If I were Governor Northam, or on his team, I would have stood up and said: the world was different in 1984; I was different in 1984. I did something for a joke that in this modern world, and with who I am in this world, I now know to have been wrong, racist, and horribly offensive. I am sorry and ashamed for what I did. Here is who I am today. Here is what I did to become who I am today. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, and that I lied about it, I am deeply ashamed of who I was back then.
…In many ways, I think we as a society [do not know*] – ] how to genuine apologize for having hurt someone. And so instead of having to be vulnerable enough to say we were wrong, or apologize for hurting someone’s feelings, we just avoid having difficult conversations.
….I was never overtly or intentionally racist, but I was absolutely blinded by my own privilege and the way that race plays a role in everyday life.
And then I grew up. [emphasis: Peanut Gallery]
…I learned a little about the civil war, and the civil rights movement, and then I made an effort to learn. I educated myself on the truth of the myths I had been taught. I started talking to others about what I learned. I started to say that the civil war was fought over the state’s rights to an economic system predicated on owning humans.
…I understand the role of privilege and accessibility in racism and how I have both benefited and played a part.
I am different from the teenager and young [person*] I was.
…I call others to do the same. To know what they believe, to know why they believe, but to be certain it is what they believe, and not what some person, some culture, some society, some church, has told them to believe.
I am sorry for some of the things I did. Truly. I am sorry enough that I made a genuine effort to change.
…Let us be more than our history, by first knowing what our history is. And then finding ways to show we have changed, and engage in the difficult work of being different.
* = [edited for word choice by the Peanut Gallery with the deliberate intent of reframing the statement]