Black man dragged to death 200 miles from site of Byrd murder 10 years ago.

Brandon McClelland, 24, was dragged to death beneath a truck driven by two white men in Paris, Texas last month. McClelland was black. The site of his death is about 200 miles from the location where James Byrd was murdered in a similar manner ten years ago. (Image at left: Jacqueline McClelland, Brandon's mother; photo courtesy Jesse Muhammad.)

McClelland's murder took place on September 16, 2008. Parts of his mangled body were found strewn along the highway at great distance.

First responders treated the case as a hit and run. The county district attorney's office denied the possibility of racist motivations, and said comparisons to the Byrd lynching were "preposterous."

The incident was reported in the local newspaper, which later followed with this editorial.

Some bloggers and news sites associated with the Nation of Islam [ * ] have been discussing the killing as a hate crime for weeks, and claim local law enforcement ignored key forensic evidence at the crime scene.

Howard Witt at the Chicago Tribune, who has covered related stories about racial injustice and hate crimes in this region, wrote about the case as a possible hate crime earlier this month.

The story of McClelland's death -- and allegations the investigation by (white) local police investigators was botched -- seems to be gaining broader attention after having been picked up by AP today: Another Dragging Death In Texas (Associated Press).

Snip from a related story about racism in Paris, Texas, also from Witt at the Chicago Tribune:

The public fairgrounds in this small east Texas town look ordinary enough, like so many other well-worn county fair sites across the nation. Unless you know the history of the place. There are no plaques or markers to denote it, but several of the most notorious public lynchings of black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were staged at the Paris Fairgrounds, where thousands of white spectators would gather to watch and cheer as black men were dragged onto a scaffold, scalded with hot irons and finally burned to death or hanged.
One of the most widely-publicized lynchings of a black person in American history took place there 115 years ago. On February 1, 1893, former slave Henry Smith was tortured to death in front of a crowd of ten thousand (mostly or entirely white) people. Here is the New York Times article from that day, documenting the brutal details of his death in explicit detail.

The child's father, her brother, and two uncles then gathered about the Negro as he lay fastened to the torture platform and thrust hot irons into his quivering flesh. It was horrible--the man dying by slow torture in the midst of smoke from his own burning flesh. Every groan from the fiend, every contortion of his body was cheered by the thickly packed crowd of 10,000 persons. The mass of beings 600 yards in diameter, the scaffold being the center. After burning the feet and legs, the hot irons--plenty of fresh ones being at hand--were rolled up and down Smith's stomach, back, and arms. Then the eyes were burned out and irons were thrust down his throat.

Another snip from that century-old NYT story, which presumed Smith was guilty, and deserved the lynching:
Whisky shops were closed, unruly mobs were dispersed, schools were dismissed by a proclamation from the mayor, and everything was done in a business-like manner.

Update: BB commenter JWB nails it:

This must be viewed in light of the Ashley Todd incident this week. Todd made up a false story that a black man attacked her and carved a "B" in her face, ostensibly because she supports John McCain. In Paris, Texas, a hundred years ago, a charge like that would get a black man burned alive. Today it doesn't go quite that far but you could see the shadow of the lynch mob forming in the darker corners of the right-wing blogosphere when the Todd story first circulated.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has an interactive map of racist organizations and businesses (think: White Pride record stores, KKK branches) in this part of Texas, which you can view here. [ * ] Incidentally, SLPC also categorizes the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party as "hate groups."

Previously on Boing Boing: The Last Lynching: Ted Koppel documentary on Discovery tonight


  1. Wth is this “Pro-American” comment?

    Whatever, I don’t even know how to acknowledge that comment because it’s so short that no matter how the author intended it, its offensive.

    This is so sad. It hurts me to see this still happens in my country. As a person of “color” and one of the younger generations my clashings with racism have been minimalized. I’m lucky in that way I guess.

    Racism is disgusting. Violence is disgusting. I wish this world was better than it is.

    I hope that what good I do counteracts some of this world’s brutality.

    Choose your life wisely, choose your actions wisely.

  2. People are pathetic. In this age of science and technology people still can’t over skin color. Aliens need to just up so we at least we can stop hating each other.

  3. This must be viewed in light of the Ashley Todd incident this week. Todd made up a false story that a black man attacked her and carved a “B” in her face, ostensibly because she supports John McCain. In Paris, Texas, a hundred years ago, a charge like that would get a black man burned alive. Today it doesn’t go quite that far but you could see the shadow of the lynch mob forming in the darker corners of the right-wing blogosphere when the Todd story first circulated.

  4. I didn’t mean to offend anyone, but McCain and Palin personally phoned Race-baiter Ashley Todd after her “attack”. I wonder if either of them have phoned this young mans family? Racism is alive and well and the republicans have been stoking the flames this year.

  5. < hrf="">Brck bm hs lrdy wn th prsdntl lctn f 2008.

  6. Bng Bng cmmntrs mk m sck. Jst bcs y’r Rpblcn, r blggr, r Rpblcn blggr dsn’t mn y’r “stkng th flms” r rcst. ‘m sck nd trd f nyn hvng n rgnl thght tht sn’t ncssrly lbrl, prgrssv r cnmclly-sclst gttng blstd by vry lft-wngr n th ntrnt. lrg prtn f Bng Bng cmmntrs nd pstrs s r vry bt s cls-mndd s ths thy cntnlly vrblly bs. Smn wnts t blv n Gd? H’s mrn. Smn pnts t flws n n n-vg scntfc thry? H’s n dt. Hvn frbd smn hv dffrnt dlgy thn y.

    nd y wnt t knw wh s nblng rcsm? Th rcsm wtchdgs wh fl ts thr cllng n lf t prtct th blck mn frm pprssv wht-mn cltr. D y thnk ths knd f spcl trtmnt s RLLY gng t chng tr mnstrs lk th ns wh drggd Brndn McClllnd t dth? Wht r w ccmplshng?

  7. I’ve been sending the SPLC a hundred bucks a year for a while now. I considered, this year, to send it all of my charitable $$$ to the Mercy Corps or food bank, just to make the tax time record keeping easier.

    This story reminds me why I started donating to the SPLC in the first place, and why I will again.

  8. Y’r srs bt th srcs y ct? Rlly?

    Bngbng hs gn vrbrd bfr, bt y’r strtchng crdlty bynd my brkng pnt wth ths n.

    N fcts, jst “sm blggrs” nd Ntn f slm. Pthtc.

    Wht r y gng t d whn bmssh wns th prsdncy nd th wrld DSN’T sddnly bcm snwflks (ps, s THT rcst?), cndy cns, nd slmst sddnly dclrng tht, by gsh, gy sx s ctlly jst fn ftr ll?

