Usually, in the aftermath of a “Living While Black” incident, the pale perpetrator is so engulfed in a fury of backlash that they are almost forced to speak out. (S)he typically defends the implicitly biased actions but also denies any association with the racism that compelled them to use fear tactics like calling the police, which they are aware could pose harmful or even deadly consequences.
One YouTube developer who was the star of a recent viral video is no exception.
Christopher Cukor rose to viral infamy after a video showed him confronting Wesly Michel, who was waiting outside of a San Francisco apartment building — in public — for his friend to come downstairs. The white man, who said he is a resident in the building, felt so threatened that he called the police. The equally shameful and shameless display of irrational fear was recorded on video as the man’s young son, near tears, begged his father not to call the police.
Cukor ended his call when Michel’s friend arrived at the apartment and police appeared to not have responded to the scene. But it was too late. It did not take long for Cukor to be identified and for the fiery criticism to ensue. So he decided to release a lackluster and tone-deaf apology on Medium where he tried to explain the events of that fateful day.
“I noticed Wesly Michel caught the door and entered the building without using the callbox,” Cukor wrote. “I did what came naturally and asked where he was going. I want to be clear on this point, this is something I do regularly, regardless of who the other person is.”
In addition to his self-proclaimed color blindness, Cukor also tried to excuse his actions by talking about a painful past that had nothing to do with Michel. He described how his father was killed when he tried to confront a trespasser alone. Yet he acknowledged knowing how Black people have been terrorized.
“I now realize that Wesly was reacting based on his unique history as well. Unfortunately there is a terrible pattern of people calling the authorities regarding people of color for no other reason than their race. The last thing I ever intended was to echo that history — and I’m sorry my actions caused Wesly to feel unfairly targeted due to his race,” Cukor wrote.
To end his bad excuse of an apology, Cukor hoped this incident would not only be a teaching moment for himself, but for Michel too…what?
“I believe people are good at heart. It’s our past experiences and fears that cloud even our best intentions.” he said. “I hope Wesly will read this and understand my history as I have tried to understand his.”