Friday, March 06, 2009

The Apology

About what you'd expect. There is the promise to 'learn as much as I can from this mistake' and similar essentially meaningless gestures in the controversy that never should have been. Will this be the end?

I would like to apologize to the entire Dartmouth community for the offense and harm that I caused by writing the Generic Good Morning Message listserv on Tuesday morning. I was the anonymous GGMM intern cited in the D as "Lozar Theofilactidis," and the words were all mine.

I understand that the message I wrote was very hurtful and insensitive. I know that no apology can make up for the pain I've caused, but I hope that it can be a start. I also know that no matter what justification I can attempt to provide for my actions, I've directly harmed the College, and I'm sorry for that.

Read the remainder after the break

I hope you can all understand that my intent was never one of malice against the Asian community, but an extremely crass attempt at hyperbolic satire. I was initially trying to criticize what I perceived to be surprise among many at the naming of an Asian-American President-Elect, Dr. Kim. I then tried to broaden my attack to encompass all of the reactionary, xenophobic, neo-Patriotism that exists in our post 9/11 America. I tried to create a narrator that would be viewed as ignorant, and I hoped that by removing any semblance of subtlety, this voice would not be taken seriously. I realize now that somewhere in that transformation, the specific target of my satire was lost, and all that remained on the page were my extremely racist words.

That being said, I now know that I can't hide behind my "intent." Intent and execution are two entirely different things. I know I hurt many people personally, and damaged the reputation of the College publicly. I deeply regret my actions and the harm I have caused. I had no right to spread a message that alienated and belittled one ethic group, particularly one to which I do not belong.

I also realize that this reaction of surprise that I perceived among some students was not racist or xenophobic at all, but rather appropriate. Come July, we will have the first Asian-American Ivy League President, proudly breaking a tradition of largely Caucasian male Presidents. I know the entire College community is very proud of this fact.

The student body's response in defense of Dr. Kim, both privately and publicly, has been overwhelmingly positive. The D's article yesterday, "E-mail on Kim stirs controversy," clearly showed that my misinterpreted words do not represent Dartmouth's actual opinions of Dr. Kim's election. I know that my message seemed to act as a flagship of student opinion outside of Hanover, and I apologize for giving that a chance to happen.

I have started, along with the rest of the GGMM staff, to try to find ways that the whole community can learn from this experience. We are meeting with OPAL and the Pan-Asian Council to try to find a constructive strategy moving forward. Among the comedy groups at Dartmouth, I hope we can find a way to try to prevent offensive lines in satire from being crossed again, as they have been in the past. I hope that my incendiary message at least provoked some discussion about race and inclusively on campus, but I am ashamed that it required so much offense and hurt for this to happen.

I know I can never take back what I wrote. I am sorry if I hurt you personally, and I am sorry for affecting the College in such a negative way. If you would like to speak to me individually about this, I would love to do so. Perhaps at the beginning of next term, after finals, would be the best time. I promise you I am going to learn as much as I can from this mistake.

Sincerely,

Tommy Brothers
Class of 2011

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

To the outside world, this is another case of "Dartmouth being Dartmouth." Party on!

I-Spy said...

Dartmouth IS some people's only world.
Ask some of the alumni.

Ann said...

I think Tommy is sorry for the fact that this reflects badly on him than the fact that he "hurt" people with his racist statements. Of course, his defense is that it's satire. Please leave satire to the professionals. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Your apology shows no sincerity. You are probably smart enough to quickly admit your racist error and get away with it. Which is sad, which is normal in this coutry-which is even sadder, as this is exactly what caused so many problems now in this country, and the world with it.

Hope the half-blood black skinned second generation immigrant president Obama can help salvage americans from these problems and really show the correct ways of "oommunicating" with people in this country and the world.

akforpresident said...

More "oommunication" please!

Apprentice said...

Get your fill of this now. The real world is awaiting you.

Anonymous said...

some of you seem to want to condemn Mr. Brothers to burn in hell forever.

Tell me, just what part of his (to me, honest and truthful to a fault) apology strikes you as so insincere as to be unworthy of forgiveness?

Or is the concept of forgiveness somehow foreign to you? If so, then you're less 'evolved' and mature than Mr. Brothers.

htwolim said...

Have you ever think how many Americans are there in Korea? You’ll never figure it out. There are everywhere. They earn more than 2,000 – 3,000 dollars a month (this is the net income because the tax rate in Korea is very little) with a luxurious apartment offered for free. Many Americans who failed to find a job in their own country come to Korea for better opportunities.
I’m an Asian student, who will go back to my country after graduation. I will definitely get a job in my country, Korea because I know I will be paid much more than here and the tax much lower than here. The general level of salary is much higher than here in America.
I’m here to study English here. All I do here is spending money. I thought Americans will appreciate for that because I spend about U$30,000 for tuition, books, apartment rent a year here!