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Friday, January 25, 2008

Examiner: Ballpark workers find noose at construction site

Wow…I wonder what Stadiumweek Magazine is going to have on their cover.

Workers at the District of Columbia’s baseball stadium have reported finding a noose on the site, potentially worsening already tense racial relations on the project.

The noose was discovered Tuesday afternoon, said Courtland Cox, an official with the D.C. sports commission, the semi-public group that is monitoring construction of the $670 million stadium. The noose was put together by a white electrician from Maryland who was fired Thursday, Cox said.

...Critics of the stadium project seized on the incident as proof of the bad faith involved in the stadium construction project.

“It’s absolutely stunning,” said Ted Trabue, executive director of the District Economic Empowerment Coalition. “It’s a shame that we’re struggling to hire even a few African-Americans down there and then the few District people down there have to deal with this.”

Repoz Posted: January 25, 2008 at 05:19 PM | 678 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 25, 2008 at 05:30 PM (#2676025)
The comeback of the noose really warms one's heart.
   2. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 25, 2008 at 05:34 PM (#2676032)
Jeez, what's been going on lately?
   3. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 25, 2008 at 05:37 PM (#2676035)
Dude, if you can't handle black people, Maryland is not the place for you.
   4. A triple short of the cycle Posted: January 25, 2008 at 06:30 PM (#2676080)
Jeez, what's been going on lately?

Civil society is disintegrating.
   5. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 25, 2008 at 06:45 PM (#2676088)
Maybe someone really, really hated INXS.
   6. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 25, 2008 at 06:54 PM (#2676094)
...Critics of the stadium project seized on the incident as proof of the bad faith involved in the stadium construction project.
I take it as a sign that an a**hole was hired on to the project and then fired.
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2676102)
It's tough to figure out exactly what went on, given that the story provides precious few facts. All we really know is that:

Workers at the District of Columbia’s baseball stadium have reported finding a noose on the site... The noose was put together by a white electrician from Maryland who was fired Thursday...


There's a big gap in our information at this point. They found the "noose," and they apparently found who put it together... but we know nothing in between. For starters, I'd like to know what the electrician says about this.
   8. Lassus Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:12 PM (#2676113)
Does Ray think the electrician was trying to catch racoons or lobbyists by the ankles? ;-)
   9. McCoy Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:13 PM (#2676114)
So we decided to build a stadium, yadda-yadda-yadda, somebody got lynched.
   10. Al Kaline Trio Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:21 PM (#2676118)
Didn't they just hire Elijah Dukes to take care of these type of "dawgz"?
   11. Russ Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:30 PM (#2676122)
Civil society is disintegrating.


Thanks to politicians (on both sides of the aisle) who have blatantly abused the nature of the first amendment to serve their own political purposes. The problem with any sort of "faith-based" decision movement is that people already are biased to do whatever they want. To give them free reign to defend everything that they do based on what they believe has led to destruction of civility and a general degredation of the amount of thought that people are required to put into their actions. In the 70's, you couldn't hang a noose in many places because you'd be afraid of what everyone would think of you. Now, very few people what anyone thinks of them and even more of them have been led to believe that what other people think about you doesn't matter. Very dangerous method of thinking that, combined with the relative size of our monkeypheres, has led to a society that is coming apart at the seams.
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:43 PM (#2676131)
   13. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:49 PM (#2676139)
Does Ray think the electrician was trying to catch racoons or lobbyists by the ankles? ;-)


I see the smiley there; my main point is that if the electrician constructed the rope in that fashion for a legitimate purpose -- or for no purpose -- then it isn't a "noose" at all (*).

The story doesn't really provide any insight along those lines, so in that regard I feel like people are jumping to conclusions.

The company did fire him, which would seem to indicate that his purpose really was racial -- but it could also indicate that the company just didn't want to deal with the negative publicity from this.

Bottom line all I'm suggesting is that we need more facts.

(*) Does "noose" imply that the rope was actually hanging from something? As far as I understand it, a "noose" could simply be a rope tied with a loop, and doesn't necessarily have to be hanging at all. A rope tied with a loop could have many legitimate purposes, especially on a construction site.

Again, this is why I think we have gaps missing. Was the rope hanging? Where was it found?
   14. Craig in MN Posted: January 25, 2008 at 07:55 PM (#2676144)
The electrician heard that the Tigers would be coming there in a few years, and he must have thought they meant Tiger Woods. Simple mistake.
   15. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 25, 2008 at 08:04 PM (#2676149)
Thanks to politicians (on both sides of the aisle) who have blatantly abused the nature of the first amendment to serve their own political purposes. The problem with any sort of "faith-based" decision movement is that people already are biased to do whatever they want. To give them free reign to defend everything that they do based on what they believe has led to destruction of civility and a general degredation of the amount of thought that people are required to put into their actions. In the 70's, you couldn't hang a noose in many places because you'd be afraid of what everyone would think of you. Now, very few people what anyone thinks of them and even more of them have been led to believe that what other people think about you doesn't matter. Very dangerous method of thinking that, combined with the relative size of our monkeypheres, has led to a society that is coming apart at the seams.


I think you're taking a little bit of a short-term view here. First, "[t]o give them free reign to defend everything that they do based on what they believe" is essentially exactly what free speech is. And you and I are free to call them ######## for doing and believing what they do and believe.

