Vanity Fair, It’s A No.
Vanity Fair is at it again with soft serving racism, this time covering Timothy Tyson’s subject for his upcoming book, Carolyn Bryant Donham. Donham is painted by Tyson as someone who has had her life ruined by the Emmett Till case and as someone who he identifies with on a personal level, remarking that she could fit in at his family reunion. It is not clear from reading the article if she is regretful, and her inaction over these past 40 years suggests that she is either ashamed or holds no real regret for her actions and words.
To be frank, it is an easy thing for a now 82 year old woman to do, to be interviewed and asked questions in the comfort of her home, to be hidden away from public scrutiny (and possibly reaction) by her doting family and to not be forcefully called to account for her allegiance to White Supremacy. This woman’s false accusations led to one of the most brutal and galvanizing murders in American history and it was compounded when she was called upon to testify about what he said to her and about how he made her feel. A 15 year old boy was being posthumously dehumanized, and Donham did nothing to stop it. Excuse me if I don’t particularly buy this reporting from Vanity Fair. I would also like to point out that it reads much more like a short brochure for Tyson’s upcoming book on Donham’s confessions than anything else.
This book feels like her last gasp at satisfying her own guilty conscious before she ultimately, and quietly kicks the bucket. I have no sympathy for a woman who had no problem operating within White Supremacy, and now, when it is politically and personally convenient to say that she was opposed to the practice and the order of the day that ruled when she was younger, and arguably more able to resist White Supremacy, her proclamations now hold zero weight with me. I have no respect for her as a person if she will wait until now only to garner some sympathy and some pitiful empathy when her silence and her complicity resulted in the brutal murder and subsequent dehumanization of a fifteen year old black boy and now she wants to bask in the glow of late age reconciliation and repentance without penance. It infuriated me to read how gently Vanity Fair saw fit to cover Donham with such sickening sympathy. She has had more than enough time isolated away from the sound and the fury of those incensed against her crimes. Let her hear us. Let her feel our anger. Let her deal with what she has wrought.