Justin Bieber Apologizes For Racist Joke But It's Made Less Believable By His Current Persona

Earlier today, a video of petulant pop prince Justin Bieber as a 15-year-old making racist jokes that involved the n-word made the rounds. Now, Bieber and his camp have apologized for the sheer crappiness on display. But it begs the question: Can we really believe that Justin Bieber's grown past this behavior given...well, his recent behavior?

Here's Bieber's apology, as told to TMZ:

As a kid, I didn't understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt. I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but didn't realize at the time that it wasn't funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance. Thanks to friends and family I learned from my mistakes and grew up and apologized for those wrongs. Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologize again to all those I have offended. I'm very sorry. I take my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable mistake. I was a kid then and I am a man now who knows my responsibility to the world and to not make that mistake again. Ignorance has no place in our society and I hope the sharing of my faults can prevent others from making the same mistake in the future. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say but telling the truth is always what's right. Five years ago I made a reckless and immature mistake and I'm grateful to those close to me who helped me learn those lessons as a young man. Once again....I'm sorry.

It is, overall, pretty well-worded; I'm not gonna pick apart what he's saying for signs of his ~*true self*~. But what Bieber's neglecting to mention is that while this may chronologically be the first time he stepped completely outside the lines of human decency in a way the public has access to — he was only 15 at the time, after all — today's world is much more well-acquainted with awful Bieber antic than they were when that video was first recorded. Current Bieber may not have hurled a racist slur that we know of, but he did put a crapton of people in danger by driving at high speeds while inebriated, and that infamous deposition video (below) shows a side of Bieber that doesn't exactly sell the "I've lived and learned" side of that apology.

Celebrity apologies likes these are always tricky: They beg the question of who is qualified or unqualified to accept the apology. Is it someone like me, as a person of color who pays attention to pop culture for a living? Is it someone like you, whoever you are? Does twitter take a vote and decide? Does Obama weigh in? TMZ did a poll o their readers and 60 percent answered "Yes" to "Forgive Justin?" but what the hell does that mean in the scope of society? Or do we just each take our own stock of the situation and wait to see what Bieber makes news for next?