Obscene Halloween Decoration Removed

Here’s a letter to the editor regarding this article about an obscene Halloween decoration in Madison, NJ.

Stories like this one speak to our right to free speech and expression. The family who hung this decoration up did not feel it was racist in anyway, but is it their intend or our perception that matters most? This is in some way similar to the Coronado Navel Base which has a building shaped like a swastika. (see here.) Many may think how this could even be done and how this wasn’t caught as being a terrible mistake. Just as the man who hung up the black figure most have known it would be offensive, at least some part of him, the designers of this Naval base must have seen blueprints of the building clearly showing its design.

So in the end is our perception or the creators intent most important?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To the Editor:

I am writing to thank a Madison family for removing the hanging person with a black head, a portion of a Halloween display that was so horribly offensive to my husband and me. Under the circumstances, I feel that I must add that both of us are white.

Halloween decorations can be over the top in many ways. But usually, they convey a sense of fantasy and phantasmagorical imaginings about ghosts, death, demons and the spirit world. However, a lynched black individual is part of the darkest history of our country in a class with slavery and torture: all too real and present. A mock lynching is just short of a burning cross on the front yard, and I know this family would never support such a “decoration.” None of us can remain silent in the face of racism or racist symbols.

This family has removed the corpse and stated they did not intend a racist comment. Many of us felt that not taking the hanging body down would have been a truly racist statement. All of us make mistakes and offend our friends and neighbors. However, if I were informed that my actions might cross a line of decency and did not take care to correct those actions, my intentions would be highly suspect. Thank you again.

DOROTHY WILSON

Madison

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