35 thoughts on “TOTALLY INNOCENT

  1. “I think they knew what they was doing.”

    Really, news team that wrote this article? Couldn’t clean up the quote to keep the spirit without including the poor grammar? Couldn’t make the kid responding look a little better?

    And it’s possible these kids weren’t intending or even thinking they were being racist. All the same, how about we just drop lynchings as a form of ‘comraderie’ altogether, even if you’re trash talking the Klan Central High Wizards? Then we don’t have these ‘misunderstandings’ in the first place.

    • Freelance copy editor here. In journalism, you use the AP Stylebook, and you CANNOT just “clean up” quotes like you’re suggesting.

      If you were going to ignore that and do it anyway, you’d have to write it like this in order to comply with academic English guidelines: “I think they knew what they [were] doing.”

      But that draws even more attention to it. And saying that formal English needs to be used to make people look better demonstrates a lack of understanding about and respect for differing dialects and the contexts in which they’re used. Which is why AP style doesn’t permit it.

      In other words, correcting it wouldn’t make the kid look better. It would only make the editor look inexperienced and/or disrespectful.

    • Another copy editor signing in to say that rushgirl2112 is correct. You can’t just go and change people’s words to fit standard academic English, and if you do, you must indicate the change using brackets. Spoken quotes are the speaker’s words, not the newspaper’s.

      Back in college, when I worked at the university paper, I had to discipline subordinates for doing exactly what you suggested.

    • Or you could just remove the quotes altogether and simply say the person they spoke to thought this was intentional and that the rival team knew what they were doing with this display. I’m aware you have to either quote directly or use the square brackets to denote wording changes, when quoting a source. You also don’t have to use a direct quote every time.

      • So it’s better to remove the voices of people who don’t speak “correctly”–to replace them with the writer’s summary–than to portray their thoughts as they expressed them?

  2. RANT time… the parents should be ashamed to cultivate this attitude with these boys. And yes, they are boys that have the worst to offer society. This was learned.
    And it sucks that they don’t understand why the 97% of the real world can never figure out why we think they’re dicks.

  3. After his defeat by McCaskill, Todd Akin found further controversy in his coaching career.
    actually…I do believe the kids when they say that they meant nothing racial. I mean, shit…outa 8 affluent kids I’m sure ONE of them woulda said “boys, this is a DUMB idea” if the intent were racial. I agree with Branchy, actually; this stupidity appears to be more out of naivete. I assume so, and hope so. Because, if so, then as ill-advised, and “where the FUCK were the adults when this picture was taken” je ne sais quoi of it all – it would imply that we’ve possibly reached a critical mass of social consciousness and have transcended from the ugly past to the point where these kids, buffered by the decades, simply associated this whole episode’s design with effigy-mutilation rather than racial lynching.
    Sorry…but I agree with Branchman – this just plain seems like over-reaching screeching from the e’er-ready Butt-Hurt Brigade.

  4. Going to have to agree with Branchman and DarkSock.

    There’s nothing that was said in the article that directly links the dummy to racism. It seems that the team being all-white was just all that was needed for that “news media” to write the story they wanted to tell.

    Basically, it just seems like they used the dummy available, which happened to be made of black leather. Does that still excuse the lynching image? Not at all, but claiming that it was racist because the dummy was black is just stretching it.

    “The inanimate figure in the photograph is a wrestling dummy, which is owned by the Phillipsburg High School, and is used in our daily practices, and is used by most high school wrestling teams.”
    “It is our understanding,” Wilhelm said, “that the dummies are manufactured in only dark leather. In outfitting the wrestling dummy, we did not give any thought to the physical appearance of the dummy as anything other than an unidentified, generic wrestler – clothed in a Paulsboro T-shirt over a Kittatinny [High School] singlet.

      • But here’s the thing, I don’t think the target was a minority. I think they just used the dummy they had available, and it’s a dummy made out of black leather. It’s not a black dummy as in “Let’s hang all black people”, it’s a “Hey, let’s hang a dummy wearing a Paulsboro T-shirt because we’ll beat the crap out of them next match”

        By no mean does it excuse lynching, it was a very stupid decision, but I do not believe it to be racially motivated. I’d need a lot more evidence than that to say that this was ill-intended towards black.

          • And yet you’ve just said “Again, lynching is never innocent when the targets are minorities.”

            All I’m saying is that hanging a dummy was really stupid, but it wasn’t done with the intention of targeting minorities, it’s just hanging a dummy sporting the colors of the opposing team which they will be facing next. Doesn’t excuse lynching a dummy for a photo, but it’s not racially motivated, and this story has gotten way bigger than it ever should have.

          • I don’t profess to know what’s in their hearts, I just recognize that it’s really bad form with horrific racial connotations.

            You shouldn’t claim to know what’s in their hearts, either. How can you definitively state it wasn’t racially motivated? Because the kids said so? What are they supposed to say?

            Stories like this get big for a reason. They are shameful reminders that we still have a ways to go in this country.

          • Would you care to explain the two boys directly on the right side of the dummy, heimn? Because I’m really interested in hearing an explanation of how two boys just happened to put something under their hoods to make them stand up all pointy like that in this context and it’s in no way connected to anything racist.

