The Apology Tour


GERONIMO! and other blunders.

NEWSONE for black America suggest that “The Osama/Obama error is an international phenomenon.”  NEWSONE for black America dismiss ¹Michael Erard‘s reasonings, “That (it) is an anticipation error, where there is a string of sounds and the person basically jumps ahead in the string and selects one sound too soon and inserts it.”

I, for one, am guilty of the same gaffe numerous times after the demise of USAMA/OSAMA.  But to suggest that it I am staining the victory of our first black president with a messy slip of my tongue because Obama is black with a Muslim name is disparaging and presumptuous. I find this accusation-on behalf of myself-as offensive and an unacceptable assumption.

To assume something is to-make an ass out of u and me.

The names Obama and Osama are so closely connected that it is an honest mistake and nothing more.  Stop trying to make something from nothing.  Yes, I do agree, there are some racist and bigots in this country.

But you don’t help your cause when you lump every white person into one group of racial intolerance. After a while, people will turn a deaf ear to all the charges of racism, bigotry, and prejudices that are being thrown at them. It gets tiring and leaves little room for empathy.

¹Michael Erard writes about language, mostly. He is the author of the forthcoming Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Free Press, 2012) and of Um…: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean (Pantheon, 2007). His work has been published the New York Times, Science, Wired, The Atlantic, and the New Scientist. He is a contributing writer for the online magazine Design Observer.


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