That Idris Elba piece: an apology

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.

Emily


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