Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I said something racist

I called someone the N-word as a joke and now I'm in serious trouble I don't know what to do because I'm not a racist

Ask Sam



Some names and phrases can be very offensive. Using those words in a joke doesn’t make them less offensive – and sometimes can make things worse. Other people make judgements about us based on the things we say and do, so it’s important that the way you act reflects who you really are.

Racism is where a person or group of people are treated badly or differently because of their colour, ethnicity, nationality or race. Treating people differently or unfairly based on race is a type of discrimination and can sometimes be illegal.

Everyone makes mistakes and says things they wouldn’t normally say. Even if you’ve behaved in a way you feel ashamed of, you can still learn from this. It may be difficult to face the consequences so remind yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes and be honest about what you did.

It’s important to think about what made you say this word at the time. Try to think back to just before you said it to understand what happened. It could be that you really wanted your friends to laugh. Or, that you were copying something that you’d heard someone else say without thinking about how it might sound. Understanding this will help you not do it again.

You could also apologise to the person you said this to. Showing them that you understand what you said was wrong can help them to forgive you and move on. If you tell them what you’ve learned from this experience it will be easier for them to see that you won’t do it again. Treating people as individuals and with respect can also show others that you’re sorry for your behaviour.

Thank you for your letter and remember that you can talk to a counsellor at Childline for support and advice.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter