Generation Gap

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Robert Richards won "Most Whipped" for 2005 at Boynton Beach High School in Florida. The yearbook picture given to this prestigious award winner features Richards in chains and shackles being held by his girlfriend, Melissa Finley. There is only one hiccup: Richards is black and Melissa is white.

Jacqueline Nobles, Richards' mother, thinks that's racist. But her son, the bound boyfriend, doesn't think there's anything wrong with the picture. The older generation, he argues, is simply more conscious of race than his is. If his case is typical, I'd say he's right.

Of the approximately 700 yearbooks that were printed, 240 have already been distributed. The principal is holding the remainder hostage while the school investigates the photo. Mrs. Nobles wants the other copies recalled.

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  1. Wasn’t this a South Park episode?

    Seriously though, if the kids didn’t realize that having a black guy wearing a collar and leash while kneeling in front of a white kid carries with it some unfortunate baggage, somebody didn’t do a very good job teaching American history.

    It’s as if one of those “Agriculatural and Mechanical” colleges decided that a crossed sickle and hammer would be the perfect way to symbolize their school’s mission. Uh, guys…

  2. Would the school motto then be “Move Forward Together For Progress!”? 🙂

  3. Are the investigative reporters of higher quality in Florida than the rest of the country, or is there just more dumb crap going on in that state?

  4. I’d guess interracial humiliation roleplay is tought in Sex Ed.

  5. It is truly a wonder if the thought actually didn’t cross these kids minds. If that’s the case, then maybe there’s real hope for racial relations and an end to race baiting.

    Of course, as a man I’m completely offended by such a picture and blame the feminist indoctrination of public school children. Then again, it could just be the lonely side of me wishing that I currently had a girl to tell me what to do.

  6. Aside from the racist connotations implied by the photo, isn’t “Most Whipped” kind of a questionable category for a high school yearbook. Doesn’t it derive from the term “pussy-whipped” which implies, well, you know…

    Not trying to be prudish, but whatever happened to “Cutest Couple”?

  7. Are the investigative reporters of higher quality in Florida than the rest of the country, or is there just more dumb crap going on in that state?

    There’s a reason for why FARK has a tag to denote a particular story is from Florida.

    On another note, this is a perfect story to use to play the fantastic game “Florida, or Germany?”

  8. Stretch–
    I’m a girl. Go get me a beer.

  9. No, wait, I hate beer. Make it a wine cooler.

  10. Yes Ma’am!

    Of course, I’ll also need you to be telling me what kind of jeans to buy, what hair care products to use, when I should cut my hair, to do my laundary, which healthy foods to eat, proper uses for my money and when to keep my mouth shut.

    The beer’s on the house, but the rest will cost you 😉

  11. Fine, a wine cooler is even better. Only I’m allowed to smell like a brewery (which will, of course, be masked by whatever aftershave you think I should use).

  12. Whipped Cream

    Aside from the racist connotations implied by the photo, isn’t “Most Whipped” kind of a questionable category for a high school yearbook. Doesn’t it derive from the term “pussy-whipped” which implies, well, you know…

    That was kind of my question when I first saw this. If he wins the “Most Whipped” category, does she win the “Biggest Bitch” category?

    Also, I was never on a yearbook staff but don’t they have a teacher overseeing that? I know with the slack-ass students at my school they wouldn’t have been able to finish without some type of supervision. What are the chances that the teacher saw the picture, thought “That doesn’t look good” but let the picture be included because they were afraid they would be labeled racist if the pic was changed or omitted?

  13. My, how times have changed.

    When I was in 9th grade (hick Texas high school), we were allowed to come in with costumes for Halloween. One guy came in with, of all things, a KKK uniform. The hood was open so you could see his face. What’s worse than that was he brought a rope in. What’s worse than that was he got the shop teacher to make it into a 13-knot hanging noose (which I think was illegal at the time). And if it couldn’t be any worse than that, one of the (black) girls thought that was so funny she allowed herself to be pulled around by that noose between classes. By lunch time the teachers or whoever had enough, and the costume and rope had to go. Today, he’d never make it into the parking lot.