You say that "in the 70's, you couldn't hang a noose in many places because you'd be afraid of what everyone would think of you." Go back 10-20 years before that, though, and you could not only hang a noose, but put it around somebody's neck in some parts of this country. But moreover, the article says that the guy who hung the noose was fired, so I'm not sure how the lesson learned here is that nobody will think less of you for hanging a noose. That's obviously not true.

Hanging nooses is a horrible thing to do. But I don't think the fact that noose-hanging is in the news lately is evidence that society is "coming apart at the seams." On the contrary, the fact that noose-hanging is judged as newsworthy and also worthy of condemnation, as evident by the comments in this thread and the firing of the electrician in this case, could be viewed as a sign that society is becoming far less tolerant of this sort of behavior and this sort of thinking.
   16. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: January 25, 2008 at 08:10 PM (#2676152)
Again, this is why I think we have gaps missing. Was the rope hanging? Where was it found?


I'm with Ray here. Not defending the electrician, but unwilling to believe the worst based on the one sided reporting of a few scant facts. Let's not forget that this is the city that fired someone because he used the word niggardly. If it was a regulation noose hanging from a beam, then that is a legit racist message. If it was a rope tied in a loop, that is something that has legit uses by an electrician. For all we know, it was a bunch of wires tied in a loop in preparation to being pulled through conduit.
   17. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 25, 2008 at 08:13 PM (#2676155)
has led to a society that is coming apart at the seams.
Which comes first, believing that society is coming apart at the seams or telling kids to get off your lawn. I personally think 1 leads to 2 but am willing to be persuaded otherwise.
   18. zack Posted: January 25, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2676160)
Nobody describes a simple piece of rope with a loop in it as a "noose". You would only describe it as such if it were a hangman's knot, and anyone tying a hangman's knot on a construction site either knows well what that entails or is completely oblivious.
   19. Swedish Chef Posted: January 25, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#2676167)
Or is going to commit suicide.
   20. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: January 25, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#2676168)
Nobody describes a simple piece of rope with a loop in it as a "noose".


Somebody with a bone to pick with the stadium project, like teh District Economic Empowerment Coalition, the sole source for this story, might.
   21. Lassus Posted: January 25, 2008 at 08:54 PM (#2676187)
Because there really hasn't been any kind of national problem with nooses lately, after all. Racism is dead.

/sarcasm
   22. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 25, 2008 at 09:30 PM (#2676200)
Let's not forget that this is the city that fired someone because he used the word niggardly.


Awesome.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 25, 2008 at 09:38 PM (#2676207)
Because there really hasn't been any kind of national problem with nooses lately, after all. Racism is dead.

/sarcasm


Actually, while racism is most certainly not dead -- there will unfortunately always be racists --the fact is that we've made huge, sweeping progress in this area over the last few decades.

This is clear from the fact that the incident at issue is a noose left at a construction site (or pictured on a magazine cover) rather than someone actually hanging from the noose.
   24. McCoy Posted: January 25, 2008 at 10:45 PM (#2676236)
in the 70's, you couldn't hang a noose in many places because you'd be afraid of what everyone would think of you

Wow, since when did the 70's become the utopian ideal for America? Somehow I don't think you lived in a big city if you think the 70's was all gung ho about equality.
   25. Phenomenal Smith Posted: January 25, 2008 at 11:04 PM (#2676249)
The irony is that the more the professional race baiting industry raises a stink about these incidents, the more likely they are to occur.
   26. Shibal Posted: January 26, 2008 at 12:08 AM (#2676303)
Growing up, I always looked at lynchings as something mostly done to cattle rustlers and horse thieves. When did it start becoming a race thing? I'm kind of worried because all my days of playing cops and robbers may just come back to bite me in the ass and ruin any future in politics that I may want to have.
   27. Alex_Lewis Posted: January 26, 2008 at 12:10 AM (#2676307)
It'll certainly limit your opportunites as a golf announcer.
   28. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 06:25 AM (#2676474)
"Racism is a worldwide problem, and it's been since the beginning of recorded history, and it ain't just white and black, but thanks to George Wallace, it's always a little more convenient to play it with a southern accent".

12% of Americans believe that Elvis is still alive.

Let us not extrapolate one jerk's idiocy into some greater movement.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: January 26, 2008 at 06:32 AM (#2676477)
I'm encouraged, for once, about the direction that a thread is taking.

Let's figure out what happened here.
   30. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 26, 2008 at 06:43 AM (#2676480)
Maybe it's because I'm only 24, but before last week I had no idea that a noose had a racial connotation.
   31. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: January 26, 2008 at 06:52 AM (#2676482)
I want to know if this thing of leaving nooses around is new. I knew a noose was bad, and I would have known not to suggest that Tiger Woods be lynched in a back alley, but I heard about some nooses at U of Maryland a few months ago and now they keep popping up. Is this all copycats after the initial story, or is this like the summer of the shark attack a few years back when shark attacks didn't increase but the media felt like making it a story that summer?
   32. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 07:18 AM (#2676488)
Another instructive quotation:

