I have no clue how I missed this video. In the following year-old clip, we have a Massachusetts woman offering up a series of inflammatory rhetoric, racial slurs and even a bit of physical assault toward a USPS employee for not accepting a certified letter she signed for but no longer wanted. What followed, of course, was her subsequent declaration that she was not racist. Check it [Warning: Strong Language]: 

Jaw dropping.

Though I was late on this video, the rest of the Internet-using world wasn’t. So it wasn’t too long before the face in this video was matched to a name and a history. That said, I introduce to some and present to others…one, Erica Winchester. As it turns out, Winchester is quite the character. According to the Smoking Gun, she has also reportedly threatened to cut a police officer’s genitals; this occuring after he arrested her for trespassing at a community theater rehearsal where she also directly threatened a member of the cast with gun violence. Also included on her record was an arrest a few years ago for drunk driving. Outside of her issues with the law, Winchester interestingly enough serves as the director for The Speech Company, which offers its customers numerous public speaking and speech communication services. These serves include, but not limited to, “Accent Reduction” (a must for you dirty foreigners trying to take over our country). Based on all this, it’s clear that she has a few screws loose.

As a side note, I also learned that the postal worker in the video was fired following the incident, though the USPS is being very hush about why.

The additional storylines aside, I suppose the reasons I find this story so unnerving are two-fold. What’s most obviously bothering is the overt racism being showcased by this lady. Judging solely by appearance (and perhaps based on some ingrained notion of eurocentric innocence), she looks harmless enough. But she is obviously carrying some very deeply internalized resentment toward racial minorities. For all I know, this woman – this Jane Q. Public – could be my next door neighbor, the person I sit next to on an airplane, or the person I work with everyday. I have absolutely no intentions of indicting an entire group of people based on one person’s decision to promulgate their racist ideology. Still, since it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the practice of racism is no longer solely within the province of the Klan, I’m often left wondering who I should be on the lookout for. These days, hooded sheets are being replaced with jeans, dresses, and pinstriped suits.

But secondly – and perhaps most notably – what bothers me is her vehement denial of being racist.  Fortunately, in this instance we have clear video evidence to the contrary. But generally speaking, when people deny being racist, it’s then  left up to the group subjected to the racism to offer explanations as to why certain statements and actions are offensive. What others may see as innocuous observations (though I don’t know how this lady could find anything innocent in her statements), others see as hurtful and offensive. And instead of certain folks using the experience as an educational tool in learning about offensive language and behavior, their typical retort is something to the effect of “Oh, you’re just playing the race card.”

So my dear readers of The Unmitigated Word, tell me: was this lady being racist or was she just venting frustration? The floor is yours.

– ACL

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