  14. Once again, with feeling: “Wasn’t this a South Park episode?”

  15. How about the kids understood the subtext and thought it would be funny? Teenagers, trying to create controversy? How shocking!

  16. Note to Joe — I believe those A&M colleges are usually agricultural and military, hence all of the Aggies in fatigues firing howitzers at football games.

  17. mediageek, it’s funny you should mention FARK, they have their own discussion and have the pic. It looks more like a belt than a leash but hey whatever props work for you, go for it. Perhaps if the strap was between her legs it would be less offensive. Personally, I’ll wait for the DVD.

  18. Agriculture and Mining actually.

  19. Or Agricultural and Mechanical.

    http://www.famu.edu/a&m.php?page=history

  20. I think its you (not Reasonites of course, you’re all waaaaaaay too smart 🙂 ) baby boomers who are still harboring all the intense racial feelings one way or the other. You seeem to have taught my generation that race doesn’t matter, and you’ll be proud to learn that to most of my generation it really doesn’t matter. With some of my hispanic friends they’ll make fun of what white people and I’ll make fun of what their culture does. Yet somehow race riots don’t break out even though a white person poked some fun at someone elses culture, because they know I’M NOT A RACIST.

    As a side note whats interesting is that if you watch comedy central you’ll notice that black comics still make fun of white culture, thats been a staple since Pryor, Latinos make fun of Latino culture and of course white culture, but white comics get to make fun of… only white culture.

    Now the funny part of this is how are we (my generation) going to continue to believe that race doesn’t matter when its constantly being brought up in stupid cases like this one. If an interacial coupled at my high school got named “Most Whipped” then the important part is that the guy was whipped by his girlfriend, which is always hilarious, not the color of both their skins. Would this have even been an issue if both people were black? Probably not. So your generation needs to quickly die because its your generation thats constantly enflaming racial tentions. Once you old people who were the pioneers of racial equality are all dead we’ll a lot closer to acheiving the “colorless” society that was envisioned in the 1960’s. End rant

  21. One guy came in with, of all things, a KKK uniform.

    I’ll do ya one better. I attended a Halloween party in 1982 where a guy dressed in a Klan robe led around another guy on a leash (A white guy in blackface, in case you were wondering). The Moment Of The Evening came during the “Best Costume” contest when the emcee shouted “Let’s hear it for the Klan!”

  22. Pretty much OT, except with regard to, “Where was the teacher oversight?” and “teenagers stirring up controversy” aspects:

    At my Catholic high school, one year the yearbook included what appeared to be a complex, abstract graphic design on one page, ostensibly as a decorative graphic/space-filler. However, if you knew how to look at it the right way (holding the page almost edge-on to your eyes), you could see the following words within the design:

    DO YOU LOVE ME
    IF YOU DO
    HOW ABOUT
    A LITTLE SCREW

    (No, I did not have anything to do with this incident.)

  23. Stretch-
    You buy the cheap jeans so you have more money to spend on me, you use the hair products I like so I don’t have to buy my own, you cut your hair when it’s prettier than mine, you do the laundry when I’m out of clean clothes, you eat the healthy foods I don’t feel like eating, you keep your mouth shut when I’m talking and the proper use of your money is to spend it all on me.

  24. I’m what they call a “low maintenance” kind of girlfriend, you see.

  25. Jennifer,

    They still make wine coolers?

  26. I do find it refreshing that these kids aren’t bothered (or are even aware of) the baggage of race that still plagues us older folk. And if these kids are willing to admit (and lampoon) their perceived roles as whipped boyfriend/bitchy girlfriend, who cares if people like me don’t think it’s quite appropriate for inclusion in a high school yearbook? (Yet parental opinions may end up counting for something on that point as this story plays out.) I mean, if that’s what young people are into these days, who are we to judge? I mean, it isn’t like the boyfriend in the picture was talking on the phone to his mother in Iraq or something.