Coach Morris Buttermaker: [trying to console Ahmad after his errors in the first loss] There was nothing easy about those fly balls, Ahmad. They were tough chances! The sun was in your eyes!
Ahmad Abdul Rahim: Don't give me none of your honky bullshit, Buttermaker. I know they were easy.
Coach Morris Buttermaker: Let's not bring race into this, Ahmad. We got enough problems as it is.
   33. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 07:31 AM (#2676490)
What we can all agree upon is that this is proof that Roger Clemens used steroids.
   34. Shibal Posted: January 26, 2008 at 07:54 AM (#2676496)
More deep thoughts from the Bad News Bears:

Tanner Boyle: Jews, spics, niggers, and now a girl?
Amanda Whurlitzer: Grab a bat, punk!
   35. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 26, 2008 at 08:17 AM (#2676504)
There must have been a thousand nooses at Shea Stadium the last week of the season, but I don't think they were racial.
   36. Guapo Posted: January 26, 2008 at 08:44 AM (#2676507)
Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the history of lynching in the United States.
   37. Guapo Posted: January 26, 2008 at 08:47 AM (#2676508)
The Washington Post has a follow-up article:

The day after he was fired because of an incident involving a noose found at the Washington Nationals stadium construction site, Stephen White said it was a "stupid little prank" that has been blown out of proportion.

White, 48, who had worked for Truland Systems, an electrical subcontractor, said no racial overtones were intended.

He said that no African Americans were involved and that none were in the vicinity.

White said a co-worker threw a tied rope to him and said, "Steve, I made you a necktie."

"I threw it back at him," White said. "I guess it fell on the floor. I got fired because somebody put a noose together to put around my neck."
   38. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 09:15 AM (#2676511)
Civil society is disintegrating.


Thanks to politicians (on both sides of the aisle) who have blatantly abused the nature of the first amendment to serve their own political purposes. The problem with any sort of "faith-based" decision movement is that people already are biased to do whatever they want. To give them free reign to defend everything that they do based on what they believe has led to destruction of civility and a general degredation of the amount of thought that people are required to put into their actions. In the 70's, you couldn't hang a noose in many places because you'd be afraid of what everyone would think of you. Now, very few people what anyone thinks of them and even more of them have been led to believe that what other people think about you doesn't matter. Very dangerous method of thinking that, combined with the relative size of our monkeypheres, has led to a society that is coming apart at the seams.


To claim this is because of behavior "on both sides of the aisle", particularly if you're emphasizing the role of "faith", is absurd. Republicans have perfected the art of smearing the opposition. Democrats, on the other hand, yield to no one in their willingness to sh!t on the Constitution.
   39. Honkie Kong Posted: January 26, 2008 at 10:02 AM (#2676515)
So is John Mellancamp going to make a song out of this?
   40. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: January 26, 2008 at 01:31 PM (#2676522)
The day after he was fired because of an incident involving a noose found at the Washington Nationals stadium construction site, Stephen White said it was a "stupid little prank" that has been blown out of proportion.


Yep. Sounds like a real a'hole alright.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 06:15 PM (#2676567)
The day after he was fired because of an incident involving a noose found at the Washington Nationals stadium construction site, Stephen White said it was a "stupid little prank" that has been blown out of proportion.


The way the writer phrases this, it makes it seem like it was Stephen White's "stupid little prank," when actually it was the co-worker's prank.

Anyway, while it was a "noose," it wasn't hanging. It seems to me that if one is trying to send a message by leaving a noose, one at least hangs the thing from something. Though perhaps the placement of the noose here was peculiar; we still don't know where it was placed.

It would also be instructive to learn whether either of the men involved has a history of being involved in any racial incidents.
   42. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 26, 2008 at 06:45 PM (#2676576)
The way the writer phrases this, it makes it seem like it was Stephen White's "stupid little prank," when actually it was the co-worker's prank.

Seems odd that you were highly skeptical of the original story, yet seem to have no problem with taking this guy's version of the events at face value.
   43. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#2676581)
The way the writer phrases this, it makes it seem like it was Stephen White's "stupid little prank," when actually it was the co-worker's prank.

Seems odd that you were highly skeptical of the original story, yet seem to have no problem with taking this guy's version of the events at face value.


In the comment you quoted, I just pointed out that the writer should have written: "Stephen White said it was a co-worker's stupid prank." Anyway, it wasn't a big point.

As for being skeptical of the original story, I simply asked for more facts than the original story provided. Now we're getting them. But I'm not "accepting White's version at face value"; there is no indication from anyone that the noose was hanging.

Anyway, the DC Council Member saaid the incident will be investigated. Aren't the types of issues I raised precisely what someone investigating the incident would look into?
   44. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: January 26, 2008 at 09:10 PM (#2676635)
Anyway, the DC Council Member saaid the incident will be investigated. Aren't the types of issues I raised precisely what someone investigating the incident would look into?


And if it turns out that my namesake's story is close to the truth, I wouldn't hold my breath (not that neckties have breath) waiting for an apology from the DEEC for jumping to a premature conclusion.
   45. Cabbage Posted: January 26, 2008 at 09:41 PM (#2676643)
If you're ever feeling down about race relations in America, just remember that its a whole lot better here than in Europe.

I mean seriously, ever watch the World Cup?
   46. Jeff K. Posted: January 26, 2008 at 10:04 PM (#2676647)
Maybe it's because I'm only 24, but before last week I had no idea that a noose had a racial connotation.

