Mississippi Senator Facing Runoff Against Black opponent, Jokes About Attending A “Public Hanging” – Your Black World

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By: Victor Ochieng

Last Sunday, a video of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss), went viral after she was seen making a public joking about accepting an invitation to “a public hanging.” She is facing a runoff this month against her opponent, who happens to be an African-American Democrat. The Senator has however dismissed critics, insisting that her remarks were not negative, and that people are simply trying to blow things out of proportions.

Hyde-Smith said during a campaign in Tupelo, Mississippi, “”If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row. And according to reports, the man he was referring to at the time of these comments, is actually a local rancher.

The video was posted on social media by Lamar White Jr., who is the publisher of The Bayou Brief, a nonprofit news site in Louisiana. However White says she may have posted the video but he did not take it, and that it was actually recorded on Nov 2nd before the election.

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Hyde-Smith who is running against Democratic candidate and former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, is running to complete her term in the Senate. She was appointed in March, when she became a replacement for Thad Cochran.

She dismissed the criticism on Sunday night calling them “ridiculous.” In her statement about what has now gone viral and the resulting backlash that has followed, she said, “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”

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However, Espy sees things differently. He said that her comments showed and proved that she was unfit to represent the state. In a statement he said, “Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comments are reprehensible. They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country. We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.”

Derrick Johnson, the President and CEO of NAACP, who is also from Mississippi, also shared his opinion on the matter. In a statement he said that Hyde-Smith’s “decision to joke about ‘hanging,’ in a state known for its violent and terroristic history toward African-Americans, is sick.”

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He went on to add that, “To envision this brutal and degenerate type of frame during a time when Black people, Jewish People and immigrants are still being targeted for violence by White nationalists and racists is hateful and hurtful.”

Hyde-Smith’s comments had people comments, with many taking to social media to express what they thought. One Commissioner Tami Sawyer wrote on Twitter, “Stumping in Mississippi which has the highest number of “recorded” lynching’s of black people, Cindy Hyde-Smith says she’d be in the front row of a public hanging. Folks like Cindy don’t think or care about being implicitly or explicitly racist.”


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