  9. Adammtlx–You’re reacting to what you perceive to be a ridiculous overgeneralization with an overgeneralization of your own. JWB spoke of racism in “the darker corners of the right-wing blogosphere.” Druranium said, more broadly, that Republicans have been “stoking the flames of racism.” This is still not the same as accusing all Republicans of being racist. It’s just acknowledging that there has been a good deal of racist sentiment expressed among GOP supporters this year–which is rather hard to refute. The reference to Palin’s “Pro-America” rhetoric certainly seems fair given her belief in the superior moral values of small towns. So who are the close-minded commenters you are referring to? Strawmen? I would agree that it’s wrong to call anyone who doesn’t believe in God an idiot, and it also would be wrong to call anyone who points to flaws in currently popular theories (global warming? evolution?) idiots. But then most of these “flaws” people tend to point out really only evidence flaws in their own reasoning abilities, or sources of information. And when it’s the latter case, it seems fair, if unkind, to ridicule someone who is apparently skeptical of most respected sources of information and expertise yet apparently unwilling to turn the same skepticism against those with which he is predisposed to agree.

  10. Adam -Could it be your own assumptions that are making you sick? Nobody has said that ALL Republicans/ Republican bloggers are stoking the flames of racism. For instance, Michelle Malkin came right out yesterday and said she believed the Ashley Todd show was probably a dumb hoax. But why was it headlining Drudge in blood red block letters yesterday?
    Oh wow – ‘Racism watchdogs are enabling racism’. Well now I’ve heard just about everything.
    You sound awfully persecuted by “The Angry Left”.

  11. this sickens the fuck out of me. i heard about todd thing whilst mindlessly channelsurfing last night. they only showed her face for an instant, then not again all night. nor did they post the pic on their website. so i checked 4tran and voila’! backwards ‘b’. i called shenanigans. i was surprised that hoards with shotguns, torches and pitchforks weren’t out storming the west pennsylvania streets. i must now go and pull all my hair out at the stupidity of the world. or maybe watch some t.v.

  12. Humanity can be pathetic. How can we evolve our knowledge and understanding of the world around us in so many ways, but still remain trapped in such an “us and them” mentality? We go to the moon, cure diseases, take giant technological leaps, but we still can’t work to help and support each other. Instead we insist on superficial distinctions and borders and climb all over and attack each other.

  13. ‘m s nt-Rpblcn s thy cm, nd s scknd nd nfrtd by ths crm s nyn cld pssbly b.

    Bt th vrzls cnsrshp f pnns n Bng Bng cmmnt thrds, t cnfrm t th rgnng grpthnk, s rlly nfrtnt.

    Cmmntrs wh chllng th cnsnss gt, nt jst dltd, bt pblcly snbbd wth th t-ct-by-hlf “dsmvwllng” tchnq.

    Prhps my cmmnt wll b th nxt t g, bt hv t d Vltr hr nd dfnd #9 nd #12 gnst th dgtl nnns wh r tryng t prtct… wht? r dlct snsblts? BB rdrs cn hndl dssntng pnns, thnk. ‘v lwys thght tht prd n pnnss t dssnt ws cr vl f ths st.

    ccsnlly thr r cmmnts tht nd t b mdrtd (th nt n th stntts wy thy crrntly r), bt ll t ftn th mds jst sm t b pwr-trppng r bng wy t vrprtctv.

  14. Maximus, anyone who berates the hosts or other guests and isn’t clever about it gets the gas face.

    Is that news?

  15. “. . . you could see the shadow of the lynch mob forming in the darker corners of the right-wing blogosphere when the Todd story first circulated.”


  16. Knew something didn’t seem right about Todd’s attack. A real attack would have cut the letter into her flesh, not gently scratched the surface. I also wondered how he held her down, because the B was upside-down. I never thought about it being a mirror reverse, duh.

    Palin likes to call these more Pro-America areas the “Real America”. She gave a cursory apology to the rest of us. I especially like how John Stewart and The Daily Show have responded to the McCain/Palin two America comments, saying recently that New York was the Ground Zero of the Anti-America. This is a clip of Stewart telling Palin fuk u at Northeastern University.

    As far as the Nation of Islam being classified as a hate group by the SPLC, let me give you these quotes from their newspaper “The Final Call” Vol. 11, No. 22. I still have the copy I bought from a street vendor in the early nineties. I included these quotes in a piece I wrote illustrating the one size fits all nature of racism. Obviously, The Nation of Islam has good reasons for being pissed, but these comments could just as easily be found in any white supremacist publication.

    “Lets build our resources as a black family and stop the zebra population.”

    “We believe we are the people of God’s choice.”

    “It is far more important to teach separation of the blacks and whites in America than prayer.”

    Ignorance and hypocrisy come in all colors, one size fits all.

    Brandon McClelland’s sickening murder leaves me stunned, but not surprised. There are sundown counties only a few hours from where I live. Some relatives put a pre-manufactured home on some property on the river. The installers were African-American and the job required more than a day. When the relative asked the workers if he could get them a motel room nearby, instead of driving home, they said thanks but no thanks, they would not feel safe there after dark and would rather make the four hour round trip home.

  17. I’ve been to Paris, TX. I was there just last August. The locals are a little exclusive, as many people in smaller towns can be, but they seemed friendly enough.

    This is just monstrous. And the news report of Henry Smith’s death reads like a scene in a horror movie.

    People who do these kinds of things are not even human, as far as I’m concerned. Jesus Christ, can you even imagine yourself burning a man’s eyes out while he cries in pain? Can you imagine yourself gleefully pressing the accelerator and hearing the body under your truck dismembering?

    It isn’t just a hate crime. It’s an act that only a genetically defective psychopath could carry out.

    @14 – That rant reads like something a schizoid junkie would write. That they dedicated the effort not only to write it, but to buy a domain to contain it, reflects that impression.

  18. Maybe next time you visit Paris you should try putting on a little cork, just as an experiment.

    I don’t think it is possible for whites to understand the day to day racism in America. Things have definitely improved, we don’t take home souvenirs from lynchings or burn whole towns.

    From The Black Body as Souvenir in American Lynching by Harvey young
    Theatre Journal – Volume 57, Number 4, December 2005, pp. 639-657

    People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. –James Baldwin, Stranger in the Village Flesh can house no memory of bone. Only bone speaks memory of flesh. –Rebecca Schneider, “Archives: Performance Remains”
    On 2 April 1899, approximately two thousand white men, women, and children participated, as both witnesses and active agents, in the murder of Sam Hose in Newman, Georgia. Sam Hose was burned alive. In the final moments of his life, the assembled crowd descended upon his body and collected various parts of it as souvenirs. The Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican recounted the scene of Hose’s dismemberment in the following manner: Before the torch was applied to the pyre, the negro was deprived of his ears, fingers and genital parts of his body. He pleaded pitifully for his life while the mutilation was going on, but stood the ordeal of fire with surprising fortitude. Before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones were crushed into small bits, and even the tree upon which the wretch met his fate was torn up and disposed of as “souvenirs.” The negro’s heart was cut into several pieces, as was also his liver. Those unable to obtain ghastly relics direct paid their more fortunate possessors extravagant sums for them. Small pieces of bones went…

  19. I hope the mods will keep this from devolving into a “Fuck Texas and everyone in it.” comment thread.

    Texas is big, and it’s not all like Paris and Jasper.

