Halloween "Lynching" Decoration Sparks Racism Allegations

Some Riverside residents think the decoration harkens back to U.S. dark past and slavery

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A life-sized -- and life-like -- Halloween decoration hanging by its next writhes and wheezes. Some residents say the dangling figure looks too similar to racial lynchings. Tony Shin reports from Riverside for the NBC4 News at 5p.m. on Oct. 25, 2013.

    What would you think if you saw a life-like figure dangling by its neck from a tree in your neighborhood?

    Natalie Diaz and her father said that when they made the hanging dummy out of PVC pipe, they thought it would be a scary Halloween decoration for their Riverside home. The figure writhes and wheezes.

    But their decoration has drawn a lot more attention than they thought it would, and for all the wrong reasons.

    “I understand it’s a Halloween decoration to that family, but in other people’s eyes, they don’t see that,” said Mary Bailey, a neighbor. “They see a form of racism.”

    Bailey, whose children are biracial, said the image of a man hanging from a tree digs up gruesome images from America’s past racism-fueled violence against black men and women.

    “It hits home because my family is a part of that history,” she told NBC4.

    Others in the community said they understand Bailey’s point of view, but don’t think the decoration is racist.

    Chris Atencio, a neighbor who is part black, described it as “fun” and “creative.”

    The homeowners with the decoration say they have no plans to take it down before Halloween.

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