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Tagaros
Posts: 14

The terrible crime of lynching

Lynching, as many, if not all of us, can agree, is a terrible crime for numerous reasons. It undermines the justice system, as a mob who believes a person committed a crime could drag them away and murder them, even if they were actually innocent, which was frequently the case. Also, just the act of murdering someone is wrong, even they believe that they are doing "justice". Murder is not justice, especially the murder of innocent people, who are accused solely due to their skin color. If people's view of justice is killing people of a certain race, then it becomes a racial genocide.

While watching the photos yesterday, a recurring theme, other than the skin color of the person being lynched and the lynchers, the innocence of the person being lynched, and the inhumanity of the lynchings, is that, in many cases, the person that was lynched was taken by a group of people from federal custody. They even grabbed a person from a train, which I presume was moving at high speeds, in order to lynch him. How were they able to do this? How could citizens manage to kidnap these people right under the noses of the police? And also, why did the police not stop these lynchings? As we learned in class, these events were planned, meaning that people likely knew and talked about them. How could the police not find out, and place more guards on those who were likely to be lynched?

In my opinion, there are three likely reasons for all of this: either the police in these areas were greatly understaffed and inequiped for this; they didn't care what happened to these people, since they were mostly black and were found accused/found guilty primarily due to the fact that they were black; or they were in on the lynchings. These last two reasons are much more likely, in my opinion, given what we know about race relations, and the fact that the police could request help from the government for either more funding or more manpower. But why is it important that I ask this question? Why do I bother talking about the sentiments of the police force?

The reason is that the police are supposed to protect the people abd uphold the law. If they are unable to do that, then they are mere figureheads.

In my opinion, stopping lynchings from occurring is a difficult, but not impossoble task. The first step is for the police to do their duty, and protect the citizens, even if they are convicted.

The next step is to arrest those who organized or plotted the lynching. It is impossible to arrest everyone who attends, due to their sheer number, but by arresting those who plan the crime, you dissuade other people from planning and committing the crime as well.

Another step that must be taken is to dissuade people from taking photos and making postcards or "souvenirs" of lynchings. This ensures that no one profits from these crimes, and further dissuades lynchings from occurring, as there is little to no business to be made any more from these murders.

Finally, I believe that both adults children should be educated about how terrible lynchings really are, and that it is wrong to take pleasure from watching a person be horribly mutilated and killed for no real reason other than their skin. After all, we learned previously that people are not born cold-hearted and sadistic. We are given a basis of morals to build on, and it is through what we experience in lofe that make us who we are. And if a child sees adults smiling and laughing while watching someone be hung or burned alive, then they learn that it is OK to do these heinous acts. That is why they must be taught that lynchings are wrong, and so should the adults.

If lynchings were going on today, I would do my best to discourage others through social media of attending or even starting a lynching, and if I learned about when and where a lynching was supposed to occur, I would inform authorities. I would also encourage my friends to do the same, to tell others that lynchings are wrong, but in a peaceful manner. It is hard for one person to stand up against what they know is wrong, but if no one does, then we are already doomed.

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Tagaros
Posts: 14

Originally posted

In conclusion, lynching was a horrible act that could have easily been stopped simply with compassion. If people were to feel more compassion in their day to day lives, then most of the world’s problems would resolve. We are the next generation of people to rule this world, and we need to live with compassion, teach our children to this, and then do the same with their children. If we do this, then one day there may be no more war, or racism, or even inequality.


Don’t be afraid to comment

-Shelly

I agree with you that we need to teach our children to feel compassion for others, to treat other people how we would want to be treated. If we don't, then history will repeat itself, and these injustices will continue.

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Latin'sLiability
Posts: 27

Facing Lynching

The concept of a crowed feeling pleasure over the humiliation and suffering of one person is the basis of lynching. This concept I believe is as alive as ever in present day. Today posts on social media will go viral and people unite from the laughs they get out of people being humiliated and sometimes physically hurt. This practice is seen as acceptable, therefor it doesn't surprise me all that much that back in the 1900s people would gather together to enjoy the suffering of people they considered inferior.

Lynching was a direct attack on the humanity of African Americans, and the few who were not black, but lynched for other reasons. I believe that there is not a single crime out there that deserves a lynching. Lynchings are simply mindless acts of violence, free from any morals and feelings that should be considered humane. It was an opportunity for white people to just lose it. To take out all of their unfounded anger and express it without holding back, but the fact that lynching doesn't stop there makes it an even greater horror. A spectacle is made from the hanging, burning and torturing of human beings.

I don’t think that lynching was inevitable. I believe that racists could have found less gruesome ways to release their anger, but nevertheless it did happen and it continued for a very very long time. America was so accustomed to having black people as property, that they needed a new way to instill fear and control them. Lynching obviously should have been dealt with completely differently, but I’m not surprised it wasn’t considering those who had power in the United States couldn’t care less since the people being killed were black. Lynching was a product of deep seeded racism and hate, it would not have happened if that hate was non existent. That’s why crimes like this still happen today, because even though that hate is not so widespread, it still exists. Ending lynching would have meant ending the desperate need of people to eradicate those who they see as inferior. I don’t believe you can change one generation’s minds and the way they think, but I do believe that new generations can correct past generations errors. Therefor people must be taught to not see themselves as superior, so superior that they feel they have to right to take the lives of others.

