Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Major Apology

"Anonymous" left a comment that definitely made me stop and think. I owe all who read my most recent post an apology. He/she made some great points. In writing this post, I meant absolutely no harm to African Americans or Caucasians.

Anonymous' comment: "As an African-American attending Brown University, I must say that I take great offense to the comments you have made. After finding out that you were the 'only white girl' in the group, you 'knew it was going to be an awesome day'? Am I supposed to understand that being around a group of all black students is a hoop-la for Caucasian individuals in Utah?"

My comment: In finding out that I was the only white girl (should have written Caucasian, I apologize), I knew I would need to work a little harder: 1) to impress - I was quite intimidated by the fact this group was coming from Brown University (an incredibly well-known and prestigious university), and I had the responsibility to show them around. Intimidated is a good word. 2) to try and temporarily break into your comradery. You were all there together; African Americans usually carry a very tight bond in their friendships, families and communities, and I wanted to make all of us feel at ease because we were going to be spending a few hours together. Is that fair to worry about? (Maybe I worry too much.)

To be completely honest, it was a new thing for me to be around a group of African American students. We don't get that much in Utah, unfortunately; Utah isn’t much of a melting pot. It was a great experience for me to do so. This was only my second year in college - I hadn't had much traveling/ living-outside-of-Utah experience yet. Since the time this experience took place, I have spent time living and working in Los Angeles; I lived in Germany for 18 months and spent time studying in Italy. I appreciate culture. Everyone is different. I respect that. But you can't blame a 19-year-old girl for wanting to fit in with a group different from her. The same story goes for every 19-year-old girl, in every culture. (I did glean a few fantastic fashion tips from two of those girls – they were immaculately dressed.)

Anonymous’ comment: "I especially disdain your comment 'Dat's coo. I gots dis.' Is that what people in Utah think African-Americans sound like? I am especially shocked that you are conducting tours for programs related to public relations. As a good rule of thumb, don't automatically categorize a young black man dancing as Usher, and refrain from talking about 'white girl dances' or any other racially based descriptors."

My comments: I made that comment in my head - it's what we hear portrayed on TV, in music, literature. Does that make it right? No, you're right, it doesn't. However, not everyone speaks like that. Same goes for the fact that not every American speaks with a Texas or New York accent. (Everyone knows some Texans speak with an accent, right? And New Yorkers? Or are my ears just a little off?)

You have every right to be shocked that I conducted a tour for a program related to public relations. You'll be happy to know it was my first and last. I was simply a volunteer - like all who were running that conference. I was a student at the time, in the PR program, and obviously had a lot to learn. Thank you for continuing my education today.

I stated that the young man “leaned back like Usher” because I didn’t know how else to describe his movement. I’ve seen Usher make that movement before, so I thought other people would understand what I was trying to visually describe for them. And, I use the term “white girl dance” very loosely – my friends and I have used that term for a long time at dance parties – by my definition, I would say that a white girl dance is literally, a white girl trying to dance hip hop, but failing badly. That is MY definition. But, I didn’t clarify that in my first post, so you have every right to choose to be offended at that. I apologize.

Anonymous’ comments: “Try to avoid racism in your work in PR. I would appreciate a redaction on your blog, along with an apology.”

My comment: I am not a racist person. This post was not meant in any way to racially profile anyone. Stereotypes have been set in our culture today, and I was simply playing off of them. I think a few of these things were also misunderstandings or misinterpretations - a lack of clarification on my part.

No redaction will appear, because what is posted on the internet, stays on the internet. It would still be available to the public even if I were to delete it. I will however, post this apology at the bottom of the post for future readers to reference.

My sincerest apologies, Anonymous. I appreciate your comments and truly will be much more aware of my wording and writing in the future.

Warmest regards,
AE Jones


  1. I think it is really good of you to make such a thorough, sincere apology. Communication is very complex and words can be misinterpreted. I respect you for admitting where people could have been confused with your intentions. Your blog is still beautiful and inspiring :)

  2. Maybe because I know you, I know you meant your post in a light, joking way and didn't mean to offend anyone. I graduated high school from an inner-city Washington DC public school that was about 70% African American and was called "that girl from Dawson's Creek" plenty of times! I figure if you aren't a racist, and the person knows you mean well, then it's not offensive. If you're saying it to be mean or nasty, then it's offensive. Personally, I don't think sharing a funny story required such mean comments.

  3. While I commend you on your wonderful and well-thought apology. I think it was unnecessary for "anonymous" to leave such comments. If you have strong convictions on a matter, don't hide behind the anonymous title. Ashley has the courage to come on here (gasp! Her very own website!) and state her opinions and her experiences. In my opinion, any hyper sensitive people of the world need only to read beyond one blog post to see that Ashley is not a racist person nor would she ever intentionally mean to offend someone. I echo Ashley's apology to the brave "anonymous" person. Come back and read some more of Ashley's hilarious and often quite meaningful posts, so you can see what she is really all about. You are awesome, Ashley!

  4. What Arian said.

    I love how people use the internet to stir up drama but refuse to take credit for what they say.

    I think this person was just looking for something to be upset about. I think people can be overly sensitive.

    Being a German-American I have learned to laugh along with the Hitler jokes I tend to get. I choose not to take offense.

    I think you handled yourself well, Ashley!

  5. I gotta say Ash, that you handled yourself beautifully on this one. I think however that offering an apology, is admitting that you did something intentionally racist. For those of us that you know you well, know that that would be impossible for someone of your character. You offered a wonderful explanation, but I don't believe an apology was necessary. That being said, I guess if you have followers on your blog, you are at some point bound to offend or rub someone the wrong way. I'm proud that you are woman enough to handle it! I myself will continue to follow, laugh my head off, and be completely stunned by your "AWESOMENESS"! love you sis, Wendy

  6. I definitely applaud you. Especially apologizing to someone who decides to then call you racist. Because of course, if you make a mistake and come off not how you intended in describing a story about your interactions with African Americans, then you are automatically racist.

