BY ALFRED LUBRANO INQUIRER COLUMNIST When you’re a white person in America saying, “The black guy did it,” you are screaming “Fire!” in the cineplex. You are conjuring night fears of the Other, and stoking cell-level hatred that metastasizes.
And if you’re a silly little twit like Lindsay Lohan, you’re lamely trying to deflect culpability for your own dangerously bizarre behavior.
Last month in California, the troubled 21-year-old actress commandeered a car with three passengers inside and chased after her assistant, who had moments earlier quit working for Lohan.
When the cops tried to sort it out, Lohan was sputtering her lies: “No, no, I wasn’t driving, the black kid was driving,” referring to one of the passengers she had nearly killed at 80 m.p.h. on the Santa Monica streets.
Oh, the black kid. The black man. Him again. What’s that villainous so-and-so gone and done now? Lohan’s exploitative mendacity is rooted in a hardy American tradition.
Centuries ago, white people learned that if you do some dirt and find a nearby black guy to smear it on, no one could refute you. A powerless, overwhelmed black man could not defend himself in a white man’s court, or in a white man’s culture. And for good measure, the lynched corpses remained hanging from the nice, thick oak branches for a good long while to let the idea sink in.
INQUIRER: “You Know Something People? I’m Not Black But There’s A Whole Buncha Times I Wish I Could Say I’m Not White” — Frank Zappa, “Trouble Everyday”