We play a bizarre game in our culture right now — we go through a ritualized public stoning where someone is accused of something, or someone was offended by something, and the person accused must then apologize. They do this even if they did nothing wrong. The idea now is that intent doesn’t matter, only impact does. To me, this is bizarre and performative. It is simply a way for people to flex their power, just to show that they can force someone to apologize.
But there is, believe it or not, such a thing as a real apology. They do exist. If someone does something wrong and they understand that they did something wrong and they apologize for it, that matters. It is essential to any sane society, friendship, relationship, or marriage.
None of us are perfect. If you grow up around abuse, it’s even harder to control how you react in high-pressure situations when you feel triggered. We all make mistakes. Bad mistakes. It is necessary to live in a time when there is a path to forgiveness. We live in a time when people are simply whisked out into the cornfield, never to be seen or heard from again. THAT IS WRONG. It has always been wrong, and it will always be wrong.
But Will Smith will never be one of those people. He didn’t cross the kind of line that disappears you from public society. He’s already apologized twice by now: once on Oscar night, and again when he resigned from the Academy. But this apology comes from the heart. He also clears up the idea that Jada put him up to it, or forced him to do it. He takes full responsibility.