  27. David-
    They’d better still make them, for Stretch’s sake.

    My high school yearbook had a category for “Biggest Brown-Noser.” The folks who won are probably very successful burreaucrats in government today.

  28. In the same yearbook, the “Most Likely to Be on Jerry Springer” photo with the young man about to backhand his smiling girlfriend has a similar sort of esthetic, I see. It’s just weird to me that these are school-sanction voting categories.

  29. Cripes. They shut down our senior superlatives because some girl got upset she was voted “Biggest Ditz” or something equally stupi and mildly insulting. She may have been upset, but at least she was called it to her face for a change. Besides, Ditz was an understatement.

  30. How about the kids understood the subtext and thought it would be funny? Teenagers, trying to create controversy? How shocking!

    Mo,

    Oh, no no no. We can’t have sophisticated humor in our modern society. That’s simply preposterous and uncalled for. Humans might perpetuate that unneccesary trait called “wit” if that were allowed to happen.

    Personally, I agree that “most whipped” is a questionable category for a yearbook, too. But I won’t get on my “feminist bitch” soapbox here.

    Speaking of senior superlatives…I was voted Best Excuse Maker….although it came as a surprise to me at first, it did help lend a little personal insight to my character, so I’m thankful for it in the end.

    You buy the cheap jeans so you have more money to spend on me, you use the hair products I like so I don’t have to buy my own, you cut your hair when it’s prettier than mine, you do the laundry when I’m out of clean clothes, you eat the healthy foods I don’t feel like eating, you keep your mouth shut when I’m talking and the proper use of your money is to spend it all on me.

    Smart girl, that Jennifer. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I’d write more, but I have to, um, go…shave…my…yak…now. See you later.

  31. Yeah, sophisticated humor. The two geniuses in that picture are a couple of regular Oscar Wildes. Florida public schools do such a wonderful job of encouraging sharp, subversive thinking.

    I wouldn’t put my money on “sophisticated humor.”

  32. joe,

    I understand your objection, I think. But I’m not just talking about this particular case of censorship. Perhaps this example isn’t so sophisticated. If people always dumb things down to be as nice as possible, sometimes humor loses its bite that way. Why do you think The Family Guy, The Simpsons, and South Park are all so popular? It’s not because they are politically correct, that’s for sure. Sure, it’s important to recognize past injustices. But is it neccessary to tip-toe around them indefinately? All I’m saying is that as long as the kids in question did understand the objections and recall the so-called, perceived “historical context”, I don’t see why anyone should give a crap.

  33. Joe,
    It may not be sophisticated, but it?s still funny. Heck, if I got voted Biggest Player, Luckiest or something similar, I would?ve tried to get the pose to involve silk pillows and women in “I Dream of Jeanie” cheesecloth outfits fanning me with palm fronds. Sure it probably would reinforce Arab misogynist stereotypes or some other PC thing. But it?d also be pretty funny, which is the point of the whole thing. Something tells me the guy involved didn?t mind (and might have kept the cuffs for later).

  34. I was voted Most Likely To Have A Cult Following. Just in case, I have some lovely kool-aid for y’all.

  35. The golden day will arrive when everybody (A) acknowledges there are differences among blacks and whites (and others), and (B) doesn’t give a shit.

    Better still, when we’ve all intermarried and there isn’t any difference.

    “What is your race?”

    “Human.”

    In this case, somehow I don’t think Mom would approve of the picture even if the girl was black.

  36. Wasn’t this a South Park episode?

    Not sure about that, but it does remind me of the episode on Friends when Joey was looking for a better stage name than Joseph Triviani. Chandler mentioned that “Stalin” might sound pretty cool. Later Joey was shocked to find out that there already was one.