What? Seriously? This floors me.
   47. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: January 26, 2008 at 10:15 PM (#2676649)
Maybe it's because I'm only 24, but before last week I had no idea that a noose had a racial connotation.

What? Seriously? This floors me.


I've known this from birth, but then I'm only a couple of days old.
   48. Lassus Posted: January 26, 2008 at 10:22 PM (#2676653)
#26 and #30 have me literally speechless. Or typeless. I'm pretty much beyond stunned. No wonder people get befuddled and then angry and irritated when charges of racism are leveled in the country.

Unbelievable.
   49. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 10:25 PM (#2676655)
If you're ever feeling down about race relations in America, just remember that its a whole lot better here than in Europe.
Europe is a pretty big place. Care to narrow it down? Better than some places, worse than others, I'd say.
I mean seriously, ever watch the World Cup?
Eh? What's that got to do with anything?
   50. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 26, 2008 at 10:27 PM (#2676657)
I'm pretty sure 26 was intended as satire.

I could weep over 30, though.

Enjoyed your analysis of the NYTimes building, by the way.
   51. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 12:45 AM (#2676710)
I could weep over 30, though.
Really? You think it's a bad thing that (most) people in this country don't obsess about race anymore?

In context, of course a noose could be a racial thing -- but in isolation, lynching is certainly not the first thing I think of. (And that assumes it's a noose; as Ray points out, it's not exactly inconceivable that people would be calling an innocuous loop of rope a "noose" for political purposes.)
   52. JC in DC Posted: January 27, 2008 at 01:16 AM (#2676728)
Really? You think it's a bad thing that (most) people in this country don't obsess about race anymore?


LOL. Like it requires or required "obsession about race" to know something of our racial past and what a noose signifies to many people.
   53. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 01:36 AM (#2676736)
LOL. Like it requires or required "obsession about race" to know something of our racial past and what a noose signifies to many people.
It doesn't require obsession about race to know something of our racial past. But automatically thinking about race in every situation does. A burning cross is pretty inherently racial. A noose is not.
   54. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 01:40 AM (#2676740)
LOL. Like it requires or required "obsession about race" to know something of our racial past and what a noose signifies to many people.


I won't speak for David, but from my perspective, if the goal is for people to view life not through the prism of race, then I should think it would be a good thing that people increasingly don't automatically think of the lynching of black people when they see a noose.

It may show a lack of knowledge of history, but it also shows that the lynching of black people is just that: history. Which of course is a great sign of progress.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 01:53 AM (#2676748)
I won't speak for David, but from my perspective, if the goal is for people to view life not through the prism of race, then I should think it would be a good thing that people increasingly don't automatically think of the lynching of black people when they see a noose.

It may show a lack of knowledge of history, but it also shows that the lynching of black people is just that: history. Which of course is a great sign of progress.


An even better sign of progress is that in 2008 heads don't generally turn when an interracial couple walks down the street. That only took several hundred years to accomplish, and I can sure remember when that sure as hell wasn't the case.
   56. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: January 27, 2008 at 01:58 AM (#2676750)
There are still many many places in the US where an interracial couple will get very disapproving looks at best, under the breath comments at worst. Have seen it first hand.
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:01 AM (#2676751)
There are still many many places in the US where an interracial couple will get very disapproving looks at best, under the breath comments at worst. Have seen it first hand.


From anyone under the age of 80?
   58. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:07 AM (#2676752)
From anyone under the age of 80?


Of course. Out here in flyover country racism is alive and well.
   59. Jeff K. Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:24 AM (#2676757)
Yes. And I can attest from personal experience.

She's barely under 80 (I think she's 77 or thereabouts), but I can guarantee my grandmother would not be happy to hear that I'm seeing a full-blooded Italian girl right now. It's not just a black/white thing.
   60. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:34 AM (#2676762)
She's barely under 80 (I think she's 77 or thereabouts), but I can guarantee my grandmother would not be happy to hear that I'm seeing a full-blooded Italian girl right now. It's not just a black/white thing.


But that's a different issue from whether interracial couples are getting dirty looks or comments from strangers.

I'll defer to Kevin's personal experience in this area. I, like Andy, generally don't see it, and in fact I can't remember the last time I have seen it.
   61. Srul Itza Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:45 AM (#2676768)
A burning cross is pretty inherently racial. A noose is not.

That could depend on what part of the country you are from, and what circles you hang around in [no pun intended].

But why should anyone be so surprised that people under the age of 30 or so are otherwise uninformed about that part of our country's history? I grew up when lynchings were still happening, and the civil rights movement was still producing murderers and martyrs. On a broader note, everyone of my general had parents who lived through the depression, and fought in WWII; and then lived through the Vietnam War/Watergate era that convulsed the country, and produced truly astonishing moments in history like Kent State, the Chicago Convention Police Riot, and the Watergate hearings.

I truly believe that, because of the events we lived through, and the events our parents lived through, my generation was more aware of, and more sensitive to, the history of the 20th century. I just don't see that in people born in and after 1970's. For them, this all seems like ancient and dusty history, and history in which they are none too interested.


