Friday, January 11, 2008

Lynching on the back 9

So, PGA Tour announcer Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel recently joked that the only way for younger players to beat Tiger Woods is to "lynch him in a back alley."

Tilghman was laughing during the exchange Friday with analyst Nick Faldo at the Mercedes-Benz Championship. But the comment became prevalent on news shows Wednesday, and the Rev. Al Sharpton joined the fray by demanding she be fired immediately.

Faldo and Tilghman were discussing young players who could challenge the world's No. 1 player toward the end of Friday's telecast when Faldo suggested that "to take Tiger on, maybe they should just gang up for a while."

"Lynch him in a back alley," Tilghman replied.

In a statement, the Golf Channel said: "While we believe that Kelly's choice of words was inadvertent and that she did not intend them in an offensive manner, the words were hurtful and grossly inappropriate." Source

Apparently, her comments weren't too "hurftul and grossly inappropriate"; the chick was only suspended for two weeks.


Again, I'm a proponent of free speech. But for real?! Who do I have to run over with my car for there to be a more suitable punishment for using one of the nation's greatest atrocities as the butt of some crass humor? I'm just curious...

**UPDATE** I just found a clip of the incident on YouTube. Decide for yourself:


23 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Cynthia said...

I could easily chalk this up to some sort of "inadvertent" racial insensitivity, but unless you're living in a cave without a TV, you should know about some of the more recent incidents involving nooses and lynch threats. Even if you're ignorant of the past, current events are still making news. I can't see how she 'accidentally' made that joke. She should be barred from sports commentary for good.

Anonymous said...

Whatever! If Tiger can forgive her; which he HAS (, everybody else needs to get over it too.

ga girl said...

Anonymous, I don't think you get the point. Her joke (started off by Nick Faldo, by the way. Let's not forget about him) involved a practice that resulted in the brutal death of THOUSANDS of people. Imagine if someone told a joke about September 11 victims. All hell would break loose. Are we given the license to joke about a tragic and shameful something as long as it happened in other time period? Ignorance is ignorance no matter how many people pardon it.

KreativeMix said...

sweet sweet mercy!!!! its 2008 and we're still joking about lynching. Mercy!!!

Sa Lone Pikin

nic said...

Cynthia, I agree w/ you...One should know better. I haven't heard the actual recording (is there one?), but replace "lynch" w/ "kill", & there's a substantial difference in the relevance of the comment to some, but it still holds the exact same meaning. This is why I'm chocking this up as a misunderstanding and/or overreaction. Yes, I admit I could be wrong (again, I haven't heard the actual recording, if it exists, which could very well hold some insensitive tones), but OMFG has this country become so bloody sensitive or what? So many of us in the U.S. spout off about how we need to get over this, or move past that, then are so quick to point out the "other side", or file a law-suit 'cause you slipped on the floor of the neighborhood McDonalds. Seriously, all of us need to chill the #$%! out.


heiresschild said...

that's what people would like, for everyone to "chill out and shut up," and fortunately, it just won't happen. when you're in the public eye like that, people know they have to be mindful of what comes out of their mouths, and when they aren't mindful, then, yes, there should be a penalty. and yes, some issues are still very sensitive.

after the Jenna incident, there were other similar "noose" incidents around the country, including here at the University of Maryland. it sends a bad message when we "chill out" and let these kinds of things slide. she should be barred for good; it'll teach her and others to stop putting their foot in their mouths.
out of the heart, the mouth speaks.

nic said...

"when you're in the public eye like that, people know they have to be mindful of what comes out of their mouths..."

Of course. I get that. What I'm saying is that the word "lynch" now carries a negative race-related tag w/ it. But by merely saying it, or using it in the context that it was used now makes one racist? In this case, no, it's the perception. Now don't get me wrong, I could very well be mistaken & will have no problem admitting it if it is proven that this person's remarks were, in fact, intended to be racist. However, Andre's post seems to be calling for her head on a stick 'cause evidently a 2 week suspension isn't enough. Really!? You'd like to see this woman's career end...over this!? That's bloody disgusting, & if that's the case then screw it...there is absolutely no hope.

