should not have done it. We all commit harm, and when we do, it is only right to both apologize and work to make things better. I know I harmed people. I am sorry.

I have been asked over and over again about my opponent’s racist comment, which he has attributed to a Cheech and Chong joke. While that may be true, it is still unacceptable. I foolishly compared that to quoting Richard Pryor, trying to make the point that even quoting someone saying the wrong thing is unacceptable, and in making my example, I too said the unacceptable.

There are words that are so steeped in hate and racism, that they enflame our community when uttered; I am grateful to live somewhere that holds people accountable for what they say and do. While I did not wield that word as a weapon nor did I direct it at anyone, it does not remove the harm of saying the word. Nothing excuses what I said. There are people who have trusted me and for them, this is a betrayal.

I have spent the past decades of my life trying to facilitate conversations that include rather than exclude. I have used my position to try to give voice to those who often don’t get to talk about their lived experiences. However, that is not enough. I formally, and contritely apologize. I apologize to all those hurt by my words, my friends, my family, the community, and my students. My past actions to help People of Color do not absolve me for the harm I committed. I still said that word. It is still not okay.

As I continue to reflect on how I have harmed people by saying that word, I will work towards a more just society. I will not stop activism or working to dismantle racism, and I will continue to interrogate how racist ideology has worked its way into my own mind. I will continue to work to make things better. I will uphold my promise to make sure all voices are heard and that there will be a place at the table for everyone, especially People of Color.

I am deeply grateful to those people in my life who have held me accountable and shared their personal experiences and knowledge about racism. Thank you to the community for also holding me accountable.

Cliff Berkowitz

We would like to point out that Editor Marc Valles and Publisher/General Manager John Richmond were pre-disposed to endorse Rex anyway. Cliff’s screw up just gave them cover. 

So, Rex, we’re not holding our breath waiting for you to formally apologize for your many cases of bullying and racist, bigoted remarks, cause we know that’s who you are!

We still support Cliff!

One thought on “That was Richard Pryor’s prerogative, but not ours.

  1. Have any minorities weighed-in?

    Bohn perpetuated racism by publicly repeating a racist joke.

    Berkowitz requested his comment not be made public.

    There’s a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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