With the topic of racism very popular these days, a piece of historical trivia that has been popular since the late 2000s has come back to life.
Based on the claims, back in the 19th century up until the early 20th-century white-hunters in Southern America have used children, specifically black children who were born to slaves as bait in order to lure alligators out, so they can harvest the reptile's skin. The said allegations have sparked up once again as people continue to uncover the racist cruelty that happened in the United States even back in the days.
In addition, there are also other reports which suggest that the infants were not only used to lure out alligators but that these kids were also skinned alive in order for them to be suitable bait.
According to an article published in the Miami New Times in 2014, there are many documents that support the theories of black babies being used as bait for alligators during the slavery period. The article also mentioned an account from a guy who lived in Sanford who told their researcher that he has heard the tale of children being used as alligator bait from his own grandfather.
Fact-Checking site, snopes.com looked into the story and noted that the stories were all backed with claims of xenophobia, racism but also lacked in specifics. The site also noted that with the given information, they can conclude that black children being used as bait for alligators may have been rampant at some point in history.
Moreover, hey also stressed that there is not a single report that detailed and verified that the incidents indeed took place and it is all word of mouth.
However, despite this, the site noted that they are unable to prove the opposite of the claim as well.
There is no evidence which can support and demonstrate that there were no babies, regardless of the color or status were ever used as bait by reptile hunters. But there is also no evidence which would prove otherwise.
In order to assess their conclusions, the site opted to ask more information from Patricia Turner, a professor on African-American Studies and a folklorist. Turner is one if not the most well-researched person on the topic of "alligator bait" in the world. According to her, she has also not seen any proof that such practice existed and if it did it may not have been during the slavery era since during that time, a black child may be more valuable as a commodity than the skin of a reptile.
Nevertheless, people continue to seek the truth in the story which may only be folklore. However, it does depict the fact that since back in the days, stereotypes demeaning black people have already been rampant.
This has also shed light on the truth that until this day, many white-skinned people still look down on those with dark skin like they are alligator bait.
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