After firing him Monday, Charleston County schools Superintendent Nancy McGinley offered Academic Magnet High School football coach Bud Walpole his job back Wednesday. The reversal came after two tumultuous days of intense scrutiny over the school district's decision to fire the longtime coach for his team's postgame watermelon ritual. McGinley and Walpole met Wednesday afternoon and, according to McGinley's statement, the coach acknowledged that his team's tradition of smashing watermelons as part of a postgame victory celebration "could be viewed in a negative way."Yes, we've become so hyper-sensitized to the slightest whiff of "racism" that any statement or action that "could be viewed in a negative way" is the moral and political equivalent of lynching. And no one can put on a prickly display of affected insult like the NAACP:
The Charleston Branch of the NAACP, whose members came out in support of Walpole's firing, issued a statement Wednesday calling the team's tradition "inappropriate and racially insensitive." ... "All of the elements of the ritual reflect familiar and insulting stereotypes about African-Americans," the group's statement said. ... Racial connotations between watermelons and African-Americans date back to stereotypes and images that were prevalent after the Civil War, said Marcus Cox, professor of history at The Citadel. "Watermelons were used to symbolize the idea that African-Americans were simple-minded and only needed rest and a little watermelon to be happy," Cox said. "It goes to perpetuate the idea that slaves were happy with their state. It was really perpetuated after the Civil War, as a way to demonstrate that blacks were not suitable for freedom, that they were in fact inferior and not good citizens. "These negative images that many white Americans might not think much about are still offensive and hurtful to African-Americans," he said.Re-read that last line. That's how we're supposed to conduct ourselves these days, keeping ourselves in constant fear of offending some delicate minority. Everywhere we go, we're tip-toeing over racial eggshells. So innocence is no defense. Lack of intent to insult anyone fails as an excuse. If the NAACP declares itself offended, heads must roll. This is madness. And it's only going to get worse.