There are still many many places in the US where an interracial couple will get very disapproving looks at best, under the breath comments at worst. Have seen it first hand

Then there is here, where I know more interracial marriages than non-interracial, and the general consensus is that the hapa kids are the best looking.
   62. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:49 AM (#2676770)
Don;t get me wrong, I get very irritated with racial attitudes around here. I am merely pointing out that in many areas of this country racism is bubbling slightly under the surface.
   63. walt williams bobblehead Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:50 AM (#2676772)
I don't see why the failure to associate nooses primarily with lynchings of black people shows a lack of knowledge of history. Hanging was the common method of execution for centuries.
   64. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 02:55 AM (#2676774)
I don't see why the failure to associate nooses primarily with lynchings of black people shows a lack of knowledge of history. Hanging was the common method of execution for centuries.


Ok, how about amending that to a lack of knowledge of our racial past.
   65. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 03:03 AM (#2676779)
I won't speak for David, but from my perspective, if the goal is for people to view life not through the prism of race, then I should think it would be a good thing that people increasingly don't automatically think of the lynching of black people when they see a noose.

It may show a lack of knowledge of history, but it also shows that the lynching of black people is just that: history. Which of course is a great sign of progress.


An even better sign of progress is that in 2008 heads don't generally turn when an interracial couple walks down the street. That only took several hundred years to accomplish, and I can sure remember when that sure as hell wasn't the case.

There are still many many places in the US where an interracial couple will get very disapproving looks at best, under the breath comments at worst. Have seen it first hand.

I don't doubt that, and that's why I wrote "heads don't generally turn" rather than "heads never turn." We're not yet completely into colorblindness by any means, and there's no question that some of the non-looking is more a fear of confrontation or ridicule than it is a sign of underlying acceptance. You'd have to be a fool not to recognize that.

That said, the difference between my college years (early-mid 60's) and now is like the difference between life on Mars and life on Earth. Which to me may be the single most hopeful long range cultural trend in my lifetime, since to me about 90% of racial prejudice stems from our historic racial isolation. We're now just beginning to know one another over the last couple of generations, even if we thought (mistakenly) that we did before.
   66. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 03:12 AM (#2676783)
I truly believe that, because of the events we lived through, and the events our parents lived through, my generation was more aware of, and more sensitive to, the history of the 20th century. I just don't see that in people born in and after 1970's. For them, this all seems like ancient and dusty history, and history in which they are none too interested.

I have to agree with that, and if I have any one "intellectual" goal in life, it's to immerse myself in, and try to make sense of, all the great events and cultural trends of the 20th century. But before I get all that huffy and puffy about it, I have to remind myself that to a person born in 1970, World War II is like World War I was to me (born in 1944), and I didn't know a damn thing to speak of about that "ancient and dusty" war until I was forced to in one of my history classes. And I still can't say I know squat about purely military history, even though I made a living for nearly a quarter of a century selling it.
   67. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 27, 2008 at 03:16 AM (#2676785)
Cause I don't see a noose and think of lynchings means that I don't know history?

I can guarantee my grandmother would not be happy to hear that I'm seeing a full-blooded Italian girl right now. It's not just a black/white thing.

She's not a fan of hairy women?
   68. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 03:22 AM (#2676789)
I had my mailbox burned down a few months after we bought a house in a traditionally white suburb of Richmond. Since I was singled out for such treatment, I can't get over the feeling some message was being sent.
I'm guessing it's from someone who had met you.
   69. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: January 27, 2008 at 04:09 AM (#2676812)
12% of Americans believe that Elvis is still alive.

Jesus H. Christ that's embarrassing in this day and age.

I don't want to live in a country where 88% of the people are so willfully ignorant of the truth. Stay asleep people, stay asleep.
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 04:28 AM (#2676816)
12% of Americans believe that Elvis is still alive.

Jesus H. Christ that's embarrassing in this day and age.


Well, given that he would be 73 now and the life expectancy for men in this country is 74, we're right around the point at which he would be expected to die anyway.

Actually, that's not quite accurate; once a man has already reached the age of 42 (Elvis's age in 1977), his life expectancy is 77 according to the actuary table. So, a few more years.
   71. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: January 27, 2008 at 04:29 AM (#2676817)
DMN, you and I rarely see eye to eye but sometimes you can bring the funny.
   72. Shibal Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:07 AM (#2676833)
Just to echo Nieporent's point, a burning cross has a specific meaning. A swastika does likewise. A noose doesn't. It can have that connotation, but not by itself. Put a noose outside a black person's house, or his locker, and then there is a problem. But the context matters. Tying a noose is not an inherently racist act, and the implication that we all should 'just know better' is silly.
   73. JC in DC Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:23 AM (#2676841)
There is a context here that connects it to a racial question, so there's no need to be "race obsessed" to think that the obvious implication of the noose was to signify the lynching of blacks. And while it's true that nooses (neese?) don't have "a specific meaning", that's actually likewise true of your other examples. Pop over to your Methodist church for burning cross imagery; ask your Hindu or Jain friends about the broken cross and whether that has "a specific meaning."

And while we're all celebrating the disappearance of lynching in this country, have we really all forgotten about the killing of James Byrd, which, while technically not a lynching was a race crime by any measure, including even, I assume, Nieporent's? That was way back in 1998, IIRC.

