Putting a Noose Around President Obama’s Neck: What was the white Community’s Response to a Tasteless Costume?

When people show you who they are,

 believe them the first time.

Maya Angelou

I guess that we all have regrets from time-to-time. You know those moments that we wish to rewind for the sake of ourselves and sometimes others.

When asked about regrets, the great Black Nationalist Titan Malcolm X related that one of his foremost regrets was when he failed to obama-noose-6instruct a white female collegian that the most productive thing that she could do if she truly desired to see this nation achieve racial reconciliation and equality was to go among her own people and diligently work with them to destroy the three-headed monster of prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Make no mistake about it, this monster was birthed in that community and also has continually been nurtured and provided a place of refuge there as well.

I am absolutely certain that this moment dogged Malcolm to no end as he had blown what amounts to a phenomenal opportunity by tersely responding with a resounding soul-crushing “nothing” to this young lady’s query regarding what she could do to slay “the color line” that W.E.B. Du Bois so prophetically related would be “the problem of the twentieth-century” for an increasingly diversified America.

Although he failed to relate the proper steps that whites could take to address Du Bois “color line”, I am absolutely certain that Malcolm, was similar to other rational sober-minded people in realizing that much of the heavy-lifting needed to dismantle the aforementioned three-headed monster of prejudice, discrimination, and racism is up to whites both as individuals and also within their larger community. Unfortunately for well-meaning whites, their community is full of individuals who are reluctant to hear anything regarding racial matters.

Unbeknownst to whites, it is there failure to assume a defiant stance regarding the prejudice, discrimination, and racism that emanates from their community that greatly encourages African-Americans to group them together into a population that the Abolitionist David Walker characterized in the following manner.

The whites have always been an unjust, jealous, unmerciful, avaricious and blood-thirsty set of beings, always seeking after power and authority.

I am certain that you would agree, this world is made up of a series of ‘moments’. The alluded to ‘moments’ allow us to differentiate ourselves from others in regards to our political beliefs, religious position, and understanding of race relations.

One such ‘moment’ occurred during the recent gridiron clash of Nebraska and Wisconsin, two Big Ten football powerhouses. obama-noose-5Someway, somehow, a fan who should have been overly preoccupied with cheering his chosen team to victory decided to make a deafening political statement by displaying a costume of President Barack Hussein Obama with a noose around his neck in the stands. This horrific attempt at political commentary provided yet another ‘moment’ for well-meaning sober-minded whites to publicly display not necessarily their support of President Obama, rather their refusal to allow such racially loaded non-beneficial statements to emanate from their community.

The most prominent question in my mind during this moment was, ‘Will whites police their own?’ even if they personally oppose President Obama’s political views?

The response of the University of Wisconsin athletic department should be applauded as they swiftly moved to have this individual wearing what they termed a “highly insensitive and offensive costume” remove the costume.

In many ways this moment was expertly handled by the University of Wisconsin as they called the costume “repugnant AND COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE UNIVERSITY AND ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT.” Despite the fact that the person was exercising their right to free speech, the University of Wisconsin hoped that such rights would be used in the very near future to “engage in discussion over vital issues in ways that promote greater understanding and respect for all people.”

Within such a tough situation, it would be presumptuous to ask for much more. It is a step in the correct direction and one that will hopefully inform African-Americans that there is not necessarily a consensual agreement among whites regarding racial matters; however, it is equally important that whites learn that their failure to sternly address matters such as the one above makes them vulnerable to being grouped in with a few bad apples. And as we all know, a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

One thought on “Putting a Noose Around President Obama’s Neck: What was the white Community’s Response to a Tasteless Costume?”

  1. I totally agree with this article, when you state the man in the costume as a “bad apple” considering his friends did not participate in the costume dressing but may have made racial slurs that were not publicized. If his friends felt this was wrong they would not have allowed him to wear this so you are who you hang around

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