How to Own Up to Your Racist, Bigoted Past Like an Adult

What a writer's confession can teach us about handling regret

May 11, 2016 9:00 am

Earlier today, Eater correspondent Nick Solares published a mea culpa confessing involvement in New York’s “right-wing skinhead scene” as a teenager in the 1980s.

From the statement:

“Recently, records of me from that time — photos, video, and text — surfaced on an online messageboard, and some members of that community are circulating them to the media. The material connects me to the hateful and poorly informed beliefs that I held as a teenager, but which I now find morally reprehensible and completely disavow … I am sorry to the people who were the target of my hateful speech then, and its equivalents and legacy today. I am sorry to those that I have hurt — particularly my colleagues at Eater and Vox Media — for putting you in a position to have to confront my shameful past. I’ve spent the past three decades trying to correct for my past beliefs and actions, and I will continue to do that.”

His involvement with said “scene” is a deplorable, heinous and immutable fact that his readers, colleagues, friends and consorts will now have to negotiate in present and future interactions with him.

But there is a silver lining here — or at least a lesson for any of us (read: most of us) who live with regrets about past actions, beliefs or behavior. Namely, that Solares accepted full responsibility for his actions. And, vitally, that he did so before these accusations were made public.

There was no finger-pointing. No denial. No eschewing of blame. Just an honest, if painful, “I fucked up, I know I fucked up, and I’m now working hard to undo that.”

Whether the “circulated” materials he alludes to in his confession will be published — and whether they are, perhaps, more damning than he lets on — remains to be seen. But by disclosing the information himself, owning up to it, and expressing what seems like genuine remorse, Solares has taken an important first step in repairing his reputation.

We hesitate to call it a brave thing to do, but it is certainly the right thing to do.

Here’s to second chances.

via Eater

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