Mascot Monday 3 of 12: Racism?

At my lecture someone in the audience asked me about racism in the Mascot. I told them that, yes, unfortunately it existed. It’s difficult when there are so many other aspects of the Mascot that I admire. But I also stated that the amount and extremity of racist articles tended to vary according to its editors. Francois Bildstein and P.J. Kelly were the editors at the time this article appeared. Bildstein later went on to be the superintendent of the French Hospital in New Orleans.

Blatant racial discrimination, or something else? Is this Swift-like satire – chiding the “brave” men for taking the law into their own hands against a black man who “dared” to vote? Is their dry mockery too problematic in this day for me to catch? Or are they endorsing the crime?

You decide.

The "Mascot." August 3, 1889

A sensation was caused the other day by the announcement that the dreadful and blood-thirsty regulators of Lafayette, had been captured and were being conveyed to the city under guard of several companies of militia. The time of the arrival of the train was made known, and people of all ages, sex and race flocked to the depot to catch a sight of the patriotic citizens, who viewing for years the prostitution of justice at the hands of the law officers, who had stood idly by and seen crime after crime perpetuated, had determined to punish those who were guilty of violating the law of the land. Our artist has graphically described the way in which these brave, noble, peace-loving men of Lafayette, took the law in their own hands, and dealt out summary justice to a black scoundrel who was so diabolical as to have insulted them by voting and holding political opinions of his own. See how brave they are, and observe the desperate fight they were making against the black scoundrel. Also, mark their marital bearing and manly behavior while in the hands of the militia boys, who, young as they were, considered themselves specially honored in having in custody such distinguished fellow citizens With reference to the regulators it ought to be said that many people who know, say that the whole thing is done for effect by the Governor, who knows full well that none of the men arrested will ever be convicted. 

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