And don't miss my point: it's not to deny the very real racial progress made in this country; it's instead to bring context to why black folk might remain, despite that progress and without being "race obsessed" a little sensitive about the whole lynching thing.
   74. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:43 AM (#2676847)
Strange coincidence: My students and I attended a Jena 6 Workshop today.

It was interesting to see the contrast between the inhabitants of Jena who said, "Race was never an issue in our town before this event" and the historical record.

The kids did very well. When we did an exercise at the end where they had to strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with statements and then support their case, most of them said that they thought that racial issues are worse now than they were four decades ago.

I'm not sure how I feel. I think it's a huge difference to--Jena notwithstanding--be able to speak your mind for the most part and get ridicule rather than killed. However, they made some good points about the sinister nature of hidden racism as opposed to overt racism.

Some of you may be annoyed that there is anyone even discussing Jena 6, but I figure a majority of folks here would be interested.
   75. JC in DC Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:51 AM (#2676852)
I would think one of the consequences and maybe even signs of racial progress would be that overt acts of racism become covert; iow, they're no longer acceptable and must take refuge in the dark. So, "hidden racism" might in fact be a sign of healing and progress rather than that "racial issues are worse now than they were four decades ago."
   76. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:58 AM (#2676856)
The kids did very well. When we did an exercise at the end where they had to strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with statements and then support their case, most of them said that they thought that racial issues are worse now than they were four decades ago.

I'm not sure how I feel.


E-X, what you need as a teaching tool is a good reliable time machine. I say this in all sincerity. Take your students down to Louisiana and have them visit good ole Leander Perez, the boss of Plaquemines Parish, and then let them take that exercise again.
   77. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:06 AM (#2676860)
Of course, the so-called "Jena 6" thing was mostly a media fabrication -- although I'm not sure it's fair to blame it on the media so much as on a handful of activists and commentators. Yes, Bell was overcharged initially, but that's hardly a sign of racism -- just prosecutorial zeal.


And while we're all celebrating the disappearance of lynching in this country, have we really all forgotten about the killing of James Byrd, which, while technically not a lynching was a race crime by any measure, including even, I assume, Nieporent's? That was way back in 1998, IIRC.
Of course I remember it. Nobody has ever denied that individual racists -- of all races -- still exist (and always will) and still act on their racism. I can find you stories of whites who were attacked by groups of black people because of race. (Harder to find those stories, because the media doesn't turn them into causes celebres the way it does for the reverse, but they do happen.) What made lynching a big deal was that it wasn't merely a series of isolated incidents by lone morons, but a relatively organized activity carried out with the acquiescence, if not outright support, of the government.
   78. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:10 AM (#2676862)
the boss of Plaquemine Parish,


Plaquemines, actually. (I used to live in that area.)

Edit: Ah -- never mind. I see you corrected it.
   79. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:14 AM (#2676865)
What made lynching a big deal was that it wasn't merely a series of isolated incidents by lone morons, but a relatively organized activity carried out with the acquiescence, if not outright support, of the government.

This may be just another way of saying the same thing, but what actually made it a big deal was that there was often little way of telling where the mob ended and the government began. In many parts of the country (and not just the South) the mob and the government were separated more in nomenclature than in reality.
   80. JC in DC Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:14 AM (#2676866)
Nobody has ever denied that individual racists -- of all races -- still exist (and always will) and still act on their racism.


Super. And nobody has said or implied that anyone denied the existence of individual racists. Yay for us! Instead, however, we're presumably talking about a cultural context and why blacks might be sensitive to the recent re-emergence of a sign of lynching. It doesn't require "race obsession" to be sensitive to that.
   81. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:17 AM (#2676868)
the boss of Plaquemine Parish,

Plaquemines, actually. (I used to live in that area.)

Edit: Ah -- never mind. I see you corrected it.


Back then I heard it called both ways and I had to look it up to make sure.

Love them alligator cages of Leander's---E-X should have his students get in that time machine and interview some CORE workers about those. They were sui generis supreme.
   82. JC in DC Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:19 AM (#2676871)
This may be just another way of saying the same thing, but what actually made it a big deal was that there was often little way of telling where the mob ended and the government began.


No offense to both of you, but I assume what made it a big thing was not merely that there was a blurring of the line b/w mobs and local gov'ts, but the ritualized aspects of the murders associated with lynchings. These were not merely extra-judicial vengeance killings, but also (very often) highly ritualized sacrifices.
   83. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:22 AM (#2676872)
Instead, however, we're presumably talking about a cultural context and why blacks might be sensitive to the recent re-emergence of a sign of lynching.


But if the electrician is telling the truth, this incident wasn't a recent re-emergence of anything.
   84. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:32 AM (#2676881)
This may be just another way of saying the same thing, but what actually made it a big deal was that there was often little way of telling where the mob ended and the government began.

No offense to both of you, but I assume what made it a big thing was not merely that there was a blurring of the line b/w mobs and local gov'ts, but the ritualized aspects of the murders associated with lynchings. These were not merely extra-judicial vengeance killings, but also (very often) highly ritualized sacrifices.


That too, no question.
   85. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:32 AM (#2676882)
We are actually going to NOLA over spring break. I'm not sure what we'll get to see--it's a service learning trip, and the district isn't too flexible about overnight trips.

We spent a lot of time today looking at the racial history of that area in LA, and the implications for the Jena case.

