Friday, February 22, 2008

Mrs. Obama's Lynching Silence

Jena 6 + nooses hanging from tree = Protest, march and national conflagration

Tiger Woods + lynching comment = News media and Blogosphere Uproar

Michelle Obama + lynching comment (x Bill O'Reilly of all people!) = . . .

*cricket, cricket*

With the exception of some, why in hell is there a broad silence on the (black) blogosphere when lynching references are tied in with the woman who may be the future First Lady of the United States? Even What About Our Daughters, although normally at the forefront of just such references to violence against women, are noticeably weak in their criticism of O'Reilly. So WHAT is the DEAL?

Are we just tired of reference upon reference to a very dark and dangerous time in African American history? Or incident upon incident of nooses placed on desks, hung from trees outside of black cultural centers, and in school yards where children of both races play?

I know I'm tired of having to explain the significance and threat that references to lynching or pictures and caricatures of nooses entail.

Is it a matter for historians and teachers who aren't presenting this history the right way?

Or is it simply that, in this racist (heterosexist, classist) society, certain people (read: white men, white boys, even a white woman) know they can get away with making remarks that threaten (read: terrorize) certain communities?

Or is it that Michelle Obama is a woman of color, not a man of color, and somehow, the lynching trope just doesn't work the same for her as it does for Tiger or for the young men of Jena??????

That history has been silenced.

We forget that this happened too:

Or that lynching was used against whites (esp. Italian, Jewish, Irish):

Instead, this is what we keep in our collective, national memory:

But all three, all of them are part of our history--some of the WORST of our history. And THAT is lynching folks. It isn't pretty. It isn't witty. It isn't the sexy dialogue of the moment. It isn't funny. It isn't cute. It's terrorism. And it's just as IGNORANT to use references to lynchings, nooses, the Klan, or anything related as it is to use references to the Holocaust, gas chambers, or Nazis lightly. Actually, ignorant isn't a strong enough word.....but since I've already ruined someone's breakfast with the images above...I'll just leave it at that.

Everyone--black, white, Asian, and Latina/o--should be up in arms whenever a reference to lynching is made in this country. Because although this particular style of violence was largely enacted against African-American men and women, in reality, lynching and other forms of mob violence were equal opportunity employers.

Get it together people. Lodge your complaint at Bill O'Reilly's comments.

(Images courtesy)


popo said...

"in reality, lynching and other forms of mob violence were equal opportunity employers"

Therein lies the answers to each of your questions. The vast bulk of Americans have not bought into the PC assertions of a small and not all that vocal segment. Even among those who may agree, you will find many who think that many other issues are far more important than protesting the utterance of one word or the display of a symbol.

T said...

Ah, the apology.

The I'm sorry you feel that way vs. the I'm sorry I said it.

Keep you apology if you're just sorry I got offended. I don't need anyone to be sorry on my account. I need people to be sorry on their own accounts.

Anonymous said...

For all the hype surrounding the Obamas, the truth remains that he is an "empty suit" with positions all over the place (all of them general and confusing) and she is a bitter, angry woman with a racist baggage which people are starting to notice.
Michelle Obama - The Racist behind the Candidate