To illustrate a satirical quip in a blog entry that I posted yesterday, I hastily chose an image of mob violence from the web without recognizing its racial implications. (The blog entry has absolutely no connection with race.) Indeed, I had originally, mistakenly, thought that the victims were white.
1) I should have examined the photo more closely, since, in many minds, the history of lynching in the United States is inextricably and understandably tied to the murder and oppression of, specifically, African Americans. (Given my own region of origin and age, the word lynching instantly brings to my mind, not the Klan, but the typically white cattle rustlers and horse thieves of the American West.)
2) Given the fact that I belong to a church with a perceived legacy of racial discrimination and work for a university that is sponsored by that same church, I should have been more than ordinarily careful and sensitive in dealing with anything regarding race. But I was in something of a hurry and, in any case (as a reading of the relevant blog entry will plainly demonstrate), I wasn’t thinking about race at all.
3) It is never appropriate, and will never be appropriate, to use a graphic image of a racial murder to make a satirical or humorous point. I showed a lapse of judgment in this instance, and I am deeply sorry for any offense that it has caused. I took the image down rather quickly, but I ask forgiveness, nonetheless, of those who have been offended. No offense was intended, nor was any race-related point on my mind. Those who have ever made a remark that they’ve instantly or soon regretted, or who have ever told a joke that went gravely wrong, or who have ever felt that their basic moral character has been misconstrued (perhaps because of something they themselves have done or said) will, I pray, be willing to pardon my relatively brief posting of that appalling image. I hope they will show the charity that they themselves would hope for and that all of us routinely need.