Their argument was more nuanced that I had stated above and deals with much of your thoughtful responses. Their argument was that the centuries long overt racial oppression was doomed as the moment that people were forced to confront the obvious injustice of it. Their statement seemed to be more of a fear that covert racism has no logical end--as a society we will become more and more pathological on issues of race.

Incidentally, it also made wonder whether the eradication of racist imagery is the answer. After all, it is not the symbol of the noose, the "N" word, or bucktoothed imagery that is where the racism originates from. Those are the symptoms, not the causes.

The goal is not to eradicate the use of the word, or the symbol, but to understand the significance and learn from it.

That's why this whole "let's forget racism" movement is so backwards. The idea that whiny minorities brought attention to racial issues and created such problems is very clever as it accomplished the main goal of racism in the first place--to disarm ethnic minority groups and silence them.

A last thing I'd like to point out from the Jena case that DN seems to ignore entirely is the reality that the WHITES in the town face. The only adult to witness the attack left town in fear for his life. Many of those interviewed who had different accounts of the events than that the District Attorney put together refused to testify because they "have to live here".

A racial dysfunctional society does not only impede the freedom of ethnic minorities. Those in the ethnic majority also suffer.
   86. JC in DC Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:34 AM (#2676883)
But if the electrician is telling the truth, this incident wasn't a recent re-emergence of anything.


Yes, it's true that if the worker was telling the truth about the remarks he and the co-worker exchanged, there was no intent to do anything racial. I agree. OTOH, there has been a recent re-emergence of nooses in racial contexts, the company for which the fellow works has recently been involved in racial incidents (the firing related to 5 black workers and the allegation by their attorney that the foreman had a noose at that site) and therefore it's no surprise that the "silly prank" finds itself interpreted in that context. If it was a silly prank, that is.
   87. Lassus Posted: January 27, 2008 at 07:13 AM (#2676896)
Really? You think it's a bad thing that (most) people in this country don't obsess about race anymore?

It doesn't require obsession about race to know something of our racial past. But automatically thinking about race in every situation does.

David, I have no doubt you could give a rat's ass what I think (or seemingly, what most anybody other than yourself thinks), but this is the worst bit of semantic over-lawyered things I've seen you write. The predominant use of a noose in this country has not been for cattle rustlers, livestock thieves, or bank robbers. It has been for lynching minorities. To simply acknowledge this object's place and this symbol's place does not mean one is obsessing over race. It simply means one is paying attention, has an understanding of the history, and simply contains a level of empathy for the situation. To DENY the relevance of this object and this symbol is more of a twisted and pathetic obsession of race - by denial - than that by those of us who are recognizing it.
   88. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 27, 2008 at 07:35 AM (#2676900)
David, I have no doubt you could give a rat's ass what I think (or seemingly, what most anybody other than yourself thinks), but this is the worst bit of semantic over-lawyered things I've seen you write. The predominant use of a noose in this country has not been for cattle rustlers, livestock thieves, or bank robbers. It has been for lynching minorities. To simply acknowledge this object's place and this symbol's place does not mean one is obsessing over race.
I think the premise is not just wrong, but very very wrong. Hanging was the routine method of capital punishment for most of American history (and in colonial times), until the early 20th century, and while capital punishment is extremely uncommon now, at English common law, it was the standard punishment for felonies.

From what I can tell, you're off by at least an order of magnitude when you claim that the predominant use of a noose in the U.S. was for lynching rather than execution.
   89. Jeff K. Posted: January 27, 2008 at 08:22 AM (#2676906)
She's not a fan of hairy women?

Well played, son.
   90. Jeff K. Posted: January 27, 2008 at 08:24 AM (#2676908)
Cause I don't see a noose and think of lynchings means that I don't know history?

Just to note, I wasn't saying this (though others later did.) I'm just shocked that someone doesn't realize a noose has a racial connotation. Perhaps I'm old, though I'm less than a decade older than you. Though I am from Texas and you're from the the North; perhaps that explains it.
   91. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 27, 2008 at 01:36 PM (#2676935)
Glad to read your last response, E-X. Your students sound like a pretty thoughtful bunch. And if you could ever arrange a field trip to Leander Perez's old stomping grounds and interview some of his former "guests" (i.e. civil rights workers), it'd be well worth everyone's time.

A last thing I'd like to point out from the Jena case that DN seems to ignore entirely is the reality that the WHITES in the town face. The only adult to witness the attack left town in fear for his life. Many of those interviewed who had different accounts of the events than that the District Attorney put together refused to testify because they "have to live here".

A racial dysfunctional society does not only impede the freedom of ethnic minorities. Those in the ethnic majority also suffer.


Very well put, as I could have testified from my own experiences at Duke, back in the day.
   92. Belfry Bob Posted: January 27, 2008 at 01:49 PM (#2676936)
The predominant use of a noose in this country has not been for cattle rustlers, livestock thieves, or bank robbers. It has been for lynching minorities. To simply acknowledge this object's place and this symbol's place does not mean one is obsessing over race. It simply means one is paying attention, has an understanding of the history, and simply contains a level of empathy for the situation. To DENY the relevance of this object and this symbol is more of a twisted and pathetic obsession of race - by denial - than that by those of us who are recognizing it.


Oh please. I consider myself a caring individual, used to teach high school U.S. History, and am currently writing a novel told against the backdrop of the civil rights struggle in my sixties hometown.

