Idris pound my yams

SocietyJanuary 20, 2017

That Idris Elba piece: an apology

Idris pound my yams

Earlier this week we published a post by Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes detailing her sexual attraction for actor Idris Elba. Following a critical response published today on The Pantograph Punch, Emily made the decision to take her post down. She explains her decision here.

There are a lot of lessons I try to teach my children – some of those are that even though we don’t intend to hurt others we do, even though we don’t think we’re doing harm, sometimes we are. I also want them to know we never stop learning. That we make mistakes and we do things that don’t feel like us. That we don’t want to be us. I try to teach them that we need to work on being better always.

I made a mistake. I recognise and acknowledge and am grateful for Lana Lopesi’s post.

Please read Lana’s post in full – but I’d like to share one part:

“There was no consideration for what it means to sexualise a black body through a white gaze. A body which is by default subjugated to thousands of years of oppression – that’s incomprehensible to those of us who are not within that body.”

I did not consider this. And I apologise. I did not understand and I did not recognise this. I am grateful that I have been given the chance to learn and to unlearn and to be better. But I have hurt others by reinforcing my privilege and power as a white woman.

I did not recognise the privilege I hold as a white woman and did not consider the harm I would be doing in talking about a person of colour the way I did.

I have said many times I have no time for men who sexualise and objectify women. And I don’t. I failed to recognise that I was doing that here as a white woman objectifying a person of colour. I apologise again, and am grateful for the opportunity to learn.

We all fuck up sometimes, I fuck up a lot. But I believe that when it happens you have a choice. I choose to learn. To apologise because I am genuinely sorry. To accept in grace that people are putting time and effort into teaching me. People don’t have to teach others, people of colour spend a huge amount of time having to educate others. I’m grateful that Lana and others took the time to educate me when they didn’t have to.

It is hard, I feel terrible – I feel so sad that I have done this, guilty, embarrassed, ashamed, and disappointed in myself but my individual feelings about this shouldn’t take precedence over the fact that many of us can learn something here.

I will always be learning.

Arohanui friends.


Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

Get The Spinoff
in your inbox