How Not To Make An Apology: Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll “May Be Sorry”

Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll recently sent the above letter to Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, Florida’s only state-wide lesbian-and-gay-rights organization.

In it, Carroll purports to apologize for her infamous “Black women who look like me don’t engage in relationships like that” comment, Carroll’s response to having been caught in a “compromising position” with a female aide.

Smith accepts the apology; I don’t.

First, “I’m sorry IF I hurt you” is not an apology; neither is, “What I said MAY HAVE BEEN hurtful.” An apology is: “I’m sorry I hurt you.” “I’m sorry my words were hurtful.”

Carroll’s letter is the forced “I’m sorry” of a schoolyard bully, the apology of a batterer. She subtly shifts guilt onto the victim, onto those who took offense or were injured by an action or statement that was, Carroll implies, essentially inert.

Florida Lt. Governor, Jennifer Carroll. No lesbian has ever looked like her.

Notice, too, Carroll’s evasive use of language in the original comment and in her apology letter: “relationships LIKE THAT”; “my recent comment”; “a comment that hurts people’; “what I have said.”

She can’t bring herself to describe specifically what she did or to name with its proper name the subject of the discourse. How about a nice, clean, “I apologize for the stereotype of both black women and lesbians that I perpetuated when I suggested that a woman ‘who looked like me’ couldn’t possibly be a lesbian”?

And let’s examine the tortured grammar of the sentence, “The false charges that have been lodged against me are no excuse for what I have said that may have been hurtful to members of your organization and to other Floridians.”

The “false charges,” of course, are the suggestion that Carroll might be a lesbian or, at least, that she was engaged in a sexual relationship with a female aide. In other words, Carroll has been forced to apologize, but she still wants to remind you: “I’m not a dyke!”

When you’ve got to make sure your “I may be sorry” message is couched in terms of denying something that is not, in fact, an insult in the first place, you’re not sorry. You’re a homophobe.

A sorry homophobe.


Posted on 27 July 2012, in Queer ... Plus All Those Acronyms, The Republican Teahad, You Can Always Count on a Little Homophobia and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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