  20. Wow, I’d never heard of Tim Wise. That was brilliant, and really explains why it’s usually white trash (my elitism slipping out) that buys into this “white power” nonsense.

    More on the topic, between this and the McCain/Palin racebaiting, I sometimes wonder if there’s a meat grinder big enough to solve the problem.

  21. Lea, hopefully everyone understands this problem is bigger than Texas, and racism is not confined to white or black.

  22. Come on, for fuck’s sake, surely as a supposedly enlightened nation (I’m not puttingblame on everyone, just responsiblity to change), something should really be fucking done about this kind of thing?

    If creationism is getting into schools, how the hell does anyone expect education to be good enough to deal with racism?

  23. “…you could see the shadow of the lynch mob forming in the darker corners of the right-wing blogosphere when the Todd story first circulated.”

    JWB, can you cite some evidence to back that up?

  24. This is similar to an event that happened a little more than a year before, 40 miles south in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

    Possible Hate Crime Dragging In Sulphur Springs

    Christopher Wright, 26, a black man was picking up his white girlfriend from work and was dragged, though he was knocked loose and survived.

    We need a change. It’s time. Now.

  25. @29:
    “Texas is big, and it’s not all like Paris and Jasper. “

    I’ve gotten so tired of hearing comments like this. “Oh no, don’t say we’re all like that, it’s not us, we’re not all bad people.” No you just let these assholes exist in their safe little communities, where their racism can continue to fester through the generations.

    Nothing has ever been done to stop the perpetuation of this sickness in these towns. The surrounding communities just let them be, and accept their ignorance as something quaint and “just part of that town”. It’s not, you’re all guilty by association. You let them continue to be that way. Maybe, instead of defending the rest of Texas, you should ask yourself “What has Texas done to get rid of these ignorant hateful towns?” If there’s an answer it can only be “NOT ENOUGH”.

  26. The South has its islands of sanity but they aren’t enough.
    There are appalling cycles of generational poverty here (I know this is not exclusive to the region). If you don’t know the South well you would be shocked. There are so many kids in my county who make their way to high school not knowing how to tell time, read, use a ruler. Many of them see no value in being in school. After they are through with school (50% will drop out, some will age out), they dip back down under the radar to a life with no positive options and little encouragement as the cycle repeats. Many families who live in those conditions are unable to advocate for themselves, or are unconvinced that education can lead anywhere. Meanwhile its easy for the dominant culture to point to the failure of these communities as proof that they are superior, or at least that nothing can be done. Every year I mentally prepare to move back up North, or out of the US.

  27. Last night I spent a long time reading comments on a site I googled up (that may be old news to many reading here, but was new to me). It is amazing the level of hatred, racism, fear, and love of violence lies in the hearts of so many of the “good Christian” conservatives. If their postings are to be believed, they are all stocking up on weapons so that they can kill black people when they inevitably start to riot after the election (whether Obama wins or loses). Read some of this, if you have the stomach for it:

  28. @ 32 Frankie – I’m not a mod or anything, but those comments were not simply disagreement, they were insults aimed solely at the hosts and other guests.

    BB does not give THAT sort of thoughtful discourse a platform. THAT is for their own blogsm, where those j###-a##es can rant freely and at their own expense.

  29. dammit BB, i wake up on saturday morning to read some “woderful” things, and this is what i get? and the faux Obama letters weren’t much better.
    i think it is important to bring these things to people’s attention, but i just needed something light today…i have not been this upset in a long time.
    bottom line: murder = hate crime
    there is no difference.

  30. The fuller story in the paper this morning says that the three were long-time friends, and in a group of long-time friends that had more blacks and whites in it. So, the “story” here might in fact be the exact opposite of what is being portrayed: that areas that were viciously racist in the past may have gotten over it.

  31. regarding the Todd story: It first broke online mainstream via Drudge. Anyone following the current political campaign on Drudge would have been deliberately affected by the timing and placement of the item. It was presented quite deliberately in the way that it was to have the effect it initially did. The swift “correction” and “retraction” based on further “revealed” evidence served to protect the publisher from charges of malicious, racist news-bending while still taking full advantage of the media momentum it created.

    It behooves all here to draw back from the immediate election circus and from the peculiarities of domestic American history and cultural practice and clearly remember that some things are JUST PLAIN FUCKING WRONG. Lynching is always wrong. So is contributing to it, Matt.

  32. So, the “story” here might in fact be the exact opposite of what is being portrayed: that areas that were viciously racist in the past may have gotten over it.


    Anywhere that long time ‘friends’ drag each other to death definitely requires further national attention, and possibly a short term excess of law enforcement.

  33. @36, Hollywoodbob,

    It’s not like neighboring cities and counties can just waltz into towns with, shall we say, “less than admirable beliefs” and re-educate the populace by force (even if they wanted to).

    @37, Anthony,

    I recently moved from Austin to Shegoygan, WI, (a blue state on most electoral maps) for a job at an art center. I hadn’t been here a whole month when a little (4’10″ish) old (70ish) white-haired white lady approached me and asked a question about three black children who were happily working away on their art projects. She asked me, “Are they foreign? Are they here making clothes to sell?”

    See, though it is in a blue state and near Milwaukee and Chicago (cities not lacking in diversity), Sheboygan is 87% white and .8% black (according to Wikipedia). With approx. 50k people, that works out to approx. 400 black people in this town.

    Racism and ignorance exist everywhere. Including the North. And that is sad.

  34. Sardenta, I meant to express that sentiment in both of my comments. I moved down south from Chicago which is diverse but famously segregated into the north and south sides.

  35. @38, Anthony
    ,I’m sure it does, I live in Florida, but I do what I can to discourage it. From telling my 84 year old grandmother off every time she disparages black people, refusing service to customers who use drop the N-bomb, to not giving businesses that are racist/hire racists and letting them know exactly why.

    @45, Sardenta,
    There’s a solution far simpler than forced reeducation, albeit far more extreme. Isolation, cut them off to the outside world. Don’t ship goods and services in and refuse services/goods to anyone coming out, cut off their power/phones and send them back to the 1800’s where they belong if they’re not willing to come into the 21st century. Delete them from maps, and close the roads. I know the locations aren’t the cause, and people could move away(providing they wanted to give up nearly everything they have to do so), but when the people aren’t congregated together their influence on each other won’t promote their ignorance. Whether it changes the perspective of the people living there or not, it solves the problem, because being cut off their survival is limited to their own productivity, and people will know not to go there. Think the Simpson’s movie, just filled with angry hicks. Like I said, extreme.

    And yes, racism exists everywhere, in individuals, in the south though, there are entire communities that are racist, it’s a bit different.

  36. Racialicious had a great open thread about Ashley Todd (link: ). At one point a commenter pointed out that this narrative is not new (referencing To Kill A Mockingbird, which I thought was interesting), but made the distinction that at least for this case the police did not instantly believe Todd’s story, but instead put it under the same scrutiny that any other victim’s testimony would go under, and they found that it was false.

    As for McClelland, I can’t describe how disturbing that something Brandon McClelland’s murder can still occur today. Also disturbing, however, is how this horrible crime was handled– and that it went so underreported.

