So in 2016, knowing the deeply violent and often explicitly racialized nature of lynch mobs and that Black activists are literally getting tried with felony lynching for trying to help friends and community members being taken away and put in danger by the cops, a white dude is going to write an article positing that people creating and signing an internet petition calling for the impeachment for another white dude who did his job poorly is a “lynch mob”.

Beyond being overstated hyperbole, this co-opting of language comes off as self-centered, crotchety, willfully ignorant and slightly revisionist. Whether you agree with the petition as a good tactic not, we know your poor comparison is not what lynching really is and maybe three more seconds of care and consideration could have been taken to write a more thoughtful, less shock-value attention thirsty piece. Instead as it stands it is phrased in needlessly alarmist and whitewashing ways. Using the term “lynch mob” so lightly dismisses and erases what lynching actually was and currently still is.

You make a good point about sentencing and judged and who electing someone different would disproportionately affect (which is why, per my piece, I don’t believe the state is the answer). And you mention how the system is biased and violent against folks of color specifically Black ones. Yet you’re invoking a term from a time when (white) police and judges and jailers often colluded with citizens to kill innocent (Black) people in defense of a white judge simply because he was “democratically elected”…in said system you just named as violence.

Instead of the mental gymnastics and tokenizing and co-optimg marginalized racial experiences to make your cheap point, just say “I’m a white dude who respects white established authority and you should too.” It’s much more consistent and honest.

Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email:

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