Erica Mena says she's sorry for calling her reality show costar a monkey -- but she insists there was no racism behind the insult.
The ex-'Love & Hip Hop' star -- who was booted from the show for hurling the word -- tells TMZ ... "I deeply regret my insensitive comment and want to humbly apologize to anybody I hurt or offended by my thoughtlessness. My choice of words was wrong, and I take full responsibility for what I said."
She adds, "I am committed to listening to the voices of those affected and will work toward making amends. As a woman of color and the mother of two black children, I want to make it clear that my use of that word was not in any way racially driven."
Erica ends with this ... "That said, I do understand the gravity of what I said and want to use my platform to promote inclusivity and equality."
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Worth noting, Erica identifies as an Afro-Latina -- with Dominican and Puerto Rican roots.
You'll recall ... Erica was cut loose from 'L&HH: Atlanta' after MTV aired the controversial episode in question -- in which EM and Spice got into a heated argument, which erupted into a fight ... and where Erica invoked the term "monkey" while she was lashing out.