home Crime, Current Affairs, North America, Politics, Racism A Tale of a Scary Black Man: Ashley Todd admits mutilation story false

A Tale of a Scary Black Man: Ashley Todd admits mutilation story false

On October 23, it was reported that a McCain volunteer was robbed and assaulted by a black man. She claimed that after robbing her, her assailant noticed a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on her car, chased her down, and carved a backwards B into her face. At one point, she even alleged a sexual assault.

The police spent many hours investigating this case attempting to prove the veracity of her claims, only to have her admit today that she made the entire story up
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McCain, for his part, his been quick to point out that she is an unpaid volunteer, and as such has no deep involvement with the campaign. Yet had McCain not unleashed such clearly racist rhetoric throughout this election cycle, would a woman like Todd have believed that her behaviour was appropriate?

Though I firmly believe McCain’s dirty campaign tactics did indeed play a factor here, what should also be recognized is the history that white women have of blaming innocent black men of assaults. From Susan Smith, to Carroll Donham, white women have been either complicit in false accusations against black men, or else have been used as props in justifying murdering black men.

In the case of Carroll Donham, whistling at her was enough to warrant a death sentence for Emmett Till. It has been over 50 years since his death and the images of his body [please note: content is disturbing] at his funeral have been seared into the psyche of African Americans. When Smith killed her children she originally blamed a black man of stealing her car with her children inside.

The black man is the convenient scapegoat, because he has been constructed as a violent savage by society. As the mother of two black sons, the degree to which this social construction has been used to uphold the purity of white women, while resulting in the death of black men, enrages me.

Some will say that we should not judge Todd too harshly and that perhaps she is suffering from a mental disability, but the fact remains that what she did was purposeful and it was racist. Disability aside, her choice in creating a tale of a vicious black male attacker was not accidental.

News agencies were quick to report this story, behaving like sharks in a feeding frenzy. When Neil Boortz dared to question the veracity of Todd’s statement before her retraction, he reportedly received hate mail.

The black male rapist is exactly what society expects, and the idea that a black man is not born naturally desiring to possess the white female is viewed as fantastical by some. The fact that Todd thought that adding sexual assault to her complaint would increase her believability proves the degree to which this construction has been accepted.

The black male savage stereotype was created to maintain the race/gender hierarchy. Painting black men as a legitimate threat to white women forestalls partnerships that could potential lead to the emancipation of both parties from white male hegemony.

The black male rapist further serves to reduce competition for what is deemed the true mate of white men, white women. Black men have also been encouraged to engage in sexism, thus using a gender privilege as a weapon with which to retaliate against an attack.

White males have carefully played these two groups against each other to maintain its advantage. When black men were given the right to vote before white women, it was because in this instance white men chose to act in gender solidarity; knowing that they could still use race to bar black men from suffrage.

When white women were placed on a pedestal and restricted to the home to protect them from the black male rapist, it reinforced the idea that while males must rule the world, and further legitimized economic dependency. In trade, the white woman was not subject to the drudgery that women of color were forced to live with.

The separation between black men and white women continues to this day. In the Democratic primary the vitriol that was exchanged between Hillary and Barack supporters made it clear that there is still an oppositional stance between these two groups.

Neither side seems cognizant of the fact that by continuing to battle against each other rather than working in tandem they are ensuring that they will forever be beholden to the white male patriarchy.

White women continue to cross the street grabbing their purses and clutching their pearls in the presence of black men.

The anger that this behaviour causes continues to widen the rift between two groups that should conceivably be allied.

Whatever mental health issues Todd may or may not have, she was successful in initially being believed because of the social expectations that have been attached to both to white women and black men.

November 4th is fast approaching, but the open wound that has been aggravated by the racial politicking is sure to add to the continued divide between black and white in the United States. These problems won’t simply go away once the election is over.