  37. @47,

    Well, I’m with you on boycotting/refusing goods and services. Your other suggestions constitute massive civil/personal rights violations on the level of totalitarianism. Setting that aside, I wish places like that could be wiped out. Behavior and beliefs that lead to violence and hatred tarnish everything that is actually good about people and that area of the country. It’s like bucket of feces thrown in the face of the good people that do exist down there.

    As for your last comment, there are racist communities everywhere! Including the north. That is the point I was trying to make.

    As Anthony said (@46), many northern cities are famously segregated into virtually two cities, one white, one black.

  38. How can we ever heal our wounds when we humans are constantly inflicting more wounds upon ourselves?

    There are those among us who don’t want to heal the wounds, who want to open them up more and throw generous amounts of salt in. I can’t really understand why, no matter how hard I try to make that leap into the psyche of “the other.”

    Consider what an Obama presidency will mean for the truly hateful and racist among us: it will not pacify them. Although there are white supremacists who think an Obama presidency would be a good thing– the logic being that he will ruin the country and whites will flock to the Klan– I doubt Obama could be anywhere near as hurtful to the US as Bush has been (of course W. set the bar pretty high in terms of incompetence), and if Obama turns out to be a decent, competent president, and even wins a second term, THEN what will the Klan do? I can think of only one thing besides disband/dissolve; white supremacists have been longing for a race war forever, I have little doubt they will do whatever it takes to ignite it. I just hope they are thwarted at every attempt, either by the FBI/Secret Service, or by their own stupidity.

    To borrow a line from Pete Seeger, I guess it’s up to all of us to “surround hate and force it to surrender.”

  39. When the title is written “Man dragged to death 200 miles from site of Byrd murder 10 years ago.” instead of ‘black’ man then you’ll know race isn’t an issue.

  40. Lea @29, we have no intention of letting the thread do that.

    Kyle Armbruster, what Tim Wise is talking about is an extremely interesting period of American history. “Black” was constructed as an entirely separate class, practically a separate species, because it was convenient to have a visually identifiable servile population. (Why were plantation owners in the South a few centuries later so concerned about the potentially free status of states carved out of the Louisiana Territory? Because the closer they were to free territory, the harder it was to control their slave population.)

    Wise is right about that early period, when whites were held in near-slavery right along with blacks and captured Indians. Poor whites were phased out as indentures, and granted a small amount of status that set them perpetually at odds with blacks.

    It persisted. During the run-up to the Civil War, pro-slavery agitators would argue “we’re all white men together” in the Appalachian uplands, then come back down to the piedmont and coastal areas and argue (to other members of the ruling class) that in order for civilization to exist, it was necessary to have a class of debased and degraded laborers to do all the heavy work. The latter argument wouldn’t have worked in the Appalachians, where the locals would have recognized themselves as members of that downtrodden laboring class. Likewise, explicit appeals to the brotherhood of all white men wouldn’t have been appropriate in more prosperous and populous areas, where it would have given poor whites ideas unsuited to their station in life.

    Beedie @34, you can go see for yourself. Some damned ugly things got said.

    HollywoodBob @36, stop that. Anti-racist activists who live in the South do some heavy lifting.

    What have you done?

    Darren Garrison @39, you might also want to check out Little Green Footballs. They’re not the bottom of the barrel. They’re just a good place to start.

  41. Another common practice was to round up the “negros” at gunpoint and force them to witness a lynching or parade the victim’s corpse through the “colored” section of town for educational purposes. Here are two accounts of the not so last lynching in Paris, in 1920.

    Arthur lynchings in Paris were 87 years ago
    Staff reports
    Special to The Paris News

    July 6, 2007
    It was July 1, 1920 and the circumstances which were to produce the last lynching in Paris, were rapidly unfolding.

    By July 6, 1920 — 87 years ago today — it was done. History records the details of what happened.

    Herman Arthur, a black World War I veteran of combat in France had convinced his 18-year-old brother, Irvin, the family should not continue to sharecrop because of the constant debt necessitated by advances from the landlord. The family — Scott Arthur (who was born into slavery), his wife Violet, the brothers and two sisters — were planning to move.

    The landowner, Will Hodges and his father, JH Hodges, had a different view of the sharecropping Arthur family. The Hodges perceived the Arthurs to be lazy and “slack about work.” The Paris News accounts from the time indicate a conflict had arisen about the failure of the Arthur family to work the Saturday prior to July 1. The Hodges family became concerned the Arthurs were preparing to leave town owing them a huge debt on advances made under the sharecropping system. They decided to confront the Arthur family.

    On July 1, Will Hodges and his father appeared at the shack of the Arthurs on Stillhouse Road and forced their way inside. The only persons present were the women. The Hodges kicked over the cook stove and food and said they said they would return the next day to talk to the brothers.

    Return they did with guns exposed. Herman and Irvin Arthur were at home, and the conflict erupted into gunfire. Different accounts say one side starting shooting before the other did, but at the end, both Will and JH Hodges lay mortally wounded.

    Herman and Irvin knew they would not be treated kindly or tried fairly. So, they fled town, leaving the family behind and journeyed toward Oklahoma. Word of the shooting spread quickly, and the events were carried on a daily basis in The Paris News. Armed posse spread out across Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma searching for the Arthur brothers. The well-respected farmers, Will Hodges and JH Hodges, were eulogized July 3 and buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

    The frenzy and frustration grew with each passing day as stories and rumors of the hunt for the Arthur brothers saturated the news. The balance of the Arthur family was taken into custody to prevent any communication with the brothers as rumors of a lynching began to spread throughout the region.

    Years later, in an interview, the Arthur family recalled “the whole county was stirred up and started talking that if they couldn’t find the boys then they would just kill the rest of the family.”

    Finally, on July 6, a posse assisted by a black man named Pitt McGrew located and arrested the Arthur brothers in Oklahoma. Against great advice, Herman and Irvin Arthur were returned to Paris and placed in the Lamar County Jail, where a crowd began to gather.

    From the courthouse steps, District Judge Denton requested the crowd to disperse, and asked there not to be a lynching. His plea was ignored. The crowd, using sledge hammers, broke into the jail, removed Herman and Irvin, and took them to the fairgrounds, where the place of execution had been prepared.

    Before a crowd of about 3,000, the brothers were tied to a stake and burned to death. With the bodies still warm, the mob chained them behind a pickup and a caravan proceeded to drive them through the streets and yards of the black sections of town.

    Two intense days of near-riot conditions followed. This was the summer after the Red Summer of 1919, which saw race riots across the United States, including Longview.

    The Paris News reported rumors the “Negroes were assembling and would seek revenge with miscellaneous shootings throughout the evening.”

    On the evening of July 7, the town square filled with dozens of armed white men. Hardware stores throughout the city were looted for ammunition and guns. Finally, the men were organized into squads using Pine Bluff as a black/white dividing line and ordered to stop all movement across the line.

    Paris Mayor Crook was busy on both July 7 and 8, going from place to place attempting to quiet the situation.