To me, if you hung a noose from a black man's tree in his front yard or shook one at him during an MLK parade - that's a racist act, no problem with that interpretation. But to assume that 'the noose', in and of itself, is an object of 'racial symbolism'? I don't buy that at all.

UNC students and 'fans' hung Dean Smith in effegy when the Tar Heels were struggling early in his career there; wonder if he 'took offense' and fired off a protest to the Golf Network?

Whatever happened to really looking into something before acting, or bringing an act that might be considered ill-advised to the perpetrator's attention and waiting for a reaction - instead of branding them, tarring them, FIRING them...you know, in a sort of mirror-image rush to judgment?

The irony there makes me shake my head.
   93. Lassus Posted: January 27, 2008 at 03:41 PM (#2676960)
But to assume that 'the noose', in and of itself, is an object of 'racial symbolism'? I don't buy that at all.

Well, I'm assuming you're white. (as I am) I would disagree on this point, and strongly. And my opinion on the golf thing is equal of Michael Wilbon's, by the way. I'm not branding or tarring anyone, where do you see that in anything I wrote? All I'm asking for is recognition and education of fact. By arguing that leaving a noose in a situation such as the one described is racial in origin, I'm saying that those who don't see where a noose holds a significant place in American history are ignoring that history.

Also, equating firing someone with lynching someone as a "mirror-image rush to judgment"? Again, I can't IMAGINE why blacks feel the memory of their treatment is getting jobbed or diminished.


(David, neither of us KNOW the figures on hanging. Personally I'd love to find out. It is worth noting, however, that a lynching and a hanging for a crime are kinda NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL.)
   94. Lassus Posted: January 27, 2008 at 04:28 PM (#2676970)
Foolishly, perhaps I'll wade in a little more. Let's take a hypothetical poll of 1,000, no, 10,000 african-americans and 10,000 run-of-the-mill 3rd/4th-generation white folks like myself. Show them a hangman's noose, give them no choices, and ask them what it means to them, historically. I'm going to guess at the results. Let's say 9,000 african-americans say it means and reminds them of the lynching of their people. Let's say that 5,000 of the white folk say that, and the other half mention some form of bank-robbing, cattle rustling, and Dean Smith.

Now, it sounds to me that even if 90% of the african-americans say that it brings up horrible images of the deaths of their people in relatively recent generations, the proper and more reasonable reaction you're proposing is that they shouldn't be so upset or see it as racial, and that no one should, because WE (the 50%-60% who don't think of lynchings when we see a noose) don't see it that way. And, um, majority rules?

To me, this sounds like what David and Belfry Bob and others are saying. Note, I didn't call anyone names, I didn't tar and feather anyone, I'm just trying to get at what your intent here is. I'm against knee-jerk reactions, but are you saying that leaving a noose in what is admittedly a racially tense situation should not bring up race at all because of what a noose is and means to the population isn't racial?
   95. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: January 27, 2008 at 04:53 PM (#2676983)
Yeah, I mean anyone who doesn't see "DMN" and think "over-lawyering" is sadly out of touch with BTF history.
   96. Lassus Posted: January 27, 2008 at 04:54 PM (#2676984)
LOL - geeeeeez guys, I know. This one just really hit me. I shouldn't have used the superlative "worst", I guess. I'm still a babe in the woods, I suppose.
   97. Belfry Bob Posted: January 27, 2008 at 04:55 PM (#2676985)
I'm against knee-jerk reactions, but are you saying that leaving a noose in what is admittedly a racially tense situation should not bring up race at all because of what a noose is and means to the population isn't racial?


Straw-man.

My post made it clear that if this is done in a 'racially tense situation', I can see the connection and the dismay. Someone making a casual remark that I can assume would have also been made about a white person, or any other race in question (the original 'lynch him in a back alley' remark concerning 'getting rid of a top player so the other guys can have a chance'), or the 'noose incident' as described by the person involved in the DC situation (whether or not this is the 'truth', of course, I do not know) does not, for me, meet the 'smell test' of a genuinely 'racial remark' or 'racially offensive action.'

That so many people, whites and blacks alike, do find this to be a 'racially tense situation' is what I find to be a lot of people looking for ways to be offended. How sad.

I stood on courthouse steps in my hometown in 1963 alongside black friends and people I didn't know as a young teen because I thought it was the right thing to do, so I don't appreciate anyone lecturing me on how sensitive I should or shouldn't be, or what may or may not be an 'acceptable' scope of history for me to embrace (I'm not saying you did this, Lassus, but it's a common theme of this thread.)

I can't tell others to 'get over it' or not to take themselves so seriously, but I can certainly think it...and it doesn't make me an Evil Ignorant White Person to do so.
   98. Lassus Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#2676992)
I'm glad that you are deciding what's a racially tense situation, Bob, and not all those sad black people who are looking to be offended by nooses.

EDIT: I am saying, in this situation, no matter what you did in 1963, you are not seeing the larger picture. Is that a lecture? Not sure. I just think here you are wrong.
   99. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:09 PM (#2676993)
Your methods of debate leave much to be desired, Lassus.
   100. Lassus Posted: January 27, 2008 at 05:28 PM (#2677000)
Your thoughts are noted, Ty.
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