Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina’s woman’s basketball coach, has been put on administrative leave in part because of a “racist” comment she made.
A couple of her college-educated students accused her of threatening to have then lynched if they didn’t play well.
Turns out, what she’d actually said was “We need to play well or the other team will hang us out to dry.”
In other words, a commonplace term for most people about hanging clothes on a line. Nothing to do with lynching at all.
Hatchell has been coaching at North Carolina for over 30 years. Mostly black women, of course. I seriously doubt if she’s a racist, or if she ever thought any of the members of her team would be unfamiliar with the phrase “hanging out to dry” and how innocuous it is.
But apparently you can’t even say the word “hang” to an African American in any context without it being perceived as “code” for lynching.
Just like there was some coffee shop in Boston a few years ago called The Beanery because coffee is made from coffee beans but they decided they’d better change their name so as not to appear insenstitive to Latinos, where apparently “bean-eating mo-fos” has long been a put down.
But should people be given a pass for taking offense where clearly none is intended?