Lynching Ain’t Funny … Ever
For some reason, some white folks think that the atrocities blacks have been made to endure are the perfect breeding ground for jokes. Just like the continuing “black face” costumes that somehow persist, the use of nooses just seems too tempting to resist. Somebody somewhere needs to get these people to understand that making fun of the ritualistic, humiliating, and demoralizing public killing of black people isn’t funny.
Nooses have been everywhere lately. Case #1: Students from New Jersey’s Phillipsburg High School wrestling team decided to take a “comical” picture of themselves around a dark skinned wrestling dummy hanging from a noose … with their hoods pointed like the KKK. All in good fun, of course.
Case #2: Some frat boys from Ole Miss allegedly hung a noose around a statue of the first student to integrate the school. Witnesses claim to have heard racial slurs being screamed during the incident in which the alleged also put an old state flag with a Confederate battle symbol on the statue’s face. Courage in action, folks.
Thankfully the backlash has been swift.
The wrestlers have apologized profusely (through their lawyer) and were subsequently barred from competing in a state tournament. The frat kicked out the student suspects and suspended the chapter on that campus. There is also talk of potential federal charges. And that’s all well and good. However, the problem isn’t that these incidents happen. The problem is that they continue to happen.
In this “colorblind”/post-racial society, what was once offensive has now become fodder for jokes and parody. The n-word is no big deal. Race-baiting behavior is acceptable or just actions of the immature. It’s no big deal.
But it is a big deal.
Society is rapidly changing every day. People can connect easier and faster on the internet. Power is shifting from the predominantly older and whiter Americans. And the youth that are being raised today will have a profound influence on how this country is shaped in the future. Let’s not let tomorrow’s leaders think that the idea of lynching is by any means humorous. Let’s not let the work and sacrifices of our forefathers be so easily forgotten and cast aside. Show these youth that what has been done before does not have to be done again.
The high school students may have just been misguided and dumb (these are high schoolers after all). They may not have meant for their actions to carry racial overtones. And the frat boys are still only suspects. But for anyone to imply that the actions taken against either group is too much or over the top is ludicrous. These situations are actually great examples of how America is finally getting it right. When foolery presents itself, your response must be swift and strong to discourage it happening again. Send a message that this behavior is not acceptable under any circumstance.
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