Tuesday’s post — about a soccer get-together with suburban Westport and inner-city New York teams — drew plenty of positive comments.
Today’s — about a black-faced lawn jockey at a home near Clinton Avenue — probably won’t.
An African American Westporter noticed it the other day. She takes frequent walks around town; this was a new route.
“I just saw it sitting there on the lawn,” she says, still outraged.
The lawn jockey near Clinton Avenue.
Her first reaction was: “Really? Really?!”
She’d never seen anything like it here. In fact, she says, the last time she’d seen a black lawn jockey was around 1979, in her home state of Ohio.
Black-faced lawn jockeys are not mere decorations, like garden gnomes. As the Washington Post noted in 2006:
He’s a ghost from the days of plantations and magnolias, fox hunts and manorial estates.
To some, particularly African Americans, the lawn jockey is a pint-size monument to repugnant stereotypes, a holdover from the days of slavery and Jim Crow, an artifact of racial prejudice alongside Aunt Jemima.
“When I see it, it hearkens back to a time when black people were enslaved,” the Westporter says. “It seems like the people who put it there are saying, ‘This is what we wish for.'”
Many lawn jockeys reinforce racial stereotypes.
What about the argument that the homeowners may not realize how offensive the Civil War-era artifact may be?
“It’s time for people to be educated,” she counters.
“I know we can’t PC the entire world. But we have to teach people this is not acceptable. It’s not cool.
“You can say whatever you want, privately. But to publicly say that you’re superior to others — that others can be your little joke — that’s not okay.”
The final line of Tuesday’s post was: “Westport, Connecticut may not be representative of America. But neither is Ferguson, Missouri.”
Today, it’s: Westport, Connecticut may not be representative of America. But sometimes even our town can seem like Mississippi.