Hate is emerging in our community, and it is extremely disturbing. The latest incident was a Black doll’s head with a disgusting message scrawled on its face left at the home of a Hatchville woman. There have been other hateful incidents: hate material left in a North Falmouth mailbox and stapled to utility poles in Woods Hole, Black Lives Matter signs stolen and, in one case at Highfield, replaced with graffiti. And a year ago almost to the week, someone defaced an Israeli flag at the Falmouth Jewish Congregation.
One cannot measure the intensity of hate in any of these incidents, but what is concerning is the premeditation. In the case of the Israeli flag, someone went to the effort of buying a flag, defacing it and taking it to the Jewish Congregation. We can’t know to what extent the person who left or threw the Black doll’s head thought about the act beforehand, but whoever it was got a Black doll—we can’t imagine someone so racist would have one about the house—broke its head off and wrote a message. We can’t know if the woman whose home it was left at was a target or simply another Black Lives Matter sign owner.
What we can know and do know is that there is racism and hate in our community, and the worst of it is coming to the surface.
We don’t know why; we don’t remember such hate expressed in past years. The president of our country has made a point of dividing people and condoning hate. But that is neither here not there; we have a problem, and the community needs to confront it.
Not everyone wants to. A reader of our website left a comment under our brief story about the doll’s head and its message. “Jussie Smollett has a house on the Cape?” it read. Jussie Smollett, in the event you missed it, was the Black actor who allegedly staged a hate crime. The inference, of course, is that our Hatchville neighbor did too. The incident was appalling enough without someone suggesting that it was staged.
We took the comment down immediately.
Our story about the racist incident in Hatchville in today’s edition includes a photograph of the doll’s head. We deliberated at length about whether to include it, deciding in the end to publish the photograph but with the offensive word blurred out.
Anyone who reads the story will know what the word is, but the full force of it in graphic detail would be too much. It would be hurtful to some, or even more hurtful, and what would be worse, it might incite anger. Anger is not helpful.
We hope our community will understand how hurtful these hate incidents are and respond empathetically. It’s a start. Then the real work begins.