          • @Bronc

            As I’ve said in my second post, we’d need more evidence to claim that it was racially motivated. Cases like Zimmerman or Dunn are very clear, but cases like these are not at all. I think it’s really counterproductive to jump the gun and pull up the racist card so quickly.


            I’m not sure exactly about the pointy hoodies, but I don’t think it’s something only black folks do…

          • “I’m not sure exactly about the pointy hoodies, but I don’t think it’s something only black folks do”

            Ummmm . . . now I see the problem. Haven’t you ever heard of the KKK? White pointed hoods? Black people didn’t wear them – they were targeted by people who did the lynchings!

            Seriously, I don’t know how anyone could not know this, unless you’re being deliberately obtuse or are very young and frighteningly uninformed.

          • haha, @Rushgirl – you are spot on. I saw that pic, and immediately saw the two dudes to the right of the dummy that are OBVIOUSLY replicating the KKK hoods.
            @Heimn, I doubt they wanted to bring in their passion for the movie Coneheads, so save your next comment.

  5. For those of you saying, “It’s not about racism”: Well, it is. Just because these ‘8 affluent kids’ didn’t see it doesn’t mean that every kid of color shouldn’t either is ridiculous. If it had been eight black kids hanging a white dummy with their hoods up and throwing gang symbols, every white kid seeing that would have recognized the implied threat. But a team comprised of black or latino kids wouldn’t have done it, because they KNOW they would get in trouble because they would know it was racist, and white folk don’t stand for racism against them.

    Also, I am not so sure this was as innocent as they say. See the two boys with their hoods up? Is that the way they wear hoodies normally, or are they trying to make them look like HOODS.

    • Yeah, I really don’t understand how all these people saying it was unintentional are missing the freaking hoods.

      I give that about 0.0000000001% of a chance that not just one but two boys in the picture just happened to have put something underneath their hoods to make them stand up all pointy like that without any connection to taking this picture and without any knowledge of the connection between pointed hoods and the KKK. Especially the one in the white one.

      But yeah, that’s way more likely than them trying to get out of trouble by lying about their real intentions. Because teenagers never do that. Right.

  6. It is hard for me to imagine that among eight high school students, who have undoubtedly recently studied U.S. history, at least some among them were aware of the racial implications of what they appeared to be doing. My gut reaction is that they are a bunch of douchetards who thought it would be hilarious to do this because racial violence is funny to them and sends a barbed message of intimidation towards the more racially diverse “rivals.”

    But for argument’s sake, let’s assume for a second that that they did this “innocently.” Though even without racial overtones, hanging someone in effigy is not really innocent. But as Bronc points out, you can’t separate such an act from racial overtones.They are there, whether or not you are personally aware of them. High school students are old enough, and should be educated enough to understand that not only is lynching a charged subject, but it is going to look incredibly racist to be lynching an apparently dark skinned effigy in the costume of a team that is probably more racially diverse than their own. In other words, it is their responsibility as citizens to be aware of how their acts may affect others, and they shouldn’t get the privilege of claiming innocence of their knowledge of history and race relations in this country, just because they are white. If, and I have a hard time believing his, but if they truly were all completely unaware of the context of this act, they fail as people anyway, in not knowing by now how horrendous this appears.

    But I don’t believe that. The internet is awash with racist jokes about horrendous subjects such as lynching, especially whenever a black celebrity or politician is in the news. I would find it even harder to believe that these kids haven’t been exposed to that as well, and that they thought it would earn them major points to contribute to this swill as well as tweak the other team where it hurts the most.

  7. It’s like someone threw a firecracker into a hen-house up in here.

    Just some jock lunk-heads dissing a rival team in an ignorant manner that blew up in their faces. Suppose they’d set fire to a straw dummy with a Paulsboro jersey on it; now they’re mocking Buddhist Monks that practiced immolation? What if they beat a broomstick dummy with a horsehead mask on it – Oh, I guess now they’re threatening Sarah Jessica Parker. Maybe there was some racial subtext; all I know is what got filtered through some hack newspaper article. But what I think is far more likely is that this incident was amplified in a crass and routine way to sell papers and internet blog ad time, regardless of the scarlet letter getting branded on a bunch of kids who just received a hard lesson about PC screechers hungry for fodder.

    Although it did deflect the issue of boys in bright tights rolling around on top of each other sweating and grunting like it’s a brawl in a Turkish bath-house.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  8. Ok, I completely missed the ‘popped’ hoods on the first viewing (I’m blaming the background for making the white one semi-blend in). Nope, racism, at the very least on the part of those two, and I doubt the other kids either didn’t notice or didn’t get to hear those two idiots yammer on about it after the pic was taken.

    Unless these kids want to try for some bullshit excuse about reppin’ for Gandalf or something…

  9. I can’t definitively say it was “innocent” either, the peaked hoods were a bit of a giveaway. And the whole ‘lynching’ thing is just tacky and really awful.

    BUT at a music festival down here in Oz, a band called GWAR decapitated an effigy of our much maligned and despised prime minister, and I couldn’t be happier!! Nothing racist about this one, we just all hate the douchecanoe.

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