OT - Disturbing racially motivated locker room assault

Submitted by Hard-Baughlls on October 25th, 2016 at 1:37 AM

Saw this on ESPN.  Very disturbing story about a Mississippi high school sophomore assaulted in the locker room with a noose put around his neck.  I've been on sports team and seen some hazing, but never anything this nasty or racially motivated.

Not to over-generalize a population or demographics, but I always do wonder about African American kids staying in the south / SEC to play football in college.  I understand many of these kids are from that region and want to stay close to home and that racism could exist anywhere, but I always find it strange when at Ole Miss or Bama games you see confederate flags and symbolism in the same stadiums where they cheer on their beloved team, usually with 50%+ black players.


Edit: I caught the same story on CNN, so it's more than just a sports story now.  I think it's a horrible event obviously, but a good opportunity to have this discussion and educate young people as to why this behavior is disgusting and what it means to have empathy for your fellow man. 





Blue Carcajou

October 25th, 2016 at 7:01 AM ^

Ann Arbor is a very quietly segregated town, man...

Some friends of my family, whose father was a distinguished doctor, had their mailbox destroyed frequently after they moved into Barton Hills in the mid-90s.

My boss' daughter who attends Scarlett middle school played a basketball game against Forsythe's girls' team and said their Caucasian players were throwing the n-word around on the court. These were, like, 12 and 13 year-old girls.

A2 certainly isn't the Deep South but that bubble isn't as big as you think; and the handful of times when it does burst the Powers That Be scramble to smooth things over for the media. This town protects its image like no other.


October 25th, 2016 at 12:41 PM ^

Seems all the kids, all races are using the word with an A at the end. They don't consider that a racist word. Has to have an ER for it be racist. At least that's the way they are here in Lexington, KY. It's crazy seeing how many groups of white and black people under 22 all together using that word with an A at the end.


October 31st, 2016 at 4:10 PM ^

I don't know why you're downvoted but last time I did a similar post I was negged to hell.

In basketball, given I was the only white guy usually it was thrown around constantly and they'd try to get me to say it constantly but just can't.

I've always been in the, "It's not what you say but it's how you say it", category myself.  I think it's bad that it's getting thrown around constantly but I believe in that setting it isn't meant as derogatory at all.  It is like a crowd of LGBT calling each other queer, no big deal.  If your friend is and you say they're queer as hell as a joke, usually one they'd say themselves no big deal.  If you're spewing it with hate though, that's where innocous words become hate language.

I agree it shouldn't be used main stream due to historical contexts but I also believe that there is a subset of the population who need to have bigger things to worry about.

Personally I think a look at overhauling drug laws and prisons would be a more apt way to bring about racial change than policing words used but I'll shush before I get political.


October 25th, 2016 at 5:58 AM ^

seems like the south has more instances of like KKK, over-the-top insane racism but I've lived in a few yankee states and you run into it in the suburbs and rural areas as well to a lesser and generally more PC extent


October 25th, 2016 at 9:27 AM ^

I actually live in Southern IN (hence the 812 in my username) and have family from the deep south--Atlanta area currently and Savannah, GA--I wouldn't say that this area is particularly worse but there is far more covert racism in this area.  In the deep south (especially more rural areas) it is accepted or common place to find someone spewing racist remarks.

Regarding what a previous poster mentioned regarding the KKK, there was a rally about 20 years ago in the town I went to high school in.  I found most of my classmates found the idea of this happening in our hometown to be abhorrent.

Just coming from a guy living in the area. 

Tyrone Biggums

October 25th, 2016 at 10:31 AM ^

I've lived in Miami, NYC, Boston, Detroit, Oakland CA, and San Francisco. I'm currently in NW Indiana and I'd have to say that although people may be more demonstative about their cultural beliefs here in Indiana, it hasn't struck me as any more racist than the other places I've lived.

Mississippi didn't have it first integrated high school prom until 2008! They are still debating whether to continue waiving the confederate flag as the state emblem.

There are racist places wherever you go but the South takes it to another level.

His Dudeness

October 25th, 2016 at 11:07 AM ^

I live in Louisville. I was raised in Grand Rapids.

I don't live in the "south" per se as Louisville is about as liberal (no polo) and "north" as you can get in the south, but I wouldn't generalize the south as more or less racist. It's everywhere, man.

I just find it funny when people from Michigan or Chicago, etc. assume "the south" is more racist than the north. Sure, there is the iconography of the confederate flag down south (although I'm not even sure it isn't more prominent in Indiana than Tennessee or Georgia), but that flag doesn't literally mean racism. I still don't like seeing it don't get me wrong, but just because that flag waves doesn't mean the person waiving it is a racist. Many people down south have family members who fought and died for that flag. You can't take that away from them IMO. To some that flag represents being a little more rural. Maybe a more agricultural way of life. It has been perverted into some racial icon, but IMO that's just not necessarily what it represents to all people who fly it.

