The Nonapology Guide: Black-Woman Edition

Sabrina Claudio
Sabrina Claudio
Photo: Getty Images

Since Cheeto Grease the Tyrant fumblingly assumed office thanks to the Assorted Colonizer Coalition of America at the conclusion of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, something interesting has happened:

Occurrences of black women prospering have shot through the roof.

I mean, one doesn’t have to look too far for examples of this, especially this year. With chosen champions like Lena Waithe, Tiffany Haddish, basically the entire female cast of both Black Panther and Black Lightning, and—perennially—King Bey herself, it is very clear that Bast has chosen to smile upon us, especially during this turbulent time.


Despite this, there are some who have foolishly chosen to challenge us—I’m talking “Oberyn foolishly not double-tapping the Mountain in his infamously fatal trial-by-combat match” foolish—in these turbulent times. This has mainly been in the form of every Karen who has weaponized potato salad with raisins, every Taylor who has attempted to start a race war with acoustic covers of black musical classics called “September,” and basically every white woman in general who has had anything bad to say about Beyoncé and who is currently firing up her keyboard for a hot take on her Coachella performance. I assume the title would go something like this:

“Beyoncé Ruins ‘Coachella Culture’: How Her Performance Promoted Exclusivity and RACISM in a Musical Event of ‘Togetherness’ That Is Exemplified by Warm, Equal Opportunity Culture-Vulturing and Native American Headdresses ”

... And yes, I have already trademarked this title.

You almost had it!
Gif: Giphy (Giphy)

Of course, white women aren’t the only ones who have been trying it these past two years—with Rose McGowan being one of last year’s biggest examples. Nonblack women (of color) have been a part of these attempts, too.

I’m basically counting every time M.I.A. has so much as breathed, and, you know, every nonblack female celebrity who wanted to cut our Black Panther celebrations by calling for “their own version” of Black Panther (all shade intended).


But most recently, this came in the form of Sabrina Claudio.

Long story short, Claudio’s attempts to come for black women are actually past tense—if we can call creating dummy social media accounts for the sole purpose of insulting black women with all kinds of niggas with the hard “er” like an especially special episode of Catfish “past tense.”


But since black women are good at finding the tea on a skeleton’s skeleton, her foolish misogynoir against us was dragged into the present—even as Claudio attempted to capitalize on being an “exotic” newcomer in a musical genre historically dominated by black women.

Whew. Ain’t that about a bitch?

Now, of course, like with every previous offense that has been attempted against black women in these last two years, this one, too, was accompanied by a weak-sauce applesauce apology.


Or, rather ... nonapology.

The nonapology should not be confused with the very similar “Racist Apology Guide” I came up with more than two years ago when Frank Grillo decided to show the world his yansh—and torpedo what minuscule career he had left.



The art of the nonapology is not very easy to master. But because I am a benevolent bard, I will clue you into the secrets of “the Nonapology Guide” and how the non-sis Sabrina Claudio (mostly) followed them all to a T.


Starting with this one:

1. You must be a nonblack person of color/white person who doesn’t give a shit about black women but still wants our money.

Absolutely nonnegotiable.
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This ... is nonnegotiable. And also crucial to the success of the nonapology. This is the case because most offenses that are anti-black and particularly anti-black women get glossed over more if you are either melanin-deficient (a colonizer) or melanin-adjacent (a person of color or a “POC,” because you “don’t know better” and are “still learning”).

The latter is the most useful in this case because any black woman who still “attacks” you over your nonapology will look extra “angry” because we are all women of [assorted] colors and should stick together no matter what.


Even when you refer to us by historically racially charged slurs.

2. Issue multiple apologies that mean nothing whatsoever.

No. 2 is all about quantity versus quality.

You always wanna apologize multiple times. This is mainly so the white and nonblack part of your base has the leverage to say, “What more do you people want?! They apologized ‘multiple times’” to your black detractors.

Apologize again. One more time. And another! 
Gif: GIF Image Net

And when you do apologize—multiple times, mind you—you want to absolutely be as vague as possible when you do.


Both of Claudio’s apologies follow this rule closely—but particularly her first one:


Everything about it is as vague as Shereé Whitfield’s bizarre explanation of her Spring-September jogger fashion line that doesn’t exist on the latest reunion of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but Claudio’s usage of “insensitive words” instead of “racial slurs,” “past ignorance” instead of blatant misogynoir, and “some of the things you are seeing are true while others aren’t” as a way to kinda, sorta admit that she did something wrong but not really are especially A1.

Accountability is not your friend here. Accountability is not where it’s at. It’s not lit. In fact, it’s anti-lit. Avoid that at all costs.


3. Use “I” 27,240,205,030,283 times.

When apologizing to a demographic that you hurt, but particularly black women, you must center yourself in your apology.