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Latin'sLiability
Posts: 27

Originally posted by underthesea on December 20, 2018 20:00

I am having a lot of trouble with this post. I think that, although it can be constructive to think about what our actions would have been in impossible times like these, I don’t know how particularly helpful it is in this case. We spoke briefly in class about the violation and destruction of the black body that has systematically occurred for hundreds of years. As we sat in class and clicked through about ten images of people being lynched, hearing one to two-sentence explanations of why and how they were lynched, I felt extremely frustrated. What justice are we doing them by failing to look at their full humanity? We don’t learn who they were. We don’t learn what their jobs were, or who their kids were, or what they were like. We learn that they are a black body that was hung from a tree. We see pictures of their naked and dismembered bodies hanging from a rope, hear what happened, and then move on. We speed through a video with graphic content and then just go to our next class. How is this contributing to our understanding and processing of this specific and horrific part of American racial history? I could go on about this forever, but I know it isn’t the question. I just urge everyone to think critically about what the value of learning this is and how best to learn it in a way that holds and respects the past and present members of the black community. Talk to people about what you’re feeling after seeing the images. Seeing images of people being lynched and then moving on with your day is just another way of being desensitized.

As for the question of how to address lynching, I think that the criminal justice system failed, but then again, it’s still failing folk of color now. The perpetrators of lynchings needed to be imprisoned. I think that the passing of the Dier Anti-Lynching Bill in the 1920s could have saved lives, so it should have been passed. Just like I have said in so many other posts, I have no real way at all of knowing what I would have done, but I think I would have joined Ida B. Wells and Jessie Daniel Ames to write for newspapers protesting lynching, and try my best to have it end. Public protest, writing, and general communication about the issue would have been the way to go. I would have tried my best to rally politicians in support of the Dier Anti-Lynching Bill. I would have spoken to my fellow white folk about the importance of joining the fight against lynching. I would have done everything I could.

Lynching is not something of the past. Neither are the roots of hatred and discrimination which caused it. In fact, the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act was just passed in the Senate yesterday. This makes lynching a federal hate crime - which means up until now, it hasn’t been. Congress has tried and failed to pass something of this nature nearly 200 times, and it is a horrible reality that it took until 2018 to pass it. During the Senate race in Mississippi, Cindy Hyde-Smith, who ended up winning the election, spoke of a friend: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be in the front row”, in what appears to be a clear reference to lynchings of some sort. Many connections between her and white supremacy have emerged in the last months. We are very much living this history reincarnated. And what are all of us doing to stop the violence toward African Americans and all folk of color now?

Post your response here.

I agree that there is so much value to seeing these images and learning about lynching. I believe that there is a difference between learning about lynching and being told it exists. People think that they learned about lynching simply because their teacher told them that it happened. Seeing the images that we were shown in class is obviously difficult, but it is very necessary.

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C1152GS
Posts: 24

No solution

In all honesty, there wouldn’t be a thing I could’ve done to end lynching in the 20th century. I probably would’ve been lynched myself. Lynching was used a form deterrence and instilled fear. The widespread use of lynching exacerbated the power dynamics between white and black people in that era. This form of public shaming and extreme torture reminded black people that, they too, could be next. One thing I can’t get over is the fact that woman, children, and whole families would come and watch these horrific things. This shows how normalized that lynching had been in that society. Because of the norm, it would’ve been hard to convince and talk to someone about the awful nature of what they were doing. Like others, I would take a stand against lynching, I probably would’ve been a martyr for this cause. If I knew how to write, I would write about the issue and why it should be outlawed. As a person of color, I would not have the power to vote, therefore I would pursue litigation to find an end to this dire and harsh sentence. Lynching really should’ve never had any place in our society. The 8th amendment clearly states no cruel or unusual punishment. The fact that this form of the death penalty without a formal sentence is really against American values and ideals. It clearly shows how black people in this country were treated far less than even animals. What would I do about it now? Well, I would organize those who care about the issue no matter the race and skin color to pressure the elected officials to find an end to it. I’ve also noticed alarming comments on social media that talks about how public lynching should be brought back, and to that, I would say that our schools are not doing a great job at showing the grueling images from this era. I don’t believe anyone with a heart would be able to say that after learning and looking at all these images. With that being said, I would support a curriculum that openly talked about this dark and sad moment in American History.

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Swoogity Swiggity
Posts: 15

It was horrible

Hello fellow classmates


First and foremost, viewing those photos was absolutely horrifying. A country that prides itself in its people even though they would stoop so low as to commit such horrible crimes and find it within themselves to do that to another human being simply because they have a darker complexity than they do. It’s sad to see how far people will go to show their hate and prejudice for a group of people, especially over something so superficial such as the color of their skin. We know it’s been an issue for a very long time practically initiated with slavery and whites feeling as though they’re in a superior position to blacks.

From the very beginning, if the goal were to end lynching then there should’ve been harsh and severe punishments for anybody who practiced it. Authorities were always so quick to jump on a person of color for even the most minor thing, then they should be doing the same for white folk regardless of how unrealistic it may seem. By taking a strong position of authority toward the issue at hand then it creates a stronger feeling of respect toward authority and doing wrong. Another thing that could be done is imprison the instigators of lynchings. The world is made up of leaders and followers. There had to be people who led the massive crowds of white folks ready to lynch a black person. Without a leader and instigator then there’s no crowd and no lynching. Another constructive approach would be to place a colored person in a position of power or influence as to demonstrate to people that black folks aren’t these evil people they believe them to be. Though the change would be slow and gradual the change would still be occurring. If all people see are white people at the top, they will always have an underlying feeling of superiority because of who is at the top.

My personal approach would be a bit harsh but just as these people feel at liberty to take life as though it were nothing, then why not take their lives. It’s a bit ironic that to show that all life is precious and should be valued, we kill the people who are simply taking it. Since the effect of this would be ineffective, making the nation aware of the horrors of lynching and placing them in a position of imagining where one of their loved ones would be in a position like that could cause opposition to lynching. Having it be shown in common medias of the time that had information spread the quickest would be key to have the message get out to as many people as possible.

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