  37. “Sure, it’s important to recognize past injustices. But is it neccessary to tip-toe around them indefinately?”

    Smacky brings up a good point–for those who are offended by the picture, how old must an injustice be before it’s acceptable to make fun of it?

  38. I think it’s interesting the yearbook even had a category called “Most Whipped.” That seems like some parents would have a problem with that category even if it was with two kids of the same race. But, as long as the kids in the photo were ok with it, which is sound like they were if they posed and such, then the yearbook should still be distributed. I don’t see that there was intent to show a racial issue.

  39. Mo,

    “It may not be sophisticated, but it?s still funny.” Oh, no question, it’s funny. On so many levels, some of which the students probably got, and some of which they probably didn’t. I think the “What the hell is WRONG with you people?” factor makes it that much funnier.

  40. And to think I have to PAY professional dommes to put me on a leash. Some guys have it so lucky.

  41. –for those who are offended by the picture, how old must an injustice be before it’s acceptable to make fun of it?

    I dunno, but I’m sure if you ask in certain eastern european or middle-eastern parts of the world, you’re going to have to go back *more* than one or two thousand years…

  42. “The two geniuses in that picture are a couple of regular Oscar Wildes.”

    Well said and spot on!

  43. Have to laugh at those stupid redneck, inbred, hillbilly, trailer trash, NASCAR-loving, Bible-thumping, tobacco-chewing backward Floridans!

    Oh, *Boynton Beach*? Never mind.
    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004//pages/results/states/FL/P/00/county.001.html#12099

  44. And to think I have to PAY professional dommes to put me on a leash. Some guys have it so lucky.

    Franklin –

    Get a girlfriend! That will solve your dilemma. I know plenty of women who would jump at the chance to push a guy around.

  45. Smacky brings up a good point–for those who are offended by the picture, how old must an injustice be before it’s acceptable to make fun of it?

    I’m still outraged at the way the ancient Italians mistreated and insulted my Germanic ancestors. The Romans said they smelled bad and were fit for nothing but being servants.

    Well, I’m not really outraged. But I like to keep it in my back pocket in case I ever have to play the ethnic victim card.

  46. no one’s ever played the “whose ancestors were more shat-upon” drinking game?

    it’s like ipod wars but with genetics. extra points go to history nerds who can pinpoint specific atrocities…or as we like to call them, shot-trocities.

  47. Stevo’s post begs the obvious question: is anyone still suffering, today, because of the way the Romans treated Germanic tribes? Compared to, say, is anyone suffering today because of the oppression of black people in America?

  48. Racism will cease to be a big deal in our society (in terms of people being offended by imagery with racial connotations) when racism ceases to be a big deal in our society (in terms of prejudice and unequal opportunity making life harder for racial minorities).

  49. Since no one has brought it up, what I find most interesting, is that an interracial couple has absolutely no shock value today, even in the South. Keep in mind that 30 years ago, it probably would have been the white girl’s family with the objections to the photo.

  50. SD,

    Germans are smelly. Sorry but it’s true.

    QFMC cos. V

  51. Probably no one will ever read this, but:

    Stevo’s post begs the obvious question: is anyone still suffering, today, because of the way the Romans treated Germanic tribes? Compared to, say, is anyone suffering today because of the oppression of black people in America?

    Yes. We are all suffering as a result of the way the Romans treated the Germanic tribes. If the Romans had given the ancient Germans all the benefits of the Roman culture instead of keeping the “barbarians” down, then the Roman Empire would never have fallen, Werner Bronius would have invented the rocket in the 16th century, and today we’d have colonies around Alpha Centaurus, a cure for cancer, and medical science capable of keeping us all young and healthy for 500 years.

    Joe’s comment begs the obvious questions: Is it possible to weigh one ethnic group’s suffering vs. another on some kind of “groupsufferometer”? And can we tell how one group’s destiny might have been better or worse if not for the injustices of the past?

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