To the extent that Bubba Wallace was a victim, he was a victim of the atmosphere created by the lawless part of the protests following the murder of George Floyd.
False claims of racist threats make matters worse, not better.
"Lynching is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, punish a convicted transgressor, or intimidate. It can also be an extreme form of informal group social control, and it is often conducted with the display of a public spectacle (often in the form of hanging) for maximum intimidation. Instances of lynchings and similar mob violence can be found in every society.
"In the United States, lynchings of African Americans became frequent in the South during the period after the Reconstruction era and they continue to be carried out into the 21st century. Lynchings are common in many contemporary societies, particularly in countries with high crime rates such as Brazil, Guatemala and South Africa."
"In the United States, a noose was sometimes left as a message in order to intimidate people, as it was the main object used in segregation era lynchings. In 2020, a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime was introduced. It is illegal to display a noose in a threatening manner in Virginia, New York and Connecticut. The controversial Jussie Smollett case involved the alleged use of a noose as a method of intimidation.
"Austin Reed Edenfield, a former student of the University of Mississippi, pled guilty in 2016 to a federal civil-rights crime, acknowledging that he and another man had tied a noose and a Confederate flag around the neck of a statue honoring James Meredith, the university's first African-American student. In September of 2019, Andrew M. Smith, a University of Illinois student, was arrested for placing a noose in a campus elevator. 'The incident comes just months after black employees filed a class-action lawsuit against the campus, alleging they faced racial harassment and were exposed to threats of racial violence, such as nooses, swastikas, KKK garb, racist graffiti, and confederate flags.'
"On June 21, 2020, a noose was reportedly found in the garage area of black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. NASCAR immediately launched an investigation and vowed to 'eliminate [those responsible] from the sport.' The DOJ and FBI also launched their own separate investigations to determine whether charges could be brought. It was later determined that the rope had been present in the garage since at least October of 2019 when Talladega opened its new garage area.
"On the Daily Show with Trevor Noah of June 23rd 2020, it was reiterated that however long the hangman's noose was being used to pull the garage door shut, it was the only such example of a hangman's noose amongst a series of otherwise identical garage doors in the lot. Wallace personally related that he was relieved that it was not targeting himself, but he does not believe that a hangman's noose should be seen as simply a mechanical solution."
It would be very unfortunate if the lawlessness around the nation following the murder of George Floyd induced Bubba Wallace to believe that person or persons unknown yearned to hang him with a noose.
In fact, Bubba Wallace saw was a drop rope, not a noose, and had not been targeted. To the extent that Bubba Wallace was a victim, he was a victim of the atmosphere created by the lawless part of the protests following the murder of George Floyd. Perhaps he should commiserate with the family of a genuine heroic and black victim, retired Police Captain David Dorn, who was killed while protecting a pawn shop in St. Louis from looters who took advantage of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis to pillage in the pawn shop and killed Captain Dorn.
Two eactions that I have received to my recent articles are especially illuminating.
One lady was upset with the inane assertion by Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful running mate in 2016, that America invented slavery.
"Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) claimed during a Tuesday speech on the Senate floor that the United States 'created' slavery and 'didn’t inherit slavery from anybody' (www.nationalreview.com/news/dem-sen-kaine-claims-united-states-created-slavery-and-didnt-inherit-slavery-from-anybody/).
Alas the voters of Virginia cannot recall him for either sheer stupidity or blatant demagoguery.
Here verbatim is the lady's message on a part of the history of slavery that Senator Kaine seemingly did not know:
"The Irish slave trade began when 30,000 Irish prisoners were sold as slaves to the New World. The King James I Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves. Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.
"From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.
"During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.
"Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like 'Indentured Servants' to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.
"As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.
"African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
"In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new 'mulatto' slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed 'forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.' In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
"England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.
"There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry. In 1839, Britain finally decided on its own to end its participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery.
"But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong.
"Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories."
Comments of Another lady, a classmate of mine, c on some of her observations while teaching in New York City are set forth below verbatim.
"I used to teach at a certain career college which was located in an old building in Queens, New York. Eventually, this building burned to the ground, and the College moved to a newer building in another Queens location.
"The basement of the original location in the old building served as a sort of student center. It housed banks of computers for students to use. There were a few soft drink/bottled water coin machines, tables for student snacking and eating, and a medium-sized breakaway area used for special honors dinners and other events. There were restrooms, but no cafeteria or kitchen.
"A Caucasian instructor told me, sotto voce, that a Black female instructor was sure there was a noose on the electrical fixtures on the ceiling in the basement. These ancient fixtures had some sort of looped wire arrangement which she viewed as a noose, directed at herself. As I said, this was an old building, and many years preceding her 'discovery,' this wiring had been put in place by the son of the founder. The son was NOT an electrician, just an amateur. I know this because the son is now the Chancellor and he told me that at age eighteen, he had wired all the lights in the basement, and installed all the locks in the school. In her fear and trembling, the Black female instructor showed the circular wiring to a Spanish professor from Dominican Republic, declaring it to be a noose, with she, herself as the targeted individual. The puzzled Spanish professor had no clue as to what the 'noose' meant in American History. She was seeing only electrical wiring.
"Later on, the Spanish prof had quietly asked one of the Caucasian profs what it was all about – why the Black instructor thought she had seen a noose. The white prof, who was in total disbelief, told me.
"Believe me, it was just amateur wiring, not a noose, and there were other Black profs there, including a PhD born in Alabama, who had never noticed it. He was too busy working, teaching, and establishing the school’s online courses and educational sites.
"The school’s Chancellor is from an upper-class Irish Catholic family, known to be liberal, generous, and interested in launching minority people into careers. The school has some liberal arts courses, mostly in English, one in the graphic arts of Spanish-speaking countries, and a film course – but focuses on technical career courses. There is a placement department, so that almost every graduate gets a job in his/her field. The school also has a LGBTQ organization. The students hold numerous charitable events to raise funds for domestic abuse organizations, and to respond to victims of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and world disasters.
"The tendency to see prejudice where there is none is widespread."
Bubba Wallace is hardly alone in jumping to the wrong conclusion or to minimize his mistake.
Both wishful and fearful thinking can be dangerous.© Michael Gaynor
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.