Fox 21 news director Jason Vincent posted a comment about a "drunk, homeless, Native American" on his personal Facebook page Wednesday night.
By Christa Lawler
Jason Vincent of Fox 21 wrote on his personal page Wednesday night:
“Add drunk, homeless, Native American man to the list of animals that have wandered into my yard … Then he proceed (sic) to wave at me and give me the peace sign when he spotted me in the window. Wow …”
A screen grab of the status update was posted on the Fond du Lac People’s Forum. It was shared at least 60 times and had 136 comments by Thursday afternoon.
Vincent did not return phone calls to the News Tribune, but issued an apology that briefly appeared on Fox 21’s Facebook page. In it, he said he already had sent private messages to several people. A similar version was posted on the Fond du Lac People’s Forum.
“I have deleted the post and I certainly understand why it’s being taken out of context and viewed as offensive,” he wrote. “I would never insult the Native American community, especially since I myself am Native. I did not realize how poor the choice of words were I used until I looked back and saw what I had posted. I sincerely apologize for my words and to anyone offended by them.”
"Jason Vincent has apologized for making his statement on Facebook. Jason was on personal time and he will not be returning until Monday.
We here at KQDS Fox 21 TV do not condone this behavior. There will be a statement on the Fox 21 News tonight.
We are truly sorry this incident occurred."
Incidentally, I haven't seen any discussion of Vincent's claim that he's Native also. I hope he didn't mean he's 1/8 or 1/16 Native like the typical Indian wannabe.
For more on Indians and alcohol, see 29 Beers with Indian Labels and Off-Centered's Stereotypical Headdress Logo.
Anyway, Vincent offered the usual non-apology "apology."
So, how would someone offer an apology?
What's the proper way of offering an apology that is acceptable by all Natives?
I think a non-apology is one that places the blame on the victims: "I'm sorry you were offended".
Bill Maher did this type of thing when he was caught after he said that mentally disabled children weren't people and deserved to be treated like animals.
The real apologist places the blame only on him or her self. If I remember correctly, Don Imus was a real apologist blaming only himself after he called African-American girls "nappy-headed hos"
Which reminds me... Back on topic. Bill Maher equated millions of people with animals. He's still got his job, and makes a lot of money for it. Perhaps he is Vincent's idol.
A non-apology apology is qualified and, as DMarks said, shifts the blame to the listeners:
"I'm sorry if anyone was offended." [Implication: Most people weren't offended and you shouldn't be either. It's really your fault for being so sensitive.]
A real apology is direct and unqualified:
"I'm sorry I said something stupid and offensive."
Most people offer non-apology apologies these days. Whether it's for legal or PR reasons, they won't commit themselves to a sincere expression of fault.
This is especially common among the legions of bigoted conservatives. You know, the ones who have literally had to apologize for hundreds of racist, sexist, and homophobic incidents.
Meanwhile, Bill Maher offered a real apology in the decade-old incident DMarks keeps harping on:
In an interview, Mr. Maher expressed deep regret over his remarks. "I make no excuses," he said. "I was wrong and what I said was hurtful to people and I feel terrible about it."
Jason Vincent resigns:
Duluth TV news director resigns after disparaging Facebook post
Vincent eventually apologized sincerely and explained why he claimed he's Native (he's not):
Commentary: Former Fox 21 news director finds new job—and contrition
That made last Friday his last day, which he said is why, following station policies, he couldn’t talk before then.
And now that he can, he repeatedly says he’s sorry. A lot. The radio show (on which I was also a guest) went on for an hour and 50 minutes, much of it to explain to anyone unaware that it’s insulting to call any group of people “animals” and particularly to perpetuate the stereotype of “drunken Indians.”
The night before the broadcast, Vincent also met with Ricky DeFoe and other members of the American Indian and Human Rights commissions.
“Do you feel like you’re a victim?” Vincent recalled being asked. “No, I don’t think I’m a victim. If you think you are a victim, you’re not realizing what you did wrong. And I realize what I did wrong.”
DeFoe recalled it differently yesterday, saying Vincent at first implied he was. But, DeFoe allowed, “He journeyed from that moment.”
For my part, I said on the show that people of various backgrounds certainly have heard of sticks-and-stones and aren’t a bunch of crybabies. With my dual heritage, I’ve been called the n-word, the k-word and a lot more—and have no intention of letting them give me a bad day. But that in no way gives anyone license to hurl what are in fact instruments of hate and disrespect.
Vincent used the airtime to answer another question: Is he really Native?
“It’s on my dad’s side,” he said. “My grandfather’s grandfather came from a tribe in southern Minnesota”—later identifying it as Mdewakanton Sioux, though he’s not enrolled and hasn’t lived the experience.
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