[I sometimes write for a news and opinion blog called Freedom Outpost. The site has a daily digest emailed to roughly 800 thousand subscribers. I published an article there yesterday hoping it will spread awareness of the situation and expose more people to sport whip cracking. Below is the article in its entirety:]
Political Correctness Targets Bullwhips at Olympic College -Freedom Outpost
by Rhett Kelley
There’s a small but growing sport here in the U.S. It’s called Sport Whip Cracking. Imagine something like trick roping, but with a bullwhip instead. Adam Winrich currently holds 9 Guinness world records for whip cracking. He is known around the world and travels extensively performing. As you can see from this video footage of Adam, sport whip cracking is actually very impressive to watch.
Yet, it seems today nothing can escape the critical glare of the politically correct extremists out there who seem to find offense under every rock and behind every tree. Last weekend, I was alerted that whips and whip cracking have now been banned on the Olympic College campus in Bremerton, WA. This after professor Karen Bolton raised a fuss in an email after seeing a student on campus cracking a whip.
Bullwhips are no longer allowed on campus after an email complaint from a professor about the historical use of whips and their meaning to her as well as other students.
OC student Jason Harris’ whip cracking was brought to the attention of OC’s President, Dr. David Mitchell as well as all OC faculty and staff through an email from professor Karen Bolton. She said she felt offended by the recreational practice because of the historical context of the whip and it’s origins in slavery.
“Being a person of color, it literally made me feel sick to my stomach,” said Bolton in the email, “that whip has symbolism.”
Symbolism indeed Professor Bolton!
To many, it’s a symbol of adventure; of that first time they went into a movie theater and watched Indiana Jones use his bullwhip in Raiders of the Lost Ark. To others, it symbolizes monthly gatherings with friends at a local park to practice their sporting routines. For guys like myself, a whip symbolizes youth spent largely on a sprawling ranch in central Florida, being part of a multi-generational family business of raising cattle. And for others, it’s a reminder of a grandfather who once had a bullwhip and would crack it to entertain the grandchildren.
For one gentleman I know, it’s a symbol of overcoming tragedy: being able to crack a whip in both hands at once, even though his hands are prosthetic hooks following a high voltage power accident while serving in the Air Force. The symbolism of a whip to the people I know is that of a connection to actual experiences they’ve had. Sadly, Professor Bolton can only see a symbol of something terrible from the past that she has most assuredly not experienced herself. As one commenter posted on my Facebook page, if she sees such vivid symbolism of slavery at the mere sight of a bullwhip, then she’ll probably faint if she travels here in Georgia and passes by a cotton field!
I’ve sold whips to people of all colors and creeds on 6 continents. In all the years I’ve made whips, I honestly cannot recall anyone being offended at the sight of a whip because of some symbolic connection to Antebellum U.S. slavery. Most people are very curious and thrilled by the crack a whip makes. I’m sure at least one of my many black friends would tell me if my products were offensive to them. If anything, I find the biggest misconception people have when they learn I make whips is that I’m making them for people with some kind of sexual fetish or something. Never is there any mention of slavery.
The article goes on to state that Professor Bolton further sees the whip as a weapon. Can a whip be used as a weapon? Anything can be used as a weapon. Any one of the mundane objects cluttering my desk right now could be used as a weapon if I had no other options. I’ve sold many whips to those who use them in martial arts. There’s at least one book on the subject. The question is, did Mr. Harris use his whip in an unsafe or threatening manner? According to campus security, he did not. And neither Washington law nor campus rules classify a whip as a weapon.
Professor Bolton would do well to investigate sport whip cracking a little bit. I recommend she spend some time online checking out whip cracking videos. She might also try to catch a show by the aforementioned Adam Winrich, or my friend Chris Camp. Hopefully she would reconsider her position. After that, she could pay a visit to my website at Cowwhips.com, and I’d be more than happy to make her a whip of her own.
If she could just try to overcome the prejudices in her own mind, Professor Bolton might even find sport whip cracking to be an enjoyable pastime. It could be a nice break from the lofty, yet absurd, intellectual atmosphere of academia. It sounds like she needs it.
(If you think this is absurd as I do, please contact Olympic College president, Dr. David Mitchell about his decision to ban whip cracking on campus, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. A very well written form letter that can be found at Bullwhips.org, the site where I originally learned of this situation.)