Berry: Tanner’s “Supposed Apology” Is “Even Funnier”

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January 16, 2009 5:28 a.m.

Mary Frances Berry, the target of a racist “joke” by then-DOJ voting-rights chief John Tanner, has responded to the insult, and to Tanner’s credulity-straining semi-apology.

Berry, the former chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights, spoke Wednesday at a legal conference held by the American Constituion Society, entitled: “The Road from Lincoln to Obama: The Constitution and the New Birth of Freedom.”

She began her remarks like this:

Welcome. Today I have to tell you that even though I am black, I am not bitter. (Scattered laughter).

Bitter some of the time, but not here.

And I would tell you that the guy who made the comments sent me an email last night, in a supposed apology, which is even funnier, but I won’t take up the time.

Here’s the video:

According to a Justice Department report released this week, Tanner told a colleague over email that he liked his coffee “Mary Frances Berry style — black and bitter.”

Seems like the right way for Berry to play it.

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