I am sorry.

CW/TW: racism, transphobia

I’m not sorry that I was caught. I’m sorry that I ever said such violent, racist, horrible things.

On 9/20, old Tweets of mine resurfaced in which I expressed racist sentiments, including one where I questioned the legality of a Mexican man working in my dorm building when I was a freshman in college.

These Tweets are not okay. I never should have posted them. I never should have thought these things.

Many say that youth isn’t an excuse. That’s true. I shouldn’t say that I was young and naive, even though I was.

The most recent Tweets came from 2014. That’s six years ago, and two years before I joined my agency. I didn’t stop posting offensive things because I became an intern or an agent. I stopped posting them because I learned how wrong my ideology was, and I learned how to change and grow and be better.

I grew up in a white town surrounded by people saying and doing racist things. For some, this is the life they never leave. This is how white supremacists are grown and fostered. I am lucky, because I went off to college, and I realized that the small world I grew up in is not reflective of the real world.

I learned on accident. I won’t say that I went to college trying to better myself. When I transferred to UConn, I was placed into a class on Feminism. I had no idea what Feminism was, really, when I started. I remember making naive comments, but my professor was patient and guided me to a better understanding of what Feminism means and why it is important. From there, I started taking more classes on Feminism because I realized my world view was small and I needed to grow it.

I also took a class on Arab culture and history. It was another class I was put into as a mid-year transfer, and it’s one I am grateful to have taken, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

My education was filled with courses on different cultures and people. I took sociology and psychology classes because I have a strong desire to learn and grow. Those are my two buzz words right now. I have learned and I have grown since those Tweets were posted.

Some have said that they also grew up in a white town and they never spread such hatred. Not everyone has the same lived experience. I did spew hateful, racist things. I shared inside jokes with friends that were insensitive and awful. I didn’t care about the people I was hurting. I am ashamed of that fact.

I am truly sorry that I hurt people with my words and actions. Reading those Tweets, I know that the girl who said such horrible things is not the same girl writing this apology now. I know that she is still a part of me, but she is a person I have worked hard over the last few years to change. I do not want to be that person anymore. I am not that person anymore.

I am going to continue to learn and grow. It will take a lot to prove that I care about people and that I do not maintain the ideologies I once expressed in such a vile manner. I do not expect, nor do I ask for, forgiveness. I ask for the chance to learn and grow and do better as a person.

Over the last few years, I have tried to show my love and support for the LGBT+ community, the BLM movement, and other groups. I know that my Tweets have hurt and disappointed the people who trusted me to amplify marginalized voices. I hope that I can continue to use my voice in the way I have for the last few years, and show that though I was racist in the past, I have changed since then, and I am going to continue to change for the future.

As for the questions about why I never addressed my past racism before being called out, my answer is that I didn’t remember. I know that is a cop out answer, but it is the truth. Reading those Tweets, I have no recollection of those horrible, racist things I felt and Tweeted. I know they exist because I see them, but I do not remember being the person who posted them. I never thought to clean my Twitter history because I didn’t remember having one. I have over 190k Tweets since I joined the website in 2009. If I were to read back to the beginning, I know I wouldn’t recognize that person, and I am proud of the fact that I have grown and changed so much in 11 years. I will continue to put in the work, as I have promised, to ensure I never regress back to the version of me willing to post vile things on a public forum, or even privately.

On the subject of transphobia, homophobia, and anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, I deeply regret the Tweet which used a transphobic slur. It was a quote from the movie The Social Network, but that does not excuse my posting it on my public Twitter account. I have been a proud supporter of the LGBT+ community and I am terribly sorry that my actions have hurt my friends and family in the community, as well as countless others.

There is also a Tweet in which I use the N-word. I should not have done that, and I have never used it aloud or in writing since. I know now in a way I didn’t when I was younger that this word should have never left my lips, and I am sorry to all who were hurt upon seeing this Tweet on my feed.

All I can say is that I will continue to try. I know it is not enough. I cannot change the past. All I can do is work on myself for the future.

Tia Mele

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