As recently as 2000, I was working for a company that hosted annual Halloween Costume Contests. That year the Caucasian CEO dressed up as an “Arab” and darkened his skin. A Caucasian administrative assistant dressed as Tina Turner and darkened her skin.
I was still quite new to the company and not in a position where I felt empowered to speak up. The CEO was also not the type of “gentleman” who took comments easily.
Surprising to say, only one other person I remember appeared to be discomfited by the display. It may have been possible there were more. But at that time, the status quo was not in our favor.
It was wrong back then. It is still wrong. It still happens. It is still hurtful. It is wrong to pretend that years distance victims from pain as they distance wrongdoers. Juust as it is wrong to ridicule people for feeling a way about someone based on their past actions.
Can someone learn? Yes, absolutely.
Can someone be truly and sincerely apologetic? Again, absolutely.
Can stupidity in youth ruin a person’s career? Absolutely.
Can a person recover and choose a new path? Absolutely.
But that person must be more than the status their career brought them.
Can a person be that?