    By the evening of July 8, there was still indiscriminate gunfire in the black sections of town, so 200 white people were deputized to patrol the streets under a proclamation issued by Crook.

    The July 8 edition of The Paris News noted: “soon after the lynching, the rumor from an unknown source that the Negroes were holding meetings with the purpose of attacking white people, gained wide circulation and the consequence was that soon the streets were filled with armed men and youths, each under his own command, some having obtained the weapons by breaking into hardware stores.

    Messages went to many homes for the able bodied men to come to the business section, armed, and to get the women and children to places of safety. This added to the excitement. Automobiles with armed men dashed through the streets and there were some desultory firing of guns in various blocks, though whether there were fired a people or just let off in the air, could not be told.”

    Survivors of the Arthur family were released from custody and slipped out of town with help from the Black Masonic Lodge and a few sympathetic white citizens. An exodus of black residents followed, and many of those that remained avoided the fairgrounds for years.

    The Arthur Family made its way to Chicago, where Ervin Hill, a nephew, 6 at the time of the lynching, was interviewed in 1980.

    The Paris News reported the bodies of Herman and Irvin were recovered separately, one the night of July 6 and the other July 7. Both are buried at undisclosed locations in Lamar County.

    One account indicates that five people were indicted for participation in the lynchings, but all of them were found not guilty.

    Now 87 years later, there is no formal recognition of the last lynching with a marker or memorial at the fairgrounds.

    August 22, 1920

    New York, Aug. 18 – On July 6, two colored boys, Irvin and Herman Author, 19 and 28 years of age respectively, were lynched by a mob and their bodies burned, when they were accused of shooting their landlord following a dispute over settlement for crop. Below we give verbatim a letter written to the National Association of Colored People by a reputable citizen of Paris, Texas, where the lynching occurred. His name is withheld for obvious reasons:

    “I am writing concerning a lynching which occurred here last month. Doubtless, you have long since gotten the details, if not I will give you the facts as I witnessed them. Herman and Irvin Author, Negroes with their parents were tenants on Hodges Farm. They were working on halves, a system whereby the landlord furnished his tenants and at harvest time takes halve the crop and the amount with interest which he furnished his tenants during the year.

    Against the usual custom here, Hodges wanted them to work all day every Saturday. This they did for awhile, washing their clothes on Sunday. When they refused to work on Saturdays, Hodges came to their house three days before the murder and took the family dinner off the cook stove, threw it into the yard, his son holding a gun on the Author family.

    “He also threw the furniture and cook stove out of the house, made the boys pull off their overalls and shoes; the girls were forced to surrender their dresses and other clothing, which Hodges carried away with him, together with groceries, claiming they were in debt to him. After this occurred, the family decided to move and secured a truck for the purpose.

    “Hodges fired at them when they were attempting to load the vehicle with their personal effects. One of the Author boys ran to the house, got the shotgun and killed the white man and his son.

    “The Author boys were soon arrested and pleaded self defense in the murder of the Hodges. They were brought to jail in Paris. Hours before signs were displayed throughout the city announcing the forth coming lynching. One that I saw said, “Niggers caught. Black brutes who killed Hodges will be burned in the fair grounds. Be on hand.”

    “A mob of about 3,000 awaited the arrival of the prisoners. Preparations had been made to burn them on the fair grounds, and “Old Glory” was pulled from the flagpole and to this the men were chained, tortured, saturated with oil and burned to a crisp. Their charred, smoking bodies were then chained to an automobile and dragged for hours through the streets, particularly in sections inhabited by our race. It was a regular parade of seventeen cars and a truck, all filled with armed men, crying aloud: “”Here they are; two barbecued niggers. All you niggers come see them and take warning.”

    “ The three Author girls, aged 20, 17 and 14 were in jail on the pretense of protection. They were severely beaten for screaming while the mob was taking their brothers from jail. Later in the night they were taken to the basement, stripped of all their clothing and there assaulted by 20 white men, after which they were given a bucket of molasses, a small sack of flower and some bacon and told to hit the road.

    “Hundreds of Negroes have left Paris since this occurrence. Others who have real estate are planning to leave as soon as possible.”

    If only this were true RJ,

    “It isn’t just a hate crime. It’s an act that only a genetically defective psychopath could carry out.”

  42. This makes me sick to my stomach :( I can’t get the image out of my head. I don’t understand how anyone could do anything like this…even if it was for a reason other than racism (the fact that it was racism makes it even worse). I feel like I’m going to throw up.

  43. Whoa. Do things on this site ever get trigger warnings? I’m not usually one to need them, but whoa. I feel really, really ill.

    More evidence that racism is alive and well, to be ignored by all those who proclaim its demise so loudly.

    Also, to those who were suggesting these men were ‘friends’ and racism wasn’t involved, when other ‘friendships’ go bad to the point of murder, they don’t re-enact famous historical lynchings. Because lynching almost exclusively happens to black men. This wasn’t friendship and it was all about race.

    Oh, ugh.

  44. Anonymous @54, I have the same reaction. I can’t think it’s inappropriate.

  45. I am constantly baffled that the reflectivity of skin is relevant to anything other than choosing sun-cream factor.

    On a related subject, I wish there wasn’t so much disenvowled here. I’d like to have followed the discussion, no matter how offensive I may have found it. I was edited this way and I was really only guilty of holding an opinion contrary to a moderator. Maybe that’s not happening here but of course I can’t tell.

    1. nearlycanadian,

      BB chooses not to host some comments that it finds offensive. Just as it’s your choice what sentiments you display at your house, it’s their choice what they’re willing to have on their blog.

  46. Perhaps the saddest thing about not just this election in general but posts like this in this particular time, is that it brings all of the bigots, racists, hatemongers, and jingoists out in the light for everyone to see.

    It makes me sad, in a way, but I’m glad to see it encouraging such intelligent discussion from the folks who swat it down. That aspect gives me hope.

  47. OK, I get it.

    Expressing polite disagreement with comment censorship policy is itself grounds for being censored (#20).

    I have previously greatly enjoyed adding my thoughts to the discussion here at Boing Boing, and have submitted a number of links over the years, some of which have been posted. But I don’t enjoy tightly policed groupthink.


  48. lft cmmnt hr ystrdy n whch grd wth #31 wh sd: “rcsm s nt cnfnd t wht r blck.”

    ls grd tht ths cld-bldd mrdr nd pssbl/lkly ht-crm gnst Brndn McClllnd s trrbl thng nd th prptrtrs nd t b pnshd.

    ls, hwvr, gv cpl f xmpls f cld-bldd kllngs nd pssbl/lkly ht-crms by blcks gnst whts n spprt f #31’s cmmnt tht rcsm s nt cnfnd t wht r blck. n ddtn, ls gv xmpls f thr ndvdls frm thr rcs/thnc bckgrnds wh fkd ht-crms lk shly Tdd dd.

    Th BngBngrs dcdd nt t pst my cmmnt, whch s thr prrgtv f crs. Bt, gn, fnd t dsppntng tht thy dd — nd tht thy dn’t dscss LL ht-crms cmmttd by sck ndvdls frm dffrnt grps.