8 thoughts on “A Tale of a Scary Black Man: Ashley Todd admits mutilation story false

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  2. RE: Renee Martin’s column, next-to-last paragraph: “… she was successful in INITIALLY BEING BELIEVED …” (capitalization added); and also second paragraph, as cited below.

    Your point about Ashley Todd’s supposed initial credibility is both mistaken and misplaced, for reasons described later in this comment.

    Moreover, the real problem is not that some whites might initially have believed her, but that, as you actually do point out, McCain/Palin’s racist dogwhistling, together with the televised response of his rally attendees, probably did convince Ashley that her racist lie would gain her the empathy that I’ll bet she craved. She might also have thought it would drum up votes for McCain.

    In other words, the problem is not that she actually initially succeeded in fooling most whites (because she probably didn’t), but that, because of McCain/Palin’s racist rhetoric, Ashley BELIEVED that a racist lie would be useful to her. That’s the problem: Not that, in 2008, whites might reflexively credit a story like Ashley’s (because they probably didn’t), but that someone like Ashley still believes that even an obviously trumped-up story like hers will trigger enough IRRATIONAL white paranoia to enable her to get what she wants. In other words, Ashley was imitating the McCain/Palin strategy, which is not aimed at intellectually convincing whites that racist lies are plausible, but at poking at white irrationality through the bars of its cage, as it were, until the desired results are achieved. It’s Hitler’s strategy as applied in 2008, first by McCain/Palin and then by Ashley Todd.

    But now, regarding Ashley’s supposed initial credibility:

    On the contrary, Ashley Todd was NOT “successful in initially being believed,” at least not by mature people of any race.

    Most importantly, police disbelieved her as soon as videotape evidence showed that she was lying, according to Joe Mandak’s Yahoo! AP report dated 10/24/2008 at 3:04 p.m.

    Thus the police actually expected her to recant and called her back in in order to induce her to confess to lying, according to the same article. So the language of your second paragraph (“only to have her admit … [etc.]”) is, I think, misleading in that it leaves the impression that police did believe her until she ‘unexpectedly’ confessed. But, as the AP article shows, they didn’t believe her and did in fact expect her to recant.

    Not only the police, but, as you actually did acknowledge, even Neil Boortz, the right-wing radio demagogue, publicly disbelieved her from the start. Boortz was deluged by hate mail for disbelieving her. But the fact that he felt comfortable declaring his disbelief on air is evidence that mature adults of any race could not accept Ashley Todd’s story at face value because her story is too obviously timed and constructed for McCain’s benefit, to be given any prima facie credit.

    That’s why I myself, a Caucasian and Republican, published through comment on Natalia Antonova’s blog my own disbelief in Ashley Todd’s story as soon as I read about it on the same blog, because Ashley’s story is obviously bogus for the reasons mentioned above.

    I go through these points so laboriously to show that, if the police and two white conservatives (Boortz and myself), can disbelieve Ashley Todd from the start, then presumably so did quite a few other whites who also think of themselves as conservative.

    Certain Caucasian audience segments might have eagerly credited Ashley Todd’s story, for the reasons you describe. But it’s likely that most thinking white conservatives disbelieved her from the start because her story is too obviously a lie.

    Therefore, in my opinion, you should have dropped your point about Ashley’s supposed initial credibility, because she probably didn’t have much initial credibility.

    The real problem, as I pointed out near the very beginning of this comment, is that Ashley was probably inspired by McCain/Palin’s racist rhetoric to employ the GOP strategy of triggering irrational fears (among whites) in order to get what she wanted.

    Ashley was employing the GOP strategy of The Big Lie, which is aimed at exploiting irrational anxiety rather than at convincing audiences that a lie is intellectually plausible. This strategy is also meant to desensitize targeted audience segments to the use of obvious deceit in political speech, by exploiting their desire to act out their most irrational hatreds and anxieties. The goal is reached when the targeted audiences believe that obvious deceit in political speech is not only harmless but actually preferable as long as it provides a cover for acting out irrational anxiety and hatred. In other words, the goal is to induce targeted audiences to prefer known lies to known truths by convincing such audiences that they will achieve safety by repeating the known lies and by suppressing the known truths (which is called “Share The Lie”).

