An Apology to the People I Offended in My Open Letter to Ciara

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To those I offended,

There are many aspects of my earlier column for which I would like to apologize. I was accurately accused of using Ciara’s circumstance as a springboard to address issues that do not directly mirror her own. In media today, writers sometimes pounce on current events and use them to frame broader ideas. In my zeal for timeliness, I did not give the issues of sexism, single parenting, and domestic violence the care, context, or empathy such subjects deserve and require.

My contrition extends to my leaving room for any inference that I condone or encourage abused woman (or men) to remain in tormented entanglements or remain silent about them. Supporting victims of domestic violence has been my life’s work, and I am distraught to think that my words could be interpreted as blaming the victim or sympathizing with the abuser.

Because I’ve written often about the dynamics between my parents, I neglected to provide enough context for my position to make sense to those new to my work. I should have explained that after the shooting, my father never again abused my mom verbally or physically. This was incredibly lucky, and perhaps unusual. It was careless of me not to acknowledge the danger of violence that many people continue to face after leaving.

To the women, especially the single moms, who let me know how wrong I was, I ask your forgiveness. You have always had my respect and admiration, and I am terribly sorry this wasn’t expressed earlier.

Finally, I would like to say to Black Twitter, keep doing what you are doing. I appreciate your criticism and even your ridicule. I believe these things to be constructive for democracy and good for the soul. You gave me reason to check myself, and I am better for it.

Yolanda Young

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Yolanda Young is an attorney, activist, and columnist. Her work appears in The Guardian, NBCBLK, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Her childhood memoir On Our Way to Beautiful was published by Random House. The author provides cultural, legal and political analysis for TV Ones NewsOneNow and CNN.

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