FYI - I don't fly the flag, by the way, and it does make me uncomfotable.

Chalky White

October 25th, 2016 at 1:28 PM ^

People talk about the civil war like it was a big misunderstanding. This CNN article says in several declarations, the traitor States specifically named slavery as the reason they wanted out. http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/24/us/confederate-flag-myths-facts/


This being the second version of the Confederate Flag was predominately white for a reason. These idiots didn't realize it looked like a surender flag until it was too late. That's why it looks the way it does today.



October 25th, 2016 at 11:25 AM ^

Yeah, racist/backwards people aren't restricted to one area of the country or even a state.  I mean, go to the middle of Michigan and you'll run into a LOT of people who have rather, um, unique views of the world and how people should be treated.


October 25th, 2016 at 2:07 AM ^

Damn this happened 2 weeks ago and is just now being pick up by the national press...

And that is the ultimate form of intimidation...really have to feel for the victim and other African Americans in that community.


October 25th, 2016 at 2:24 AM ^

as to believe this mentality and intimidation doesn't exist in many places in our country, specifically as isolated yet volumous incidents.  But it does seem that there is still some underlying, inherent structural racism in the south - Of course, I could be wrong here and just falling in to the narrative of the backwoods confederate redneck racist redneck vs. the progressive northern yankee hero. But grasping to confederate symbolism and history often feels of a disengenuous attempt to pass off racism as "cultural pride."

I have never lived in the south or outside a large metropolis for that matter, so maybe my views and exposure are just off about what really goes on all over the country.


October 25th, 2016 at 5:18 AM ^

Having grown up in the south and lived all over the country...

I'm not sure it is more prevalent in the south but more it is more prevalent in rural areas which the south tends to have/had more of.  It is important to remember that many of what are these days large southern cities, really grew quite recently.  Until recently, about the only really big city in the south was Atlanta. 

You get into the more rural areas of any part of the country and you'll run into a lot of ignorant bs. 

Go Blue in NC

October 25th, 2016 at 9:31 AM ^

^This seems to be the appropriate take. I've grown up in the South and this specter of racism isn't quite as prevalent as some on here seem to think. Rural areas seem to attract suck backwoods thinking anywhere, whether it's rural Alabama/Mississippi or rural Ohio/Wisconsin/Pennsylvania. It's not so much a North-South thing anymore as much as an urban/rural thing. Additionally, as population shifts increasingly favor the South and the development of the "New South" continues with cities like Atlanta and Charlotte rapidly growing, hopefully the narrative of the "racist" South will diminish over time.


October 25th, 2016 at 2:54 AM ^

OP you weren't terrible about it, but one of the bigger dangers about 21st century US racism is the fallacy that it only exists "down South". Racism and bigotry knows no geographic border, and is in more places than just Alabama and Mississippi.

Speaking from personal experience and growing up in SE Michigan, I lost track of the total number of Confederate Flags I saw, either on vehicle stickers, or belt buckles, and so on. Just down the street, at EMU, people wrote "KKK" and "Leave Nigger" on the side of a dorm.

And I'd urge some of the above comments to be wary of seeing Ann Arbor as a "special place", exempt from racism. In the last few weeks people were leaving/distrbuting flyers around UM halls. The flyers speak for themselves. Racist things can and do happen at UM too


(Click the picture for the full size)

Mr. Yost

October 25th, 2016 at 8:56 AM ^

Can you clarify a "central issue?"

Are you basically saying that people shouldn't see color? Are you saying race in our country shouldn't be discussed? Neither?

Now that it is a central issue, are you suggesting we ignore it? I feel like this could easily be misinterpreted from something different than what you intended it to be.

It kind of caught me off guard.


October 25th, 2016 at 10:16 AM ^

For Gucci here - this is just me. Having race as a central issue makes race as a distinction between people rather than just a thing that's a part of people (a phenotype, genetically speaking). Making race a central issue, nationally, locally, whatever, seems to only call out race as a difference, and this can lead to division and hatred. It's not the root problem, but it can contribute, IMO.

EDIT: As for the follow-up of "then how do we discuss the issues of race and racism?", I have no answer. I don't pretend to have any answers here, just thoughts. 

