Opinion

Response: Right-Wing Loyola Student Fears being Lynched

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Black Star

Dried and spattered blood covered his body.

Arms and legs both mutilated.

Bullet holes still visible on the 14-year-old boy’s corpse.

His face unrecognizable and neck maimed from hanging below the willow tree.

Little Emmett Till hailed from our city of Chicago before being brutishly lynched and slaughtered by two white men in Mississippi in 1955.

His crime?

Flirting with a white woman.

This is the sheer reality of racism and lynching in the United States — a historic culture that incentivized white Americans to rape, beat and torture African Americans to keep us from seeking equality or liberation.

So when a student at our institution was quoted in a recent article for The Phoenix saying “I can say that I’m afraid of being lynched if I walk out on the Lake Shore Campus… I might get some very mean words,” for his support of President Trump, we understand the ignorant and destructive historical implications of such a statement.

Take your pity-baiting elsewhere.

Let’s be clear: Lynching is not an insult or a hate crime. It is terrorism. It is radicalized, radicalized and rooted in white supremacy.

It emerged at the genesis of the transatlantic slave trade as a tool to dehumanize and control African Americans, and later, to keep us from exercising our constitutional rights.

Rarely did lynchings occur for the expression of one’s political beliefs. Instead, whites lynched blacks for crimes such as walking next to a white woman, being too loud in public or being homeless.

While you fear putting on a hat or button that espouses your support of a political ideology, we have no choice but to wear the same black skin every day and be potential target practice for any trigger-happy cop or white supremacist extremist.

While you fear ridicule or patronization, my mother fears a phone call that the police have murdered me for nothing more than the color of my skin and the locs in my hair.

While you claim to fear terrorists from more than a thousand miles away, black folks have grown accustomed to living among them.

You see that image above?

It’s not ISIS. It’s not Boko Haram. It’s not even the Ku Klux Klan.

It is your everyday white American citizen from the beginning of the slave trade until roughly 1950.

Lynching was a public spectacle that white men, women and children attended for pastime as if it was a community festival.

Today we live in an era where blacks still cannot attend church without fear of brutal assault by a white supremacist.

Suggesting you fear being lynched is to spit on the legacy of African Americans who have endured a history of cowardly and senseless massacre at the hands of those you pretend are guiltless and vulnerable.

To support the president under the guise of protecting our country, while failing to acknowledge or even mention domestic terrorism at the hands of the white community, is racist, bigoted and a complete exoneration of this country’s violent history against communities of color.

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6 thoughts on “Response: Right-Wing Loyola Student Fears being Lynched”

    1. I’m sure the individual did not intend to invoke the actual definition of the word, however, the effect is the same. It’s entirely tone-deaf to (even in a carelessly tangental sort of way) falsely equate the murder and mutilation of a black person to the, at worst, chastisement of a white person in a political discourse. The use of that word demonstrates a total disconnect from an issue that demands sensitivity, and that’s the issue.

    2. There aren’t many other interpretations for “lynched”. Perhaps he meant it as a hyperbole and not in the literal context. Even if this is true it minimizes the significance of the historical context. No one gets lynched for political opinions in America. That’s one of the many reasons why immigrants from all over the world continue to come here–for political freedoms that they wouldn’t necessarily have elsewhere. This is was makes the racial history of America so radical. While you can vote for bigots, and racist, and dictators with no more threat than losing a few peers if you are a racial minority, and specifically African-American, your existence has always been threatened on a social level. So, as the author said “stop with the pity-baiting”. The equivalent would be, just to put in another context: Being in Germany and colloquially using “Nazi” to describe a micromanaging manager, then having a Jewish person overhear and share how that’s inappropriate…here in America (specifically), where systemic persecution is still going on, when we are not that far removed from lynching you NEED to be conscious of context.

  1. glad to see that man’s vile comment is getting the backlash it deserves, thank you for this articl.e although think the choice to include a photo of lynched bodies in this article is grossly voyeuristic and exploitative.

  2. Especially when you consider that Emmett’s accuser came out years later to retract her accusation. He was brutally tortured for existing as a young black man (my how things haven’t really changed). I will have a conversation with a republican/conservative, but when they pull out, “After the election, I actually said ‘I actually wished I wasn’t white'” I refuse to hear anymore before they themselves go out and learn some humility.

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