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A Sincere Apology

A few weeks back, I published my blog post "Teachable Moments: Respecting Others Through Writing", in which I explained how I discovered it's disrespectful to describe People of Color with food descriptors (for example, to say someone's skin is the same tone as coffee or chocolate etc). In that post, I admitted that, in my ignorance, I had used these inappropriate descriptors in my stories without knowing how harmful they are. I stated that none of my currently published stories contain food words describing People of Color, and I pledged to never use them again.

Unfortunately, one slipped through the cracks...

I was over the moon when I got the news that my short story "All the Potential" had hit the presses in the latest issue of The Fifth Di.... It's a sci-fi story about Fatima, a social worker in Denver who goes on a most unusual home visit. Today, after weeks of waiting, I finally got my copy in the mail. I flipped to my story on page 47 and beamed with pride. A story that I had worked for years to flesh out was at long last out in the world.

I read the first page, reminicing how many times it had taken to get the wordsmithing right for the opening scene. When I got to the part where Fatima knocks on the door and Jorje answers...my own words slapped me right in the face.

Somehow, I had forgotten that I had described Jorje as having mocha-brown skin. And it was in print, where who knows how many people have seen it.

I was hit with a tangle of horror, shame, and self-directed anger. Weeks after I had decried describing People of Color with food words, after I had promised that none of my published works contain these damaging descriptors, my latest short story had hit the shelves and on the first page a food descriptor greets the reader. I felt like a hypocrite. I imagined the Septa from Game of Thrones shouting, "Shame! Shame!" in my ear.

Mind you, I wrote that line ages ago, before I knew any better. I meant no disrespect to People of Color. Even so, this still on me. I should have caught it sooner. I should have frantically emailed the publisher and tried to get the story corrected before it was printed. I should have never written it in the first place. I should have, I should have, I should have...

But I didn't. Now the story is out there, and that's all there is to it.

I want to offer my deepest apologies for this mishap. I feel truly terrible. Please do not take this mistake as a sign of my political or moral views. It is against my very being to intentionally do anything that damages the integrity of different races, religions, or any other group. I assure you this will never happen again. I am going to reach out to the editor and see if the story can be corrected before the next round of printing. If that proves impossible, then eventually when The Fifth Di... March 2022 ceases to print, I will attempt to republish "All the Potential" with the proper corrections.

I do hope you can look past this blunder and enjoy my story. I had a lot of fun writing it, and it should especially appeal to fans of physics. I just wish I had been more aware of my word choice.

Until next time, my friends.


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