    Commercial advertising employs roughly the same strategy. That’s why GOP political speech these days sounds like poorly-written ad copy.

    I apologize for this overlong comment. I also note that your other points in your column are beyond dispute. But I wanted to point out that Ashley Todd did not really succeed in being “initially believed,” except by audience segments who were Sharing The Lie (as I think). Ashley suspected that she hadn’t convinced the right people and that’s why she ‘spontaneously’ confessed in very short order. Apparently she realized that Sharing The Lie works only with people who can tolerating lying.

  3. Correction to Comment #2 above, very last paragraph, very last line:

    “tolerating” should read “tolerate.”

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  5. Poeschl, how in the world can you know all that about how Republicans roll and still be a conservative?

    I disagree with your claim that the article inaccurately describes significant “initial belief” in Todd’s story. You make a distinction between mature, thinking conservatives and other presumably immature, less thoughtful people. You then say that since anyone in the former group had immediate suspicions about Todd’s claims, Renee’s claim about “initial belief” is unwarranted.

    However, I think this claim is warranted, because the more significant group here–and it’s quite likely a very large group–consists of people who DID initially find her claims credible. These are the people who, thanks to Todd’s actions, will still spread this story as if it really is true (“She just bowed to pressure from the liberal media, or the Obamatrons,” and so on), and feel more justified by it to believe similar claims of vengeful black violence. She’ll still be a martyr for a lot of people out there, some of whom may well feel further justified in taking their own revenge. Just because her story’s been debunked doesn’t mean it won’t still add fuel to the fires of racist suspicion, resentment, and hate.

    So while your claim that mature, thinking people did not initially believe her story is probably more or less accurate, it overlooks the more significant, and I would guess larger groups of people who did initially belief it. Including those who will not let it die.

  6. @Poeschl

    You took the long winding road and in end did not evidence anything to disprove what I said about the woman being believed. McCain and Palin personally called this woman. The majority of the news stations that reported this story barely used the word alleged and reported it as fact. The police may have questioned her but society was very quick to believe that a black man attacked her.

  7. Pingback: McCain’s ‘Incontinent’ Ship — A Vessel of ‘Racial Terrorists’ and ‘Hoaxters’ | PoliticalArticles.NET
  8. I believe this is hogwash. White women are just as racist as white men are and have fought for white privilege over blacks just as passionately. There is a black man who was lied on by a white woman who at the time it occurred was a teen who was proven to still be a virgin after the alleged incident yet this proof was hidden for decades and she attended his parole hearings into old age vehemently protesting his release. And even after this evidence was finally petitioned to the court in 1998 he was still denied an appeal hearing. Now they wish to align themselves with black men against primarily, black women. Since most of the men in this country are now effeminate, especially white ones, this is just convenient for them to seek out leftover straight black men to use as their bucks. That is the extent of black progress she is interested in; whatever is convenient for her needs. And since black males have also turned gay and are hooking up with white men as well, how does that factor in to your neat little story? The only thing that happens with the white female- black male alliance is the white female exploitation of the idea that white women are some sort of prize to black men. Who forsake, abandon and discriminates against his own natural black women in favor of white females and other non black or mixed ones. Leaving them abandoned to be exploited and oppressed by all. This ridiculous vanity is just another layer of discrimination that is the least recognized or given any interest in correcting. No; homosexuality and feminism (which is all about white female privilege) is touted as the social causes of the day which everyone is careful to defend and protect. But it’s still acceptable for everyone, including black men, to hate on and talk down about black females and we’re not afforded the mainstream social privilege of speaking out about it the way white homosexuals, white females, black men and everyone else under the sun is.

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