Gucci Mane

October 25th, 2016 at 12:04 PM ^

I agree with this. As someone who is mixed I feel I am able to see race slightly differently. From my experience the best way to combat racism is live a life that sets a positive example for others. The power one person has in their actions not realized. When people complain about life being unfair, then jump to racism as the culprit, it greatly harms society imo. Funny thing is as I write this I'm on my way to class where my sociology teacher says things such as "everyone who votes for trump is racist" and "anyone who eats southern food without thanking and recognizing former slaves as the creators is racist".

Mr. Yost

October 25th, 2016 at 4:47 PM ^

First off, let me say...I completely respect your opinion and the opinion of the poster above that you responded to.

I'm pleasantly shocked this thread is still here.

It drives me nuts that we can't have these conversations without someone ruining it for everyone else. I get that this is a blog about Michigan sports.

But think of it this way, everyone on this blog is different, right? But everyone on this blog has one thing in common that they absolutely LOVE, right? I say that because I think just knowing that you share a common love for something, anything, it allows you to have open dialogue with someone who's not 100% different from you are.


I still don't understand the "central issue" post, but I agree with this more recent response 100% - except for one part...

"when people complain about life being unfair, then jump to racism as the culprit, it greatly harms society imo."

I think this is a gross generalization. And it teeters too much on the "make em work for it, my ancestors did (x)" train of thought.

What if life IS unfair in certain situations because of racism? Doesn't racism harm society much more than people complaining about racism?!

So I think in a lot of situations...that statement can be true. But if a person can't get a job or a promotion because of racism...and then they complain about it. Let's not blame the person who can't move in/up, the blame goes to the boss/supervisor. (And note that I didn't say black person, because the same could go if it was a white person who couldn't move up because of his/her race).

I almost feel like that line you said implies that there isn't racism or that folks who face racism should just deal with it. I don't think that's what you meant - at least I hope not.

Racism is real. However it's not the answer/excuse for all problems of any race. At the same time, life can absolutely be unfair to those who face constant challenges from others who feel their own race is superior. I don't think that's complaining...if that situation is you, then you're just stating a fact. Which is different, IMO.


October 25th, 2016 at 6:27 PM ^

Doesn't racism harm society much more than people complaining about racism?!

Maybe, but, y'know, maybe not.  Hypothetically, if there were only a tiny trace of actual racism but a torrent of complaining about it, the answer to that question would almost certainly be "no."

The truth is, complaining about racism when none is present is likely to engender more actual racism, or at minimum, a ton of resentment.  On the list of things you don't want to be labeled in society today, "racist" comes in at #2 below only "pedophile."  And obviously, crying wolf only desensitizes people to the real complaints.

I'd allow that, on the whole in the US, racism is a bigger concern than people complaining about racism.  But I think the latter is catching up.  And this is a big country, with an infinite number of different localities and dynamics and situations, and there are places and times where the complaining is more harmful than the actual racism.  And the people involved will probably be forever turned off to any real and more harmful instances of racism.

If eradicating racism in this country is a goal, and it's truly important to involve all white people in the fight to end it (kind of similar to the complaint about "why don't all Muslims stand up and denounce terrorism?", isn't it, but regardless) then weeding out the phony complaints and silencing the Social Justice Warriors (you know which kind I mean) ought to be as important a goal as putting a stop to nooses in locker rooms.  Not everything that's claimed to be racist actually is.  Not every cry of racism deserves equal credence.  Rather than deciding if one thing is more harmful than another, it's better said that they go hand in hand and both ought to be stamped out.


October 25th, 2016 at 12:31 PM ^

for 400+ years, a defining feature of people's lives that determines how they are seen and treated - from slavery / indentured servitude / attempted genocide (of Native Americans), through war, jim crow, segregation & more subtle forms of second-class citizenship -- and still often determines whether high-tension situations tilt towards life or death -- you can't suddenly say "welp it's been 50 (or 25 or 10 or -- from some of the comments above (desegrated prom when??!!) 8 years, race is no longer an issue".

Race & racism are built into our cultural (& often, institutional) DNA. None of us escape it, including people of color, who both internalize negative attitudes about ourselves &  racist messages about other people of color.

What we can do is become more aware of it, take it out & look at it (reflectively), and then maybe some of it can start evaporating. Sunshine takes care of a lot of toxic things...

... but yes that means talking about it.

Otherwise you're just sweeping the stink under the rug to fester & ooze out.

In noose-decorated locker rooms, on fear-stained gun triggers, & at resentment-tinged rallies.


October 25th, 2016 at 5:02 AM ^

You're right, the whole "implicit bias" is a bigger danger in the 21st century than things like radical neo-communism, globalism, radical Islamic terrorism, Chinese nationalism, Russian territorial expansion, the degradation of our nuclear forces etc.

Yep. I'm going to worry more about implicit bias because some white trash moron from Howell handed out a flier at campus.

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