Four years ago, 15-year-old Mimi Groves, then a freshman at Heritage High School in Virginia, was excited to get her learner’s permit. After receiving it, she sent her friend a 3-second Snapchat video in which she said: “I can drive, [n-word]!”
Somehow, the video was circulated among a few students at school. It survived for years, and, last year, Jimmy Galligan, who was a senior along with Groves at Heritage, ended up seeing it. Galligan, whose mother is black and whose father is white, said he was offended by the video. Instead of explaining the issue with a white girl using the slur to Groves herself, Galligan held onto the video and waited until he could use it against Groves to destroy her.
Typically, such an act would be seen as bullying, but in today’s pro-cancel-culture society, Galligan received a New York Times profile and the story presented from his point of view, along with a headline clearly favoring his actions. “A Racial Slur, a Viral Video, and a Reckoning,” reads the Times headline about Galligan’s act.
The “reckoning” refers to what Groves endured at the hands of Galligan. Groves had been accepted to the University of Tennessee and was set to join the school’s cheer team, which at the time was the reigning national champion. When Galligan posted the video of Groves online and it went viral, she lost her position on the cheer team and was forced to withdraw from the university after facing pressure from admissions officials. The officials apparently told her they received “hundreds of emails and phone calls from outraged alumni, students and the public,” the Times reported.
Groves told the Times that she didn’t “understand the severity of the word, or the history and context behind it because” she was so young. She told the outlet the slur was used in “all the songs we listened to, and I’m not using that as an excuse.”
“It honestly disgusts me that those words would come out of my mouth,” Groves told the Times. “How can you convince somebody that has never met you and the only thing they’ve ever seen of you is that three-second clip?”
Groves also said her parents didn’t allow such language and had taught her not to post anything online she wouldn’t say in person or want them to read. Of course, being a teenager, she still made a stupid decision.
Here’s the thing. Groves had already privately atoned for the video years ago. One of Groves’ friends, a black woman, said the white cheerleader has privately apologized for the video years ago. The friend tried to defend Groves after the video went viral, but the mob attacked her as well.
“We’re supposed to educate people,” the friend wrote on Snapchat, according to the Times, “not ruin their lives all because you want to feel a sense of empowerment.”
Further, Groves had clearly become on the side of the mob after the police-involved death of George Floyd on May 25. She posted on Instagram at the time that people should “protest, donate, sign a petition, rally, do something” to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
This was the same day Galligan struck.
Someone responded to Groves’ Instagram post by saying, “You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word.” Friends started calling her and she learned that Galligan had posted the four-year-old Snapchat video that same day.
Galligan chose to publicly destroy someone he didn’t know who attended his same high school, when he knew from previous experience that taking someone aside worked just as well. Years earlier, he told the Times, his white Father had uttered the racial slur after attending gatherings with his black mother’s family where they regularly used the slur. Galligan took his father aside to explain to him it wasn’t acceptable for him to use the word.
Galligan told the Times he had no regrets about what he had done to Groves.
“If I never posted that video, nothing would have ever happened,” he told the outlet.
“I’m going to remind myself, you started something,” he told the Times, which added that he said it “with satisfaction.” “You taught someone a lesson.”
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