    Rcsm s NT cnfnd t wht r blck r ny thr grp. t s, sdly, prt f hmn ntr. n gly prt, bt stll t’s thr.

    gnrng crtn nstncs f t wll NT hlp t gt rd f t.

  49. On a point of fact, an almost identical article was in the New York Sun rather than the New York Times on Feb 1, 1893 according to this article: . There is also an article in the New York Times archive. I wonder whether the New York Times picked up the story and published it, or employed the same correspondent, or subsquently bought the Sun archive or whether both titles bought it from another source. The Sun was the most conservative of the three New York titles at that time.

  50. Jun Girl, in my view, posting a response to my comment that racism is not confined to whites or blacks using examples of black on white crimes, does not illustrate my point or further a discussion of lynching.

    That racists come in a variety of skin colors is a given. That there are racist blacks who have committed hate crimes, is also a given. But does the fact that the Nation of Islam has at times exhibited racism in response to hundreds of years of slavery, abuse, exploitation, torture, and murder excuse the crimes of white racists?

    Your post was not accepted, because posting examples of black on white crime in a discussion of lynching, comes off as apologist. There is no way to do so without appearing to excuse the behavior of murderers and the communities that supported and benefited from their crimes, no matter what other statements accompany your examples.

    As I also said above, there is no way for white Americans to understand what it is like to be non-white in America. In my life, I have had a tiny taste, and if I had to deal with that shit every waking moment of every day of my life, I would probably get a gun and kill every whitey I see.

    I sincerely hope, you take the time to listen to the Tim Wise links Noen provided. Wise’s talks explain perfectly the nature of racism in America and how it controls our lives, white and black.

    I also hope you find the time to read my very long post @#53, which provides two views of a lynching, one white establishment and one black. Also, when you read those accounts realize the whole of N.E. Texas and S.E Oklahoma went looking for those men. Then after they were found, every white, with a few very quiet exceptions, celebrated their murders. We know damn well if the Hodges men had instead killed the Arthurs that day, they would never even be arrested.

    The fact that souvenirs were collected, bought, and sold after many lynchings, then displayed in businesses and homes, further illustrates that lynching was an accepted way of enforcing white rule. How much complaining would you do, if the store owner who ripped you off had your friends ear hanging on his wall?

    Lynching is not about a couple of pissed off white guys beating the crap out of some black guy, or vice versa. Lynching is a tool, used by millions of whites in America to intimidate the black populations in their communities. The goal of lynching is to keep n—-rs in their place, thereby continuing the exploitation and abuse of African-Americans after slavery. Lynching is far more than a simple hate crime.

  51. MaximusNYC @62: “Tightly policed groupthink”? Save the drama for your mama.

    Cowicide @14, you’ve distressed one of your fellow readers, who wrote to me:

    Why do commenters feel the need to be so mean? I don’t understand the purpose of linking to a rant at — I live in “the South” and am just as horrified by this story as anyone.

    He’s got a point there. The story’s bad enough as it is.

  52. Thnks t Ftsnl fr yr rspns (#65) t my pst — nd thnks t th BngBng flks fr pstng my pst!

    <>Ftsnl sd: …pstng rspns t my cmmnt tht rcsm s nt cnfnd t whts r blcks sng xmpls f blck n wht crms, ds nt llstrt my pnt r frthr dscssn f lynchng.

    Srry, gss msndrstd y. ws jst grng wth y tht rcst tttds nd bhvrs cn b fnd n sm ndvdls (t mny, sdly!) n ll grps f ppls. wsn’t cmmntng n lynchng — ws cmmntng n ht crms n gnrl. thnk r wrs gt crssd thr (t lst n my nd thy dd).

    <>Ftsnl sd: Tht rcsts cm n vrty f skn clrs s gvn. Tht thr r rcst blcks wh hv cmmttd ht crms, s ls gvn.

    n ths dn’t gr wth y. t lst, t’s nt pprnt t m tht t’s ” gvn” whn y lk t hw nd whch ht crms (nd crms n gnrl) th MSM rprts (whch s wht ws ddrssng n my rgnl pst). Th thr xmpls f blck-n-wht mrdrs hd gvn n my pst tht ws nt pstd hr (ll f whch fll wll nt th FB’s dfntn f ht crms — s ds, thnk, th mrdr f Brndn McClllnd th mr rd bt t) wr <>brly rprtd t ll n th MSM. n f thm — nd th fct tht thr ws n prr n th MSM — ws cmmntd n by < hrf="http://n.wkpd.rg/wk/Mk_Ryk" rl="nfllw">Mk Ryk bck n 1995 ( thnk t ws). Why s tht?

    <>Ftsnl sd: Bt ds th fct tht th Ntn f slm hs t tms xhbtd rcsm n rspns t hndrds f yrs f slvry, bs, xplttn, trtr, nd mrdr xcs th crms f wht rcsts?

    bsltly nt.

    <>Ftsnl sd: Yr pst ws nt ccptd, bcs pstng xmpls f blck n wht crm n dscssn f lynchng, cms ff s plgst. Thr s n wy t d s wtht pprng t xcs th bhvr f mrdrrs nd th cmmnts tht spprtd nd bnftd frm thr crms, n mttr wht thr sttmnts ccmpny yr xmpls.

    My cmmnt ws n n wy plgst, ssr y — thr s n wy t spprt ht crms (r ny kllng, fr tht mttr, xcpt n slf-dfns) nd d nt.

    Bt, ths s prt f th prblm, thnk. d nt thnk w cn hv n hnst dscssn bt ht crms nd wht css thm nlss w hv FLL dscssn f ll ht crms — .. th fct tht ht crms ccr gnst ppl f ll srts f rcs nd, fr tht mttr, rlgns nd sxl prfrncs nd s n. (Ths wld bvsly ncld lynchng nd th thrt f lynchng.) nd w’r nvr gng t fnd n ctl sltn t ht crms nlss w hv tht hnst dscssn.

    <>Ftsnl sd: s ls sd bv, thr s n wy fr wht mrcns t ndrstnd wht t s lk t b nn-wht n mrc.

    N, thr sn’t. Bt d knw t sm xtnt wht t’s lk t b n tsdr (smn wth sprgr’s) nd t b physclly bsd bcs f t — t th pnt f hvng t b hsptlzd. (N. ‘m nt cmprng wht hppnd t m t bng lynchd r mrdrd — jst syng tht knw lttl bt f wht t’s lk t b htd.)

    Y knw wht lrnd frm tht (nd yrs f rltd trm)? lrnd tht htrd f “Th thr” s dp-std mtn nd sn’t <>jst strtgy t kp whtvr grp w’r tlkng bt dwn. Sr, t cn srv t d tht — bt why ds nyn wnt t kp smn ls dwn?

