ANC commissioner apologizes for 'racist' remarks

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

An advisory neighborhood commissioner representing Adams Morgan on Monday apologized for remarks that some D.C. residents criticized as racially insensitive.

"I'm sick at the thought that my poorly stated attempt at humor might have hurt anyone," said Ted Guthrie, who represents ANC 1C03, in an email to a neighborhood listserv. "I apologize to anyone who denigrated either by the post or by its language."

Reached by telephone, Guthrie referred The Washington Examiner to his listserv message.

Guthrie, who won his seat last year, came under fire in the aftermath of a Saturday morning stabbing in Northwest Washington.

When a resident posted on an Adams Morgan listserv a report from a television station that said authorities were "looking for four black men," Guthrie replied, "Well... that is my block... fortunately, I'm not black...."

Those nine words drew swift condemnation.

"This kind of racist remark has no place in our community or our society," said Katherine Boettrich, a former ANC commissioner in Ward 1, who called for Guthrie to quit.

Another resident said Guthrie's views were "well outside of the mainstream" and that "his choice of words is poor at best, racist at worst."

But Guthrie said Monday he believed he was "responding to a snarky private email from a friend who regularly rides me about living in 'dangerous' Adams Morgan... Sarcastically, but inarticulately, I expressed the 'good news' that the police apparently weren't after me, despite my presence on the block."

He also said the outcry had been humbling.

"The diversity of Adams Morgan (and D.C. as a whole) is one of its greatest assets," Guthrie wrote. "Part of the benefit of that diversity is learning to see and hear things through the eyes and ears of others. That learning is not always a comfortable or easy process, but it certainly holds the promise of leading to a better understanding of others. And it is through understanding others that we better learn both humility and humanity."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner