The Doser just read Lynching Photographs by Dora Apel and Shawn Michelle Smith. The authors point out that American lynchings
were composed of almost stereotypical parts. They were:
One or more African American men were identified as the candidates. It was broadcast that they raped a white woman. A mob formed. No investigation was made of the rape claim. The police did not do anything to disburse the mob. The lynching occurred. Photographs of the lynched persons were taken. Sometimes a special purpose photograph was posed. The photographs were widely disseminated. The police will did nothing to stop the lynching or reduce the public display that followed. The murderers were not brought to justice. Part of the press reported the event with approval; part of the press did not report the incident; part of the press viewed the event with disapproval.
Here is what the process told African Americans.
1. It could be you, since being selected is arbitrary.
2. It matters if white women are raped; it doesn't matter if African American women are raped.
3. The weapon of resolution is a mob - meaning an insensitive, out-of-control group drawn from the immediate area.You are isolated among persons any of whom may be hostile.
4. The police are not going to help you.
5. The photographs affirm to interested people that the matters of white superiority, sanctity of white women, necessary abasement have been taken care of.
6. It is a lynching offense to be an African American; it is not an offense to lynch an African American.
7. The media is not to be regarded as helpful.
8. Essentially, you are very vulnerable. You'd better keep in your place.
Does some of this action and reaction seem reminiscent of the events at Abu Ghraib?