Politics gives us the creation, interpretation, and enforcement of our laws.
But if you really want to take the temperature of a society, look to the culture.
Consider this article the insertion of a thermometer — I’ll let you decide which orifice.
We live in a dangerous world — ’til recently, words and actions quickly vanished into the ether.
But today, everything is permanent. Every mistake can bite back.
You can’t build a time machine to undo what you did, but a DeLorean’ll deliver your past quicker than you can say, “Great Scott!”
That’s especially perilous for youngsters, who aren’t exactly known for their brilliant moves.
Consider the plight of Mimi Groves.
As reported by The Daily Wire, 15-year-old Mimi was psyched to get her driver’s permit.
Upon receiving it, she sent a friend a 3-second Snapchat video.
The message: “I can drive!”
Only she added a peculiar closer.
Her exact words were, “I can drive, [N-word]!”
That was four years ago. She recently told The New York Times she employed the controversial term because it was used in “all the songs we listened to, and I’m not using that as an excuse.”
Furthermore, says Mimi, she didn’t “understand the severity of the word, or the history and context behind it because” of her age.
At the time of its transmission, the video purportedly made its way among a few teens at her Leesburg, Virginia school.
Then last year — three years after she made it — the video crossed paths with Heritage High senior Jimmy Galligan, whose father is white and mother is black.
Jimmy didn’t appreciate the word choice.
So he held onto the clip.
Mimi had continued to grow, and on May 25th of this year, she posted to Instagram that Americans should “protest, donate, sign a petition, rally, do something” to assist Black Lives Matter.
But on that very day, Jimmy unleashed the beast — he posted her video online.
At the time, Mimi had been accepted to the University of Tennessee.
Per the Wire, she was “set to join the school’s cheer team, which at the time was the reigning national champion.”
However, when the video went viral, she lost her slot as cheerleader. Beyond that, writes the Wire — she was “forced to withdraw from the university after facing pressure from admissions officials.”
As noted by NYT, school officials told her they’d received “hundreds of emails and phone calls from outraged alumni, students and the public.”
On Saturday, the Times profiled Jimmy, presenting the story from his point of view.
The headline: “A Racial Slur, a Viral Video, and a Reckoning.”
That certainly sounds pro-justice, as opposed to anti-cancel.
Mimi expressed remorse:
“It honestly disgusts me that those words would come out of my mouth,” Groves told the Times. “How can you convince somebody that has never met you and the only thing they’ve ever seen of you is that three-second clip?”
She also said her parents didn’t allow such language, and that she’d made a grave error.
On Snapchat, one black woman appeared to defend Mimi. She claimed the girl had privately apologized years ago.
“We’re supposed to educate people. Not ruin their lives all because you want to feel a sense of empowerment.”
Jimmy Galligan held on to a three-second clip of a White teenage girl saying the N-word while singing along to a rap song for years. He posted the clip publicly when the girl had been admitted to a university in order to ruin her life. https://t.co/UA84HkMYXg pic.twitter.com/J9FJcf6hjK
— Billy (@billygerent) December 27, 2020
But others weren’t so forgiving.
In response to her pro-BLM post, one user remarked thusly:
“You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word.”
More from the Wire:
Galligan chose to publicly destroy someone he didn’t know who attended his same high school, when he knew from previous experience that taking someone aside worked just as well. Years earlier, he told the Times, his white Father had uttered the racial slur after attending gatherings with his black mother’s family where they regularly used the slur. Galligan took his father aside to explain to him it wasn’t acceptable for him to use the word.
Speaking to the The New York Times, Jimmy says he has no regrets:
“If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened.”
He did a good thing:
“I wanted to get her where she would understand the severity of that word. … I’m going to remind myself, you started something. You taught someone a lesson.”
These days, taught lessons are brutally learned.