When I decided to write a mainstream historical fiction book about Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Patsy, it was in part, because of my continued frustration with people in our country who refuse to believe, even with DNA evidence, that Thomas Jefferson initiated sex with his slave, Sally Hemings, most probably when she was fifteen.
It has been my ambition, from start to finish with this project, to shed light on the devastation of slavery–a devastation that became more and more evident as we researched. And to make clear that the scars of that devastation are still evident today in our politics and our culture.
Racial justice is something that I feel deeply about. Something that I think deeply about.
But apparently not deeply enough.
Because after editing this book, I made a joke–which I won’t repeat in the interest of not offering new offense–thinking I was mocking our culture’s casual acceptance of women’s lack of consent in sexual circumstances.
Instead, I hurt people and sent a message that goes against everything that I’m about. It undercut what I’m trying to accomplish with my work. And with my life.
I’m a writer; it’s my job to pay attention to what my words are actually communicating. And I’m bitterly disappointed in myself for communicating in any way that would trivialize the very matters I feel most passionately about.
To that end, the post has been removed. I would like to extend my heartfelt apology. And I thank those of you who made me take a hard look at this.
I was wrong.
It will not happen again.