Readers, this is an experiment. Do it quickly and without thinking about it, or looking in a mirror. Ready?
If you're right handed, with your index finger, draw a capital letter 'B' on your left or opposite cheek.
Remember where the vertical line is. Is it closer to your nose with the loops toward your ears, or the opposite?
If a friend or family member is available, ask them to do this experiment on their own face, then on yours. Remember, no mirror. I tried this on my kids as soon as I saw her below. They hadn't seen the story nor knew why I asked, and their self-drawn 'B's were backwards - just as I suspected they'd be.
I ain't saying this woman in the news reads my blog, or the black blogs and comments where folks of color have been expressing their fears of white mob violence if McCain loses, but this story, if untrue, will appear designed to do the reverse.
Maybe she saw that YouTube video of the young black woman riding a bicycle and run down by hater screaming nigger this and nigger that and all blacks should be killed.
Or maybe she's seen the bad press about the haters at the McCain and Palin rallies, and decided to do a little PR work to make Obama supporters look dangerous since we're such a peaceful and happy lil' rainbow of change seekers.
Or maybe her story is true. But this is what her 'B' looked like on her face:
I mean, really, there could be a dyslexic, 6'4 black man running around in Pittsburgh and guilty of robbing this 20 year old woman of $60 at an ATM, then seeing a McCain sticker on her car, and in a rage, assaulted her and carved the letter 'B' on her cheek. That's what this McCain volunteer alleged happened to her yesterday. Maybe it did.
Or maybe it didn't. I don't how quickly white folks bruise, but a shiner like the one on her eye doesn't look super fresh like the reversed 'B' on her cheek.
It's a fishy story, like the hundreds if not thousands of stories throughout American history where a black men was blamed for committing a crime to cover up the motive or crime by a white person.
Remember the news story of one of McCain's key supporters, Florida Congressman Bob Allen? In July 2007, he was busted in a men's restroom after offering $20 to give a blow job to an undercover black male cop. The reason he gave was his "fear of black men". He was convicted, resigned, but has appealed his case.
If Bob hadn't used the common fear of black folks defense, I'd be sympathetic to him because addiction to anonymous sex, if that's his issue, is a monster that some people really have. No one should ever be in office or work in a helping or teaching profession either if they fear another race. It's just bad for the public good.
Then there's the 1989 case of Boston area resident Charles Stuart, who alleged that a black man abducted and robbed them, then shot his pregnant wife in the head and himself in the stomach while they sat in their car. Boston residents and the country was outraged and called for a reenactment of the death penalty.
Boston cops made life miserable for a number of blacks, especially the man they arrested and his mother whose home they trashed. Stuart identified him a line up, and this poor black man would still be rotting in jail, except that Stuart's brother, Matt identified Stuart as the real killer. The motive? Insurance money. Stuart was on his way to being found guilty when he committed suicide in jail.
Boston's former Mayor, Ray Flynn, who had been and anti-school busing proponent when younger and in the 70s, refused to apologize for the city's actions. The family of Stuart's wife, however, set up a scholarship fund for underprivileged kids in the black area where the murder took place. Now that made me misty-eyed.
Then there was that famous 1994 story I'll never forget. Susan Smith, the South Carolina white woman alleged a black man carjacked her car with her her baby and three year old in it. She kept up this lie for nine torturous days - torture for both whites who became enraged and fearful that a crazy, violent black man was at large and a threat to their community, and blacks for the same reason, plus being distressed by the new low in racial relations. The truth revealed she drowned her children by releasing her car in a lake.
I truly believe there are more good people than bad. The Union City, SC sheriff proved this. He handled Susan Smith with kid gloves. He suspected a lie, and finally got her to confess. She's still doing time, but she never apologized to blacks or whites for worsening the racial divide and stirring up the hate she did with that outrageous lie.
Mob violence, lynchings, and imprisonment, often stemming from false allegations of 'a nigger raped, assaulted, or stole from me' stories are more untold than told. I have no question that many racist perpetrators of crimes have gone unquestioned and free while blacks suffered or died from lies.
How did Smith, Stuart, Allen or others learn to blame blacks for their own behavior? I mean, if they get questioned, or caught for doing wrong and plan to lie, why not simply blame it on someone in their race?
Two answers. One is that a white person may feel guilty about sending another white person to jail based on their lie.
Call it group loyalty or tribalism. Neither is necessarily bad, but when innocent people in another group or tribe is harmed because of it, it is.
The other answer lies in our terrible, terrible history of stereotyping an ethnic group of people exploited and abused for centuries for their free and later, cheap labor, and who were brutally separated from their spouses, family, and also raped.
While we think of black women being the victims of rapes, knowing how the worst of all humanity behaves, we can assume that black children were molested, and male teens and young adults were raped or exploited too since they were utterly defenseless and powerless in filing complaints about it.
For one group to be comfortable with the chronic abuse of another, they have to vilify that group in order to feel justified about their actions. Otherwise they feel guilty for their brutality.
This is sort of the way I rationalized why we ate meat to my daughter when she was very young, after learning it came from animals.
"But the poor chickens! Or pigs, cows or fish! I can't believe we kill them!"
I know pigs are smart and felt a twinge guilt, but I passed the plate and said, "Well, we have to eat, so God made them stupid on purpose so they wouldn't understand or have any feelings about it. For example, chickens are so dumb they'll run around after their heads are cut off."
She giggled and grabbed a drumstick.
This mentality, extended to people belonging other groups, is why these kinds of stories continue. Minorities, as well as the white poor, i.e., the coal miners, have also been treated like chickens in this country for a very long time.
I can't discount the allegations of the McCain supporter because I wasn't there, and so far there's no evidence beyond her statements to prove her story otherwise. The police have some doubts, but she really could be a victim of loony black backlash. If so, she has my condolences.
On the other hand, if she's lying, this is yet another case of white backlash over a more than possible Obama Presidency bringing change to this country.
I find great comfort that over half of white American voters in the polls don't consider us 'chickens', and I personally thank them for embracing Obama and change. For my black brothas and sistahs, group hug time. Most of us, I pray, will get through this. Somehow we always have.
Update, 10/24/2008 @ 7:30 PM. It was a lie and the plot thickens and the McCain campaign was unethical in promoting this. Keith Olbermann's commentary below; the first part is really interesting.
Hat Tip: Acts of Faith & Love In Life