Help me, fellow bloggers, as I grapple with a perplexing interpersonal problem. Last night I was out to dinner with my family and a couple that we have known for several years. I consider them both to be very generous and kind people and I consider myself fortunate to be among their friends. We were speculating on the ethnicity of some little children who were playing nearby, and I mentioned that when I first met my friend, I was initially mistaken about his/her ethnicity(I don't want to give any clues about the identity of said individual). When asked, I indicated that I thought he/she was black. Friend became increasingly angry about this, said that I was ignorant about his/her ethnicity, said I had insulted him/her, was angry that I did not apologize, and refused to hear anything further from me on the subject. With no opportunity to defend myself, I excused myself from the table, apologized for the unpleasantries, and waited in the car until the others had finished their meal. And this is where we stand.
My question to you is whether or not I owe an apology for a mistaken initial judgement made several years ago? The reason that I am presently hesitant to do so is because I don't think it is an insult to be mistaken for a black person. Should I likewise apologize to actual black people for the misfortune of being black? Please weigh in fellow bloggers, but keep in mind that I would like both of my friends to remain friends if at all possible.