Unlearn Everything: Being Performative

Don’t apologize like a youtuber

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More stories from Sabrina Ftouhi

Unlearn Everything
September 19, 2023

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Don’t apologize like a youtuber

If you’ve ever been accused of being problematic, your reaction will tell others a lot about you.

Sometimes people are just genuinely ignorant but I’m not here to talk about them. This one is directed to all of the so-called “woke” people who think they are the cream of the non-problematic crop.

These people are the absolute olympic athletes in the sport that is micro-aggressions. They’re probably really skilled when it comes to taking selfies at a BLM protest.

Everyone has biases, it’s just about how far you’re willing to go to unlearn, and performative folks think putting BLM in their bio is enough of a hard day’s work.

For those unaware, a micro aggression is like a passive aggressive slight at someone. Saying things to BIPOC like “Where are you really from?” or telling a  Black person to tone it down. 

In white communities where these types of microaggressions are prevalent, I’ve noticed that these types of aggressors can’t ever confront or be confronted face to face. 

If you feel offended by a message a BIPOC has created or communicated, I would like to humbly remind you that your shoes are over there, lace them up. 

Say you have just been called out for doing or saying something racist, here are some tools.

Take accountability

We aren’t always aware of our actions, words or tendencies. When other people are addressing them, it’s pretty obvious that you did indeed do something that was offensive. 

Don’t even try to defend yourself. Just shut up and immediately own up to what was said or done. I understand that some people are blissfully unaware of their own microaggressive behaviors, so maybe you should use these situations as learning experiences.


I know it’s not easy feeling “attacked” but raising your voice and being defensive is only going to hurt you in the long run because as I said, you could really learn some things about yourself if you just listen.

This applies especially to white people due to the constant discomfort that is talking about race.

Take accountability, again:

This is especially important in the workplace. Whether you were just following the rules or not, a part of it is still your fault. Nobody is going to be excused that easily. 

Validate feelings:

Racial gaslighting is a thing. In any type of disagreement, you can’t expect to get anywhere by not acknowledging someone else’s feelings.

If “I’m sorry you feel that way” tends to come out of your mouth you ought to check your gaslighting habits in general. 

Now that I’ve given you the rundown I should leave you with one final word of reputation-saving advice.

Don’t apologize like a youtuber, celebrity or influencer. 

One of my favorite lines has been used by Jefree Starr, James Charles, Billie Eilish and many more. The legendary, the iconic “I’m not going to be portrayed as something I’m not.”

Those individuals were not portrayed as anything but guilty. 

Then there’s also people like Shane Dawson who need to cry in every single apology ever. In this decade we are past the manipulative tears.

If you’re ever in this situation, the best way to go about it is apologize like Jenna Marbles.

Ftouhi can be reached at [email protected].