Listen, I know that a black family & a white family can live next door to each other & still live in two very different worlds. I live right around the corner from Andre, I see the same shit he does. But because a white woman said the word "lynch" in reference to a black man doesn't make her racist. It shows that she's maybe dumb as all hell, but not racist. She doesn't deserve to have her career ruined, & she doesn't deserve the public scorn that is undeniably occurring on countless blogs around the world.

You have to understand this, like any other group of people, there's multiple "camps" of white people, some good, some bad. Believe it or not, half of the white people I know are intimidated by black people for the sheer fact that they have to make a conscious effort to chose their words carefully in an effort to not offend. Andre's OP is an example of this. Now there's another camp that doesn't even think about race. This camp isn't color-blind, but is so far removed from any racial tension that it is entirely irrelevant. It's simply a non-factor. The other half of the white people I know, including myself, fall into this camp. Furthermore, I'm dumb enough @ times to potentially say "lynch" or something else to a black person, & do so very innocently. Would you then be calling for my head on a stick? If so, then you're the problem, not the solution.

Andre said...

Nic, nobody on this board (or most people reporting this story) are calling this woman a racist. I mean, she's friends with Tiger for crying out loud. What she IS being accused of is making a racist comment; even if (and more likely WHEN) her intentions were not racist.

When you analyze her comments, the only point she was trying to make is that Tiger Woods is such a great player that the only way to beat him is to take him out of commission. I get that. But she could've expressed that point using one of a hundred different funny, sports related analogies that would've accomplished that feat. She could've say that the only way to beat Tiger would be to:

(1) Hire Tonya Harding
(2) Get Mike Tyson to bite off his ar
(3) Have Ron Artest start a brawl.

...and so on.

Yet, the only thing she managed to come up with (and with fluidity, might I add. I actually heard the video) was to suggest lynching.

Lynching to black Americans is more than just killing. It's a state pardoned form of domestic terrorism directed at innocent people. Not all lynchings occured because some black folk "got outta line" by talking back to a white man or whistling at a white woman. Lynchings killed black businessmen, land owners, professionals, and leaders; many of whom MAY have made an impact on the current state of affairs with blacks. Even many black-supporting whites were lynched.

As one of the posters said, stories about nooses have been litering the news lately. If you don't know not to joke about that kind of stuff, this is a the perfect crash course on it.

This case isn't as complicated as, let's say, whether or not you can call a black person "articulate". Indeed, this case involves taking a shameful, hurtful, and frightening time in our history and diminishing its effect by trying to joke about it. If this chick hasn't learned anything from the Don Imus case or the Jena six, maybe color commentary under PUBLIC scrutiny isn't where she needs to be. And now that the best golf player in the world has 'some' black in him, more black folks are taking an interest. That being the case, leave all the racially charged humor at home.

KC said...

I think it's interesting that people are saying "Well Tiger got over it, you should too" when Tiger Woods doesn't even claim his black status. Don't forget folks, he's "Cablinasian". So naturally, he would've be as incensed and would be far more forgiven of a racial slur aimed at blacks. His pardoning doesn't make it any less hurtful for OTHER people of color.

Andre said...

@ KC: "His pardoning doesn't make it any less hurtful for OTHER people of color."


saved sinner said...

The reality of this whole situation is that a culturally insensitve commentary made a bone headed statement and deserves to be punished for it. This would have had the same effect (at least it SHOULD have) if she made a joke about putting Jewish people in gas chambers or 9/11 people dying in a plane crash or in a burning building.

This country has many cultures who all carry with them generations of pain. Healing will NEVER be accomplished by dismissing those histories and then saying "Why can't "they" get over it?"

Cynthia said...

KC, you actually make a good point. I applaud Tiger for defending his friend. But from another angle, he didn't help promote the need for discussion by completely dismissing her comments. Personally, I think that his interest in not upseting white PPL had as much to do with it as his lack of embracing his "black" part.

saved sinner said...

I meant to say "a culturally-insensitive commentator", not commentary. Oops!

Anonymous said...

