Apparently, all of us offended by Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s “joke” about being in the “front row” of a “public hanging” are overreacting.
Yep, that’s the spin that Hyde-Smith and her people are putting on the Senate hopeful reprehensible remarks. Don’t forget that Hyde-Smith is running for Senate in the lynching capital of America. Mississippi had the highest number of lynchings in the nation between 1882 and 1968, according to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Oh, and also don’t forget that Hyde-Smith is headed for a runoff on Nov. 27 for said Senate seat against former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy, a black man, in a state know for racially motivated lynchings.
But we’re being sensitive because the “joke” Hyde-Smith made is being overblown and taken out of context.
In a video that has now been shared across all social platforms, Hyde-Smith appears to be speaking during a campaign event about support from a Mississippi rancher.
“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” the senator is heard saying in the video.
Because the rest of Mississippi is equally fucked-up and steeped in years of racist ideology, the line drew laughter and applause from the crowd. Although the clip wasn’t long, it’s been shared some two million times, CNN reports.
Hyde-Smith issued a statement on Sunday, saying, “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”
The funny part is I absolutely believe Hyde-Smith when she says that she used an “exaggerated expression,” because to her that’s all it is. And therein lies the comfort of whiteness. For Hyde-Smith, lynchings are just an expression. Lynchings are carved into her DNA. She’s never seen images of people who look like her uncle hanging from a tree just because they were the color of the oppressor. It’s also mighty white of her to make the offensive comment and then tell those offended how they should feel.
Espy said on CNN’s New Day Monday morning that the comments were “reprehensible” and “disappointing” and reflected poorly on the state.
“They are hurtful to millions of Mississippians who are people of goodwill,” Espy said. “And they’re harmful because they tend to reinforce the stereotypes that have held back our state for so long and that have cost us jobs and harmed our economy.”
Espy, who if elected would become the first black Senator to represent Mississippi since Reconstruction, also posted a statement to Twitter on Sunday.
He wrote, that those types of comments “have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country. We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.”
NAACP President Derrick Johnson called Hyde-Smith remarks “sick.”
“Hyde-Smith’s decision to joke about ‘hanging,’ in a state known for its violent and terroristic history toward African Americans is sick,” Johnson said in a statement on Sunday, the Hill reports.
“To envision this brutal and degenerate type of frame during a time when Black people, Jewish People and immigrants are still being targeted for violence by White nationalists and racists is hateful and hurtful,” he added. “Any politician seeking to serve as the national voice of the people of Mississippi should know better. Her choice of words serves as an indictment of not only her lack of judgment, but her lack of empathy, and most of all character.”
Fuck Cindy Hyde-Smith, her ancestors and everything she stands for.
I hope she doesn’t take that as an insult.
It’s just an “exaggerated statement.”