    Htrd f “Th thr” cms frm vry dp, prmrdl prt f hmn ntr. prt f hmn ntr tht s n ll f s bcs ltmtly w r ll n cmpttn wth ch thr nd, n prtclr, wth mmbrs f thr grps wh r smwht r vn vry dffrnt frm rslvs. (Thnkflly t’s nt th nly prt f hmn ntr — thr’s ls lv nd kndnss nd cprtn.)

    f w wnt t slv th prblm f ht-crms ncldng lynchng, w’v gt t lk t th whl prblm. Fnd th rt cs f wht’s gng n. thnk tht rt cs ls n dpr prts f hmn ntr. nd, fnd t why sm ppl r nbl r nwllng t crb th drkr sds f thr ntr. Bt, ‘m gvn t lkng t ‘bg pctrs’ — pls, dn’t mstk wht sy s dsml f lynchngs nd thr ht-crms gnst frcn-mrcns.

    (<>Ftsnl: Lynchng s nt bt cpl f pssd ff wht gys btng th crp t f sm blck gy, r vc vrs.

    Jst nt — th xmpls hd gvn n my rgnl pst wr f ntr fr, fr wrs thn smn jst btng th crp t f smn ls. Thy wr trly hrrfc dds.)

  53. Some of us — myself included — are entirely too well insulated from the current state of bigotry in America. The SPLC’s _Intelligence_Report_ is eye-opening reading; they seem to do an excellent job of tracking what hate groups of all flavors are up to.

    (I’m not racist. But I must admit that I *am* somewhat classist, and have been trying to break those bad habits. Surely we should have outgrown tribalism by now…?)

  54. @HollywoodBob:

    you’re all guilty by association. You let them continue to be that way. Maybe, instead of defending the rest of Texas, you should ask yourself “What has Texas done to get rid of these ignorant hateful towns?” If there’s an answer it can only be “NOT ENOUGH”.

    by that logic we should also hold YOU responsible for all the hatred and racism associated with Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, and essentially the whole United States.

  55. jdfreivald,

    You’re triggering BB’s automatic immune system with all those links. But even if your comment made it through, we generally don’t approve links to partisan blogs.

  56. Thanks for letting me know, Antinous. Here’s a post without the actual links:

    Yes, it’s heinous. It makes me want to throw up. The lynchings in the late 1800s, when I learned about them some years ago, shocked me and made my skin crawl — a century doesn’t seem that long ago for something like this to be happening.

    But I think this comment goes much too far: Today it doesn’t go quite that far but you could see the shadow of the lynch mob forming in the darker corners of the right-wing blogosphere when the Todd story first circulated. The “lynch mob” promoted by the right-wing blogosphere is mostly virtual, and generally involves acts of law. To act as though there are millions of salivating whites out there wanting to torture and kill the man who marred Todd’s face (if he had been real) is hyperbolic and unwise.

    Look at right-wing threads about the “assault” on Free Republic, Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs, and Hot Air. Even though some people believed things too quickly, many didn’t. And although there appear to be racists (though be careful: it’s hard to tell right-wing wackos from left-wing trolls), there were very few, and many people were waiting for more details before making judgments.

    Most importantly, there was no “lynch mob forming”. In my opinion, claiming that there was is hyperbolic and even irresponsible.

    If we must look at this through the lens of the Ashley Todd incident, let’s do it with the understanding that she personally is an outlier, and that the vast majority of conservatives does not want anything like a lynching.

    An opinion given in the Wall Street Journal the other day seems much closer to the mark, to me. Let’s not let a small absolute number (even smaller in percentages) of vicious incidents turn us away from the relatively good race relations we have today.

  57. “race relations”, I do not not like this term. Either you have functioning human relations or you don’t. “Race” relations somehow justifies the evil done by the fearful ignorant.

  58. Takuan @ 73 – does that extend to relations with republicans? and christ-ians or the otherwise religious?

  59. Takuan, what I mean is “relations between people of different races”. We both want those relations to be, as you put it, “functioning”. It needn’t be used to justify the evil done by the fearful ignorant, but if you prefer a different equivalent term, I’ll use it.

  60. It is incredibly disturbing that things like this still go on in our country, and yet, very little is actually being done about it. I watch the news regularly and I heard about the Ashley Todd ordeal right away, and sadly, this is the first I’ve heard about the dragging of Brandon McClelland. Condolences to his family and friends.

  61. I would like a different term. Something that immediately makes apparent the act of noticing of the absurdly trivial markers of what some call “race” as deficient in reasoning and even pathological.

  62. We’ll disagree, then, because you’re looking for a term that favors your ideology.

    You’re asserting here that race doesn’t exist, when in fact these “absurdly trivial markers” rank pretty high in the list of coalitional indicators for most people. Until people literally no longer notice others’ races — which I doubt will ever happen, frankly, and I think we’d be poorer for it if it did — then calling racial identification “pathological” seems like sticking your head in the sand.

    I have seen materials that claim that physical markers can become unimportant in determining social coalitions (e.g., Kurzban, Tooby, Cosmides, “Can Race Be Erased?”), and that “no part of the human cognitive architecture is designed specifically to encode race”.

    This shows that racial cues can be superceded by more fruitful ones for a particular scenario. For instance, in the study, yellow vs. grey shirts became more important for identifying coalitions than race (Euro-Americans vs. African-Americans).

    But that doesn’t make our “absurdly trivial markers” absurd or trivial. Even without cognitive machinery dedicated to racial identification, we’ve used the Race Meme to identify members of in-groups and out-groups for millenia; thus the meme must be selectively advantageous in some circumstances. You can dislike the meme all you want, but if you want to kill it then you’ll need to make other cues more selectively advantageous than racial markers.

    In short: if you want to erase race, you have to change the world first. Until the world is changed, you have to cope with the fact that race exists.

    What we do about the fact that race exists — well, that’s another, perhaps more important, conversation.

  63. until adolescence, I was race-blind. I have lived in various cultures and know for a fact that people can and do live oblivious to “race”. I have been the majority, the minority and one of balanced blend. When I meet people,I use the information of their race to extrapolate how they have been likely discriminated against by other races and how they will likely react to me – base on THEIR probable prejudices. But I presume nothing until they prove something. My view on “race” is not “ideology”;

       /ˌaɪdiˈɒlədʒi, ˌɪdi-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ahy-dee-ol-uh-jee, id-ee-] Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun, plural -gies.
    1. the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
    2. such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
    3. Philosophy.
    a. the study of the nature and origin of ideas.
    b. a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.
    4. theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.

    unless you refer to the third meaning. I find the tenor of your last comment such that I conclude you have closed your mind altogether.
    As despairing as I am of humanity’s antics in general, I have not given up to the extent you have.

  64. how to kill the ignorant delusion of “race”: make the biomedical procedures that alter/erase physical signs of “race” better,cheaper and widely available.
    Though what I would really like to see is a wildly contagious virus bio-engineered to peak melanin production in all humans.

    Once we kill the coarser outward labels, people will revert the obviously wholly synthetic. Those we kill using the vulnerability of data in an information society.

  65. While it is always good to remember again how brutal our country can be and has been, particularly where race is concerned, there are some real questions about this case.

    From the AP:

    McClelland died after going with two white friends on a late-night beer run across the state line to Oklahoma, investigators said. Authorities said he was run over and dragged as far as 70 feet beneath the truck. His torn-apart body was discovered along a bloodstained rural road on Sept. 16. . . .