It’s all about you, girl!
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It does not matter that you are attempting to apologize to an entire demographic that is not you. You need to make the apology entirely about you. Use “I” until you can no longer see straight. Use “I” with the vigor and annoyance of all the seagulls in Finding Nemo and their “Mine, Mine, Mine.” Also, stress how much you are hurt by your actions and how it is so unlike you. And how “hard it is” for you.


Like Taylor, you don’t really want to be part of this narrative, but since you are, remember this:

You are the true victim, beloved. And the hate you are getting is totally unwarranted and not at all your fault.


Do this by pointing out how many (other) mistakes you made in your life. Point out that they happened when you were young and lost, and didn’t know who you were as an individual. Point out that they were mistakes that have no excuse. Point out that they were mistakes that happened in another time. Point out that time doesn’t matter. That time is an illusion. A fallacy. A farce. A construct.

Just like this apology.

That’s the spirit!
Gif: Mean Girls (Film) (GIF Image Net)

4. Don’t apologize to black women at all. Apologize to “women.”

Similar to No. 2, the nonapology only works if you are as nonspecific as possible about exactly whom you hurt. So it does not matter if you used an ultraspecific slur that is ultraspecific to black people that you ultraspecifically used to display your disdain for black women.


I mean, that ultraspecific slur and your other ultraspecific insults could totally apply to anyone else, amirite?

If you believe it hard enough, then it must be true.
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Who needs specificity? What is that?! That’s for losers. Plebeians, even! You totally don’t need to specify who you hurt and how you plan to rectify it in an apology at all. That is so 2000 and late. Who needs accountability or ownership?! Fuck it! You were insensitive to women. Just women. No ... all women (which is more commonly thought of as just white women). Yes, all women. All women matter (in this apology that’s supposed to be to black women)!

5. Actually ... go big or go home. You need to apologize instead ... to women ... of color.

Now, incidentally ... Claudio’s nonapology suspiciously skips this rule, but I’m willing to bet her nonapology would have landed way better with the general public had she done this.


Think about it this way. Specificity is the enemy of the nonapology—of course. Yet, you still want to appear like you do give a damn (keep in mind that you don’t) about the presumed, intended audience of this apology, right?

You also want to make sure you appear “woke” and as “inclusive” and “progressive” as possible. And how are you to do that if you just apologize to “all women”?


Well, apologizing to women of color or even people of color (“POC/WOC”) is for you! This way, there’s no need for full specificity or accountability when you can get away with doing the bare minimum.

So easy!
Gif: The Walking Dead (Giphy)

Indeed, why specify that you insulted black women when you can be progressively vague and simultaneously detached by mentioning how you hurt “POC” or “WOC”? Why not be super vague about the specific anti-black nature of your racism?

Yeah, don’t do that. And if you must ... definitely mention purple, pink, blue and green women first. And how you are totally not racist. Especially not to them.


6. When all else fails ... blame it on weed (or some other controlled substance).

The Rose McGowan reference from earlier was not by accident, my friend. After committing one of 2017’s biggest fuck-ups toward black women (only to return this year for round 2 versus trans folx everywhere), McGowan proved that she is a master of vague and confusing nonapologies. And if you wanna be a pro just like her, you can borrow one supersecret tip when writing yours:

You could blame it on your youth or ... blame it on a J, like Rose.


It doesn’t matter that drugs and alcohol are frequent scapegoats for hidden racists who just don’t know how to hold it in when their inhibitions go ghost faster than Danny Phantom.

Nor does it matter that weed usually only gives you the munchies and specifically doesn’t make you do virulently anti-black things like make second Twitter accounts to troll black women.


Blame it on that J, gurl.

Blame it like your life depends on it. Blame it like your career depends on it. Blame it like you’re Jamie Foxx in a club in 2008 in a totally different scenario that was totally not racist, but good inspiration for this nonapology anyway.

Blame it!
Gif: Tenor

Are you writing this down? I hope you are writing this down, because (in my best DJ Khaled voice) these six things are major keys when it comes to making your nonapology a sound one!


And the best part is that you can rinse it, repeat it, tweak it, bop it, twist it, tag it, flip it and reverse it for the next marginalized group that you inevitably slander like the trash bag you are.

But use it wisely, child. Because if it’s misused, then you might actually have to real-life apologize, like an adult, to black women. In your big age.


And where’s the fun in that when you can use this nonapology and gaslight everyone?

Because it’s all about fun, amirite?
Gif: Giphy

Happy nonapologizing!

Nigerian. Care-Free Black Girl. Crystal Gem. Comic Book Blerd. Writer/Director. Snark Mage. Coiner of Chet™. Lena Dunham's Nemesis. Petty Word Witch for Sublime Zoo.


I’m talking “Oberyn foolishly not double-tapping the Mountain in his infamously fatal trial-by-combat match” foolish

Ah, so number three of the ‘classic blunders’ series - Number two being “Never start a land war in Asia,” and the Number One being “To Never Go Against a Sicilian When Death Is On the Line...”