It's a shame when we claim to promote free speech but when something is said that people don't like, they want censorship, firings, etc. When will people stop acting like parents discipling their kids every time someone says something that A FEW PEOPLE deem offense? If I could rewrite history, the horrible things that happened would not have. But I can't. Nor can anybody else. It's time to move on.

Andre said...

Anonymous, I respect your comments, but I think you're a little off with this one. As oxymoronic as it might sound, FREE SPEECH HAS LIMIATIONS. She had the right to make her comments, but I have the right to call her on them. Likewise, you have the right to challenge me on calling her out. And so on, and so on, and so on. Essentially, freedom of speech doesn't protect us from the consequences of our speech. I've made the same arguement before.

To address your other point about "moving on", I contend that things that happened in the past, though over, have a direct impact on some of the happens in today's world. By essentially saying 'get over it', you're pardoning the very institutions that have created the difficult and racially charged society we're in now. The lady's comments, regardless of intention, was laced with racism. If you decided not to look deep enough to see that, I can't stop you. As I said before, it's your right not to. But I think your inability or unwillingness to see the underlying racial significance of her comments just further proves that the trauma of the past isn't over just because the past is. A lot has to happen before we can "move on."

Anonymous said...

I know that racial reconciliation is a long ways away, but when you've got a black man who has a REAL chance of being President of the United States of America, you have to admit that serious progress is being made.

Andre said...

"when you've got a black man who has a REAL chance of being President of the United States of America, you have to admit that serious progress is being made."

Good point. But let me just remind you that this SAME candidate has been accused by a white man of "shucking and jiving", challenged on his race, and even called out for attending a pro-black church.

So much for progress, eh?

nic said...

"But she could've expressed that point using one of a hundred different funny, sports related analogies that would've accomplished that feat".

No doubt! But as I was typing this response, I was about to mention how the media is associating this incident w/ Imus...but then you went off & did the same! This isn't Imus (who Howard Stern had been calling out for his previous racist remarks ever since the 80s!)! I see how you're using him as an example of racism being in the media, but the two aren't the same thing. Not by a long shot.

The lady's comments, regardless of intention, was laced with racism.

Again, chock this up to a poor choice of words & an eagerness of nearly an entire culture to react to said words. For you to state that implies that you believe that somewhere in her brain, whether conscious or subconscious, there was a decision to insert race in the mix. Do you really believe that? Really? If not, then this entire mess is due to the perception of the comment, not really the comment itself. She didn't say "nappy headed hoes", hell she didn't even say "we need to find a tree & lynch Tiger". If you're looking for Imus, this chick simply ain't him.


kstar said...


the same people that say "forgive, forgive", "if Tiger can forgive then we should just get passed it", "forgive Imus" are the same people that wanted Mike Vick's head on plate.

Andre said...

@ Nic: "If you're looking for Imus, this chick simply ain't him."

I'm not looking for any hints of Imus here. Imus is a loser "shock jock" who deliberately uses this type of racist commentary as a platform. I'm not -- nor have I ever -- implied that this lady is a racist. In fact, my hunch tells me that she's just the opposite. Still, she made a boldfaced racist statement that hurt and angered a lot of people. Can't dismiss that.

@ kstar: "the same people that say "forgive, forgive", "if Tiger can forgive then we should just get passed it", "forgive Imus" are the same people that wanted Mike Vick's head on plate."

In today's world, you can get a lighter sentence for killing another human being (or in OJ's case, two of 'em) than you can for killing a dog. White people love them some dogs.

Andre said...

@ Ga girl: I forgot to point out that I don't think Faldo is as much a culprit. Before getting cut off by this lady, it sounds like he was gonna say something different. "Ganging up" on him [Tiger] could've meant a thousand things that we'll never know now.

heiresschild said...

i haven't been feeling well the past few days, so i'm just coming back online. i've know we've moved on to another post, but after watching the video and seeing them having a "hey-day" (good laugh) about it, i stand by this post and my words, as well as the others who feel some sort of punishment is in order.

Andre said...

Sylv, if you wanna unleash some passive agression, feel free. This video makes me upset too. You're not alone.