A Halloween lynching display was ordered to be removed from a home on the Fort Campbell Army base in Texas. An investigation into the display took place after Public Affairs for the base received a report of the exhibit, which they felt was “offensive in nature.” The occupant of the residence removed the display once they were informed of the community’s concerns.
The display showed an African-American family hanging from a tree on the front lawn of the home. One of the children had a knife in his back while a sign, which was not legible, was attached to what appeared to be the father as another young child clung to the man’s ankles in an attempt to help. The residents of the property said they did not mean for the display to be offensive and offered an apology, but many have questioned its sincerity finding it hard to believe there could have been a positive motive.
Brendalyn Carpenter, Public Affairs spokesperson, said authorities believed the display could be interpreted in an offensive manner even though, reportedly, this was not the intention. She said:
Displays of an offensive nature are not reflective of Army values and the family friendly environment provided for employees and residents of the Fort Campbell community.
It is a shame that what began as an ancient pagan festival for the dead, and transitioned to a day of costumes and festivities coupled with treats for children, seems to be turning into more of a cover for racists to show their true colors or others to make light of very serious situations. Murder, domestic violence and issues surrounding slavery are nothing to joke about or mock. These are issues which continue to plague this nation and should not be taken lightly.
Recently a man wore a Ray Rice costume for Halloween while pulling the hair of a blow up doll to represent the ex NFL player’s wife, Janay Palmer-Rice. Rice was suspended indefinitely from the NFL after a video was released of a domestic violence situation where Janay was knocked unconscious. Not only did the incident generate a lot of controversy but, domestic violence is alive and well around the globe and nothing to joke about.
Last year a couple thought it was funny to re-victimize the family of slain teen Trayvon Martin by wearing a black-face costume representing Martin and his killer George Zimmerman. A 25-year-old man named William Filene dressed for Halloween with a black painted face, in a bloodstained hoodie with a bullet hole. His accomplice, dressed as Zimmerman wearing a neighborhood watch t-shirt, positioned his fingers in the shape of a gun and held it to Filene’s head.
On the heels of the racial tension which has been refueled after the recent killings of unarmed black men by law enforcement, a lynching display is not the wisest option for Halloween or any other time. Lynching was commonplace for many African-Americans growing up in the South during the 19th and 20th centuries. It was used as an act of terror to spread fear while maintaining the act of white supremacy in political, social and economic spheres.
Ultimately this is not about guilt or innocence, conservative or liberal, red or blue states; it has everything to do with being a decent human being within these United States of America. A family in Texas, on the Fort Campbell Army base, thought it was a good idea to display an African-American family being lynched for Halloween. While some view Halloween as an opportunity to have light-hearted fun, the lynching display has definitely taken it too far.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)