Blackwashing History: Slavery, Lynching & White Erasure

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Aware of Awareness

This morning, I came across a newly published article in the New York Times on the history of lynching in the U.S. south. Curiously, I noted that the author racialized the lynching victims – they were repeatedly referred to as black – but the race of those who did the lynching was left unmarked. In the article, blacks were lynched by « a group of men », a « mob », or simply by no one at all (using the passive voice). Not once in this article about a horrific chapter of the racial past was it ever explicitly acknowledged that whites did the lynching. Even more disturbing to me, when the author characterized lynching as « racial terror », he used quotation marks. As if the phrase was in question.

Reading this piece of journalism, early in the morning before I’d even had my coffee, felt like a slap in the face. I wondered about…

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