CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (USA TODAY) -- A woman whose racist rant in a dollar store parking lot was recorded, now says she's sorry for her outburst — but not before the video of her diatribe received more than 1 million hits on YouTube.
The woman in the video said the confrontation began Friday after the man in a vehicle almost hit her young son, Tony, and she began talking to the child.
"I said, 'I'm sorry, Tony, some people are just ignorant,' " said the woman, Janelle, who asked that her last name not be used because of the vitriolic comments — more than 2,500 — that she has seen accompanying the YouTube video. "Then the guy started running his mouth. Being the protective mother that I am, I started running my mouth. And he threatened me, I don't know, saying that he was going to have me arrested or something."
Unedited video posted on YouTube(WARNING: contains explicit language)
Narvell, 36, of Cheektowaga, N.Y., said he started his truck and hadn't moved from his parking space but the noise of the engine startled Janelle's children in front of his vehicle. That's when the woman's rant began, sprinkled liberally with curse words and the N-word.
This Buffalo, N.Y., suburb is home to more than 75,000 people. Almost 87% are white; fewer than 1 in 10 are black.
Some say the woman's outburst exposes problems with racism and segregation in western New York and perhaps far beyond. Janelle said Wednesday that she was just angry.
"If my kids weren't there, if he didn't almost hit my son, none of this would have happened," she said. "He wouldn't have called me a crack-headed whatever and I wouldn't have had to flip out."
Perhaps the biggest reason the video went viral was Janelle's repeated use of the N-word, which Webster's New World Dictionary says is generally regarded as taboo because of the legacy of racial hatred that underlies the history of its use among whites.
Last year, jurors in New York City awarded a black employee more than $250,000 in damages when a black manager repeatedly targeted his female worker with the slur.
Janelle herself didn't seem to know the N-word's hateful history nor its association as slang for Negro when she spoke Wednesday about her previous remarks.
"It means an ignorant person," she said. "It doesn't say black, white, Puerto Rican. It's an ignorant person."
In a written statement that she later read out loud and in a conversation on WBLK-FM, Buffalo, she said that she's in treatment for mental-health issues, is bipolar and is in the process of changing her medication. She's also worried because her ex-husband has said he plans to start a custody battle over their kids based on the video.
Narvell, who recorded the rant against him, is identified on YouTube as IAMOYAB. Though he's been a member for more than three years, the only other video he appears to have posted is one of his children singing along to Call Me, Maybe in a restaurant.
"At first I didn't want to" make the videotape and put it on YouTube, Narvell said Wednesday. "This kind of behavior is just ridiculous. I mean, we're in 2014. It may not never go away, probably never, ever go away now that the cycle is continually repeating itself. Her kids are now thinking it's OK to call black people the N-word."
He would like to see Janelle go on camera to apologize, both to him and to black people as a race, rather than make a phone call or read a statement.
"I'm ashamed and embarrassed at my behavior the other day, especially in front of my children," Janelle said in reading her statement. "It's not who I am and what I truly believe in. ... I am deeply sorry for my offensive behavior and the ignorant statements that I made."