DEAR ABBY: A foreign friend used the "n" word while commenting about an employee at a hotel we were staying in. After he said it a second time, I slapped him and told him that word was never acceptable, regardless of the reason.
I feel bad about hitting him, but entirely justified in motive and intent. I really can't think of another, more effective way of registering how offended I am in a situation like this. Should I apologize? Should it be a qualified apology?
I tried to explain the complex racial history of the U.S. and why the word was so hurtful, but he seemed disinclined to understand. What is the right way to react in such a situation? -- ANONYMOUS IN THE USA
DEAR ANONYMOUS: You should not have let the first remark go without speaking up. The right way to respond to the person's racist comment would have been to say that it offended you and you would prefer not to hear that kind of language from him again. Physical violence is not the correct way to get a point across.
If you must associate with this person, apologize for flying off the handle. Otherwise, avoid him.