O black neighbor, against whom I have sinned by virtue of my skin, I am heartily sorry for having so offended thee. I shall take a knee before you, so that you may feel less devastated and threatened and unsafe in my presence.
I apologize profusely for fair trade chai lattes and TED Talks, for Priuses and veganism. Please accept my penitence for yoga pants and Greenpeace lapels, asparagus water and kombucha, jazz music and avocado sushi, my Malcolm Gladwell book collection and the “Live Laugh Love” wall decor in my living room.
I am sorry for moving out of your neighborhood, which is the cardinal sin known as “white flight.” I am sorry for moving into your neighborhood, which is the equally cardinal sin known as gentrification. I am sorry.
I am, above all else, sorry that my ancestors, who came here from Italy after the First World War, enslaved your ancestors.
Oh, what’s that? You immigrated from Nigeria in 2009?
You must be angry. I bet you are. The Man has kept you down for so long. Riots are the voice of the unheard, don’t you know? If you didn’t have CNN, Disney, and Google in your corner, you’d have nobody fighting for you at all.
So I pledge myself, with firmest resolve, to do penance. I shall rid the world of problems on your behalf. I will share my benevolent thoughts on Facebook and use all the right hashtags. #whitesilenceisviolence. I will tweet sarcastically at Donald Trump whenever he posts anything — my friends think I’m hilarious. I will even donate $50 each month to the ACLU, such is my loyalty to your cause.
I will, of course, do all of this from the comfort of my affluent neighborhood. My family needs to be here, you see. It’s where all the good schools are.
I lie awake at night thinking about all the ways in which I have wronged you. I need everyone to know this.
Why are you calling the police?