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Voices / Letters from readers

A victim of a sanctimonious social-media mob

It’s ironic that Stephanie Givens, after hanging a ”Grinch” skeleton in a prison uniform in her yard, was subjected to the same outraged mob mentality that led to lynchings in the first place.

It seems that even nice, liberal Vermonters are trolling for affronts and projecting evil where none was intended. Depending on your perspective, Ms. Givens’ display could be seen as funny, tasteless, or disturbing. But it takes sheer paranoid projection to identify the race of a plastic skeleton.

I’m sorry Ms. Givens was judged, branded, and scourged by people who thought they saw “blackface” on a skull. Yes, maybe Givens’ skeleton wasn’t tasteful, and, yes, any depiction of hanging has sordid historical connotations. But this was obviously a Halloween decoration that morphed into a holiday display, not an expression of racial contempt.

The sanctimonious social media mob that attacked Givens has gone quiet for now — hopefully, feeling remorseful for their unkindness.

As Givens notes, any of us could have knocked on her door and gotten the real story about her Grinch. But that would have meant in-person dialogue — and these days, Americans prefer to judge and slander one another from the safety of our electronic silos.

Patience Merriman

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Originally published in The Commons issue #548 (Wednesday, February 12, 2020). This story appeared on page C3.

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