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Why Dr D feels an apology won't help Boris Johnson

Johnson isn't guilty of racism, but of spasms of incorrectitude.

ET Bureau|
Dec 05, 2019, 09.53 AM IST
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Johnson thought the comment he made was actually quite well put and entirely reasonable.
Johnson thought the comment he made was actually quite well put and entirely reasonable.
Dear Dr D,
I’m not a racist: I just don’t like black people. It’s like accusing someone of prejudice against poultry if they don’t prefer eating chicken. But you know how PC our world has become, and something I wrote two decades ago has now come back, forcing me to respond.

What I wrote was that seeing a bunch of black kids used to make me run away. And of course, I accept that this displayed a tiny fit of prejudice and to some might seem disgraceful and even disgusting.

I am guilty not of racism, but of spasms of incorrectitude, soon over, soon regretted. And if that is racial prejudice, then I am guilty. And so are you, baby. So are we all.

I thought this was actually quite well put and entirely reasonable. It’s not as if I repeated something that was said by the man who was in this space last week, Prince Andrew (who spoke to an Indianorigin person of the ‘n****r in the woodpile’).

Anyway, all this wouldn’t be a problem but I’m running for Prime Minister of the UK which votes in a few days. Else it’d be water off a duck’s back. My question to you is: Should I apologise? If so, what should I say?

- B Johnson,
Uxbridge and South Ruislip

Dear Mr Johnson,
You could offer an anodyne apology for misspeaking. It’s what most people in your position do. But that would also have the element of dishonesty. To make a real apology that is factually true, you could say, “I’m sorry… that I’m such an idiot.”.

(The author is one of the leading doctors in the country. He values his privacy, but not of his clients).

STATUTORY WARNING: This humour column is not for the weak-kneed or the thin-skinned.

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