Is it Time For These Hudson Valley Lawn Jockeys to Be Taken Down?
A pair of lawn jockeys prominently displayed in the Hudson Valley may be sending the wrong message.
While driving through the Hudson Valley you may have spotted the awkward sight that I stumbled upon recently. A pair of lawn jockeys holding lanterns are situated right at the end of a driveway in a residential neighborhood in Dutchess County.
That's right, lawn jockeys in the year 2019.
At some point, the faces of the statues were repainted bright white. I assume the paint job was done in an effort to erase the racial implications of the statues. But the remaining bright, red lips and exaggerated facial features of the lawn jockeys make it hard to cover up the original intent of these lawn ornaments.
I would like to emphasize the fact that I don't believe these homeowners should be ridiculed or demonized for what may just be innocent ignorance of something that is deeply painful and offensive to many people.
The statues on this property are styled after the old "Jocko" variety of lawn jockey that resembles a cartoonish looking black person with a hand in his pocket holding a hitch for horses. While some historians believe the statues were originally created to resemble a real historical figure that assisted George Washington in the Revolutionary War, the statues have become a universal symbol of racism and are have mostly disappeared or replaced with more modern designs that aren't so racially insensitive.
Now, I'm certainly not insinuating that the homeowners are racist. In fact, I'm assuming that they are older people who have had these statues on their property forever and, at one point realized that they were actually a racist symbol, painted them and figured the problem was solved.
But seeing the lawn jockeys on display this week, when the Governor and Attorney General of Virginia are under fire for admitting to dressing in blackface and Gucci has apologized for selling a racially insensitive sweater in stores, puts the statues in an even worse light. Having these lawn jockeys proudly on display right here in the Hudson Valley is painfully awkward, at the very least.
I would like to emphasize the fact that I don't believe these homeowners should be ridiculed or demonized for what may just be innocent ignorance of something that is deeply painful and offensive to many people. Hopefully, someone will explain to them the history behind these statues and they will realize the time for them to come down is long overdue.
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