Friday, January 11, 2008

A Different Perspective

Last night, I mentioned to Kelly Tilghman saga to my wife and repeated the Golf Channel anchor's words; that the only way rival players could defeat golfing superstar Tiger Woods was by ganging up to 'lynch him in a back alley.'

Without explaining any further, my wife's eyes widened and she gasped: "Oh my God! She can't say that! That's soooo wrong."

Which made me consider that maybe the Tilghman saga is more of a story than I'd claimed it to be.

Being British, the term 'lynching' to me brings up images of Wild West cowboys stringing up a (Caucasian) rustler or black South Africans hanging other black South Africans (or the grisly practice of 'necklacing' somebody, by putting a rubber tyre around their torso, filling it with petrol and setting it alight.)

But to an American like Tina - brought up in a culture that's deceptively similar to my own, but intrinsically different in several key historical and sociological factors - lynching always means a white gang (normally dressed in sheets) stringing up a black victim.

As a Brit, I interpreted Tilghman's words differently to the way an American might. I think it's worth clarifying that.

I still think Al Sharpton's incendiary words are hateful, manipulative and he's willing to ruin a nice young woman's career for the sake of a few more column inches - but don't let his careless trampling alter the facts of the matter.

Kelly Tilghman meant no offense and she should not be vilified any further.

Judge Lynch

It has also been suggested that there is a third theory regarding the origin of the term 'lynching.'

Some credit it to Judge Charles Lynch, a Virginia judge who punished supports of the British during the American War of Independence. His policies of property seizures and whippings were known as 'Lynch Law.'

Charles Lynch's timeline overlaps that of Captain William Lynch, who I have credited as the originator of the term 'lynching.'

I still maintain William Lynch was the first 'lyncher' since the very definition of a 'lynching' is a group of people issuing punishment without any legal authority.

William Lynch and his neighbours did just that, signing a compact in 1780 to uphold their own form of justice in lawless Pittsylvania, Virginia.

By the fact that he was a judge, Charles Lynch negates himself from any involvement in 'lynching.' He had the legal authority to administer his rough brand of justice and although it was brutal and unfair, it was still 'legal' in the strict sense of the term.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yet another racist apologist