    I think the apology definitely goes both ways.

  7. I don't think you were being racial or prejudice! I think you were explaining YOUR experience, your experience/opinion would not have changed if you were black and they were white. You were not judging them. And as for the "way they talk", it would be no different than you using an italian slang at an italian restaurant... or french slang in france, you were not mocking them or making fun of the, just relating. I think some people just expect that everyone is racial towards "black" people, and yes, some people are, but if you are going throw an assumption around you should be better prepared to back it up! You made a great, yet unnesccesary apology in my opinion!

  8. wow! Oh my goodness! I am a new follower and to see how you handled this makes me love you even more! Although- I agree with comments above. I do not think an apology like that was necessary.

    I also cannot believe that anonymous would not claim the words they wrote you.

    Choosing to get offended is their problem. I totally knew what you were speaking of. It is 2011. Does anonymous really think your readers think ALL African Americans behave in that manner? We are not idiots. You told the story about the group you were with. Not "all people not white" -ohhh- and WHO cares if you say "white" or "Caucasian". Oh goodness.

    I grew up in NC,UT and lived in NY as a nanny.I miss that now living here in Utah for the past year. You were not referring to imaginary people. You were sharing YOUR experience and if that's how they acted then it would be wrong as a writer to not fully share it for worry of "offending" someone.

    It creates such a fun piece to read when you really get a feel of how people acted in your memory. Keep on writing the way you have been! It makes for such fun reads and if Anonymous does not like it then they should go to a blog where the writing is exactly the way they want conforming to politically correct words and ideas.

    btw- I love your pretty new header. :) Keep up the great work here!

  9. I think you handled yourself beautifully...it takes a very strong and wise person to take critique, address is publicly, and humble themselves and appologize. Whether or not others, or yourself feels that an appology was uneccessary, at the end of the day, an individuals feelings were hurt, and to validate that is important. And you did that extremely well.

    very very well done my dear. I think all of us blog readers can learn a thing or two about how to handle conflict, and proper blogger etiquette through your post. thank you Ash. xx

  10. I didn't see anything wrong with your last post & heck, my fiance is bi-racial haha! Certain people are just a little too sensitive when it comes to the subject of race.

  11. Ditto to what your friend Arian said!!!

    And to your person who wasn't ballsy enough to not be anonymous, The " I got DIS and DAT" is HOW MOST people that are African American around in these parts where I live talk! Unfortunately the most that do talk, lack a good education or even value it for that matter. I am a teacher in a lower poverty area. They speak like this bec this is what is spoken at home. Just the way it is..

  12. Wow. When I started reading this post, my emotions went from nervous to annoyed. Like a few other people have said, how DARE someone comment that they took offense and call you racist, yet refuse to publicly say who they are. Obviously, this person was not mature enough to show their name/face. I don't think that you wrote anything wrong. I definitely didn't take you to be racist.

    I can honestly say that I KNEW that this would happen. I knew that someone was going to "take offense" to what you wrote, even though nothing was wrong with it. I do applaud you for owning up to this and apologizing to the anonymous coward...I mean person. It is nice of you to care about that person's feelings. I still love you. You are fabulous!

    PS: I totally got my prize today! Hooray!

  13. Just came across your blog! I'm sorry you had to deal with such a nasty comment from someone who wasn't even gutsy enough to leave their identity. It's YOUR blog, write what YOU want..if they choose to read it, it's their choice to get offended or not by the words. Don't feel bad, there was nothing wrong with your post :) You seem like such a sweetheart, don't let it get you down. You did however handle this quite beautifully and with way more integrity than a lot would!

  14. I think this post has definitely become a forum for releasing some frustrations over illogical social mores that are present in our culture right now. But, I can definitely understand how an African American who regularly gets stereotyped alongside their race for not valuing a good education in impoverished communities, then, yeah, as a college student at a prestigious university trying to overcome those groupings and succeed alongside a white race I would be slightly upset (maybe even offended). This supposed African American feels that type of reaction to a race is a stereotype that they personally have worked hard to undo for themselves.

    Yes, it is hiding to not put their name, but considering the obvious white base of followers of this blog it would definitely get me to take a minute and shore up some courage to put my name down on a potentially hostile post, and that's coming from someone who considers himself an evangelist.

    But, I'm just playing devil's advocate for Anonymous' sake. I would agree with most the points brought up about dealing with racism, expressing a personal opinion on the internet, let alone on someone else's personal blog. If I was Anonymous, only if I were truly contentious (or humble) would I be able to feel comfortable enough to continue reading and posting on this blog (no offense at all intended to you, Ash. You regularly write fabulous and uplifting posts and for representing yourself and the attitude on life that you express I think your apology was spot on. In fact I think this comment is mainly meant for you. I hope this all doesn't change the attitude you have, but knowing the Jones Family I bet you're pretty set).

  15. AMEN ARIAN! We all know Ashley loves everyone and was having a fun day, TOTALLY respecting her new friends...otherwise she wouldn't have shared such a fun story with us.
    We all just need to lighten up and not expect people are trying to hurt you. We're all in this together...black or white. We are family and Ashley of all peeps knows that and lives that.
    That's all.

  16. am I the only one who HATES anonymous posts? If your going to criticize my life, at least tell me your name. Sorry girlfriend, love you. YOU GOT DIS.


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