I was deeply disturbed when I read in the Aiken Standard that Mr. Crane, an Aiken County school board member came to the defense of USC Aiken’s baseball coach, Kenny Thomas. Mr. Crane stated, “It’s a modern-day lynching,” and “I have been the victim of this kind of cancel-culture attack.” Then in his next breath he personally attacks Dr. Jordan. This man represents the school board? Then in the Letters to the Editor, Mr. Brookshire pens a letter as a representative of the Aiken Republican Club where he says he understands where Coach Thomas is coming from. The problem Mr. Brookshire is not what Coach Thomas intended, it’s what he actually posted.
When an individual posts something on social media, it reflects on the organization they represent. In this case implied racism and bigotry. This whole incident brings up the fine line between hate and free speech. Coach Thomas is an adult and teaching not only the sport, but leadership as well. He should have known better.
Until recently ignorant fringes lived in the shadows, but two things happened: one political and the other was a new approach. The triggering event was the election of a Black president, shattering race barriers and moving the country forward. The other was the onset of the BLM movement demanding equality for all Americans. The messaging has changed with its own branding of lies. Now they are white fringes speaking of heritage and framing it as they are under attack. This time they are reversing roles to make the oppressor seem to be the oppressed and saying the suburbs are under attack to create more fear in those who are not used to the country moving forward so quickly.
Empowered and embolden by the Election of 2016 things have changed. The results are the letter from Mr. Brookshire and the views publicly espoused by Mr. Crane.
So, the solution comes down to this. Let’s call hatred racism and bigotry for what it is. It is not white fringe heritage or going back to the 1950s, it is based on lies and purporting fears that hurt people and society. By elevating it, no one benefits. When you are in a position representing an organization and use that position to further bigotry, hatred and racism it stains that organizations. USC Aiken had no choice to do what they did. I hope that the Aiken County school board and the Aiken Republican Club are better than those that represent them.
There are not good people on both sides. There are two sides, the truth and lies. We all need to be on the right side as I sincerely hope Aiken is better than this.
Richard H. Koblin