Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

A Boss Apologizes After a Racist Remark

with 5 comments

Trevor Matthews, a boss at Standard Life, one of Britain’s most respected financial institutions, used the term “nigger in a woodpile” during a presentation  about changes to the companies pension plan. Their was a loud gasp after this statement and then extreme silence. Instead of apologizing or somewhat recognizing his error this man went on with his speech seemingly unaffected. However, after an official complaint from a white man with a black spouse, Matthews sent out an email to the staff apologizing for what he had said. One part of the apology included the words “As soon as the words came from my lips, I realised that I had made a serious mistake by using a colloquialism that is not in any way acceptable today”, but if thats true why did he not say sorry or confront the audience on why he said what he said. Instead he just kept on going with his speech unhindered. I’m pretty sure he’s apologizing only on behalf of the company because he only reacted to what he said after there was a formal complaint to the company about his speech.


Written by derekjwood

October 2, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I think it is not right that it took the boss of the company that long to respond. If he really knew how offensive his comment was he wouldn’t have said it in the first place or he would have apologized right away.


    October 3, 2009 at 3:08 am

  2. I agree. I feel like these types of apologies – ones made by people in positions of power or fame – are rarely heartfelt. It’s unfortunate that they are usually accepted, since that pretty much tells everyone that you can fake sincerity and get away with hurting others without facing any true consequences.


    October 3, 2009 at 4:01 am

  3. What this man said was totally unacceptable. If that just came flying out of his mouth, he obviously uses the expression on a regular basis. It’s a shame that it took someone to bring it to him, for him to apologize. This is really sad, but I would bet this happens a lot more than people know especially since most of the people in these kind of high powered CEO-type positions are white.


    October 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  4. That was just plain ridiculous. Its really hard for me to believe apologies from people like this after there has been a complaint or it gets leaked out to the media. I really don’t know how authentic the apology is. What bothers me about this is that he sent out an email to apologize. That is very impersonal. I didn’t email you my time at the meeting when you made that disrespectful statement so don’t email me my apologize.


    October 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm

  5. I bet he is the type of guy that says racial remarks in front of the water cooler thinking it doesn’t offend anyone. In this case he forgot that he is in front of an audience wasn’t careful with his words. He only gave an apology because he was under pressure from his corporation and not because of was sincerely regretful. Although I am sure he learn his lesson. Leave the racial remarks at home. Just kidding!


    October 4, 2009 at 12:26 am

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