    . . .

    Prosecutors in the McClelland case said they are looking into whether one of the defendants, Shannon Keith Finley, was in a white supremacist gang while in prison for killing a friend.

    But they said they have seen no evidence so far that McClelland’s slaying was racially motivated. And they noted the three men had been friends for years.

    “This is a group of guys who had black friends and white friends,” said Allan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Lamar County district attorney’s office. He added: “Any comparison to Jasper and James Byrd is preposterous.”

  66. Man, those disemvowelled postings are aggravating. I see responses to them, but I can’t read the posts, because of this juvenile censorship process that this site has instituted.

    It makes such comments unreadable. I imagine someone thought it was a very clever solution, but it’s not. It’s puerile and pointless.

    If it ever was clever, the tee-hee factor must have worn off by now. Please just let comments be, or if you feel you must censor disagreeable ideas, just face up to it and remove them.

  67. Ausjeb, have I just failed to notice white guys getting dragged to death under cars?

    Also, this Shannon Keith Finley guy, the one who may have been in a white supremacist gang in prison, was doing time for killing a friend. Given his record, saying that he and the deceased had been friends for years isn’t as exculpatory as it might be in some other cases.

    Noen, thanks for the Tim Wise links. I have now cumulatively watched a couple of hours of Tim Wise on YouTube.

  68. This is a long post, so I will have to cut back on my contributions after this.

    Takuan @80: until adolescence, I was race-blind. I have lived in various cultures and know for a fact that people can and do live oblivious to “race”.

    I’m not sure why we should display our credentials, but for years I didn’t know that my black brother and my American Indian brother were thought of as “different races”.

    People can avoid noticing race, but they also do notice race. Based on your comment here, I’d say that’s not inherently bad:

    When I meet people,I use the information of their race to extrapolate how they have been likely discriminated against by other races and how they will likely react to me – base on THEIR probable prejudices.

    So you use the “absurdly trival markers” to make pre-empirical guesses about the probable prejudices of people whom you haven’t met. That’s apparently not racist, nor an example of deficient reasoning, nor pathology. Do you agree?

    But I presume nothing until they prove something.

    Of course not. If 99% of a race, religion, political party, etc. had a characteristic, that implies that 1% of actual people in those groups don’t have it. Presuming something about an individual just because they belong to a group isn’t fair to that individual. Even saying “those Republican bastards are all greedy, cretinous liars” is a little unfair to generous, truthful Republicans. (Go ahead, make “black swan” jokes now…)

    So there you have it. Without being a racist, you acknowledged that racial cues correlate statistically to various characteristics. And even so, you know that an individual might differ from your expectations.

    It may not be intentional, but you make an excellent case study in what good race relations can be.

    My view on “race” is not “ideology”; [snip] unless you refer to the third meaning. I find the tenor of your last comment such that I conclude you have closed your mind altogether.

    I’m trying to argue thoroughly, not trying to be belligerent. You said that the act of noticing of the absurdly trivial markers of what some call ‘race’ as deficient in reasoning and even pathological. I was engaged in “pathological thinking” by talking about race, so naturally I called your statement strongly into question.

    Now that you’ve admitted that you notice racial cues to infer the probability that some people have specific prejudices, perhaps we’re closer to seeing eye to eye?

    As for the choice of the word “ideology”, what’s wrong with the first definition? The body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group. How is your view on race not a body of belief that guides an individual?

    For that matter, it’s not far from #2 (I’m not implying that you’re a fascist — just noting that your belief appears to have a political component). And I think race isn’t likely to be eliminated from human consciousness anytime soon, so #4 might fit, too, though we can agree to disagree on that.

    As despairing as I am of humanity’s antics in general, I have not given up to the extent you have.

    Who has given up? Black really is beautiful. So is white and yellow and red. I wouldn’t want to give up variety in race any more than I would in ethnicities, foods, colors of tree leaves, landscapes, or almost anything else.

    But I can only notice that black is beautiful if I don’t ignore the “absurdly trivial markers” of race.

    I don’t want to sound too snarky, but maybe you have given up on the possibility that different races can be distinct and yet get along. I haven’t. Once upon a time it was tough to be Irish or Italian in New York City, and now we have the Saint Patrick’s Day parade and a former mayor named “Giuliani”. We celebrate the Irishness of the Irish and the Italianness of the Italians. Why can’t we also celebrate the Blackness of Blacks and the Whiteness of Whites? That takes a change of mind, but we’ve already shown ourselves to be adaptive enough of a species to allow for that to happen.

  69. No, not as in “tolerate”. As in “celebrate”: We celebrate the Irishness of the Irish… etc.

    Perhaps we can’t communicate, but if you’re willing to try I would still like to understand how you reconcile your use of racial cues with your disparagement of the use of racial cues.

  70. Both murders mentioned in the article were bad (I’ll spare the obvious superlatives modifying “bad”). But their juxtaposition here seems to me like an overeager editorial choice: the prior lynching involved a huge cheering crowd, while the recent one was a relatively intimate affair. That makes the two events not very comparable in the scope of what they say about the community. Plenty of outrage is due over the recent outrageous murder on its own (dis)merits—there’s no need to make hyperbolic comparisons.

  71. This post has sickened me for many reasons. Both sides of my family are from Paris, TX — and have been living there for more than a century. I’ve known about, and avoided, the history of that town since I first read it.

    What’s made me all the more disturbed is the fact that my grandmother was a Finley. No matter how far I run, I am still going to be an inbred hick from Paris. Shit.

  72. WTF? I mean,what the fuck?? I looked at your art, what are you going on about? Next you’re going to say you believe in Original Sin? Cut it out, quit wasting time.


    Cowicide @14, you’ve distressed one of your fellow reader

    Sorry about that. I consider it a bit tongue-in-cheek myself and it’s only referring to the cliché, racist southerners out there. I have friends in the South and they find it hilarious, but I agree that considering the seriousness of this topic it wasn’t appropriate and just stokes the flames in that context, so I apologize.

  74. Mac, It’s been said that revenge is a good reason to become an artist. Anyway, one’s origins can definitely fuel the creative fires. Let them run from you, not the other way around.

  75. im african american its ashame that in our country today that people smile in our faces and turn around and stab us in the back for being black all we have is god to rely on to take care of these persons for what they did my heart goes out to the mclean family my god be with them in this time of tragedy god help the persons whom committed this awful crime.

  76. I used to live in a hateful town called Bedias Tx. The “fine” people there would let those of color enter one of the churches only through a back/side door. A neighbor called the Sheriff out because I was hiring young men of color, instead of the white boys.
    Same party complained to a deputy that I was giving Easter baskets to the “nagger” kids and none to the white kids. Deputy told here it was mine to do as I pleased with. I wouldn’t give the whites there the stink off my sweat. Just another hateful racist Texas town.
    Anonymous White Dude.

  77. I’m a Law enforcment officer and if you want to make a difference report every thing you see, I urge it.

    This type of hate is everywhere, even in your own back yard be aware. it has to stop.


Comments are closed.