Nooses: When Retro Goes too Far


(cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics)

When bellbottoms came back, I was ok with it. When 1980s style jeans and hair made a comeback, I was annoyed, but I let it go. However, it seems we've got the return of a much more powerful and painful symbol of the past to contend with nowadays: the noose.


photo by thetombstonesnake courtesy of Flickr


Of course, there's Jena, LA over a year ago, and the idiots who brought nooses back during the recent protest, but there are a frightening number of noose sightings all over the nation. I was watching CNN a few minutes ago and found this story

October 4th at the Coast Guard Academy: Coast Guard tries to deal with noose incidents

The head of the U.S. Coast Guard and a congressman planned to travel to the Coast Guard Academy on Thursday to speak to cadets about the discovery this summer of two small hangman's nooses on Coast Guard properties.
October 4th, outside of Pittsburgh: Nooses Left At O'Hara Township Work Site

A third possible incident of racial workplace intimidation in the Pittsburgh area this week was reported on Thursday morning. Errol Madyun told WTAE Channel 4 Action News reporter Ari Hait that he found a noose on Wednesday at the construction site where he's working in O'Hara Township.
October 4th, outside of Pittsburgh: Local Verizon Worker Says She's Target Of Racial Threat

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, claimed someone left a noose around a doll's neck with a note saying she didn't deserve a promotion. The doll was left on her desk in an inner-office envelope at the Verizon Wireless complex in Cranberry.
October 3rd, near Ft. Wayne, IN: Noose found on utility pole at Army Depot

Authorities are trying to determine who tied a noose to a utility pole in the industrial area of the Anniston Army Depot. A passerby spotted the noose yesterday at about 10 a.m
October 3rd, near Louisville, KY: Woman quits job after twice finding doll with noose around its neck

A year ago, Carla Hinkle says she found a doll with a rope wrapped around its neck in a plant at her job.
October 2, Pittsburgh: Racist Threat Found In Port Authority Garage

Officials said a black baby doll, with a racist threat, was found hanging Monday in a hallway at PAT's East Liberty garage. The threat was directed at an unspecified black woman.
September 30th, in Hempstead, Long Island NY: Noose Found Hanging In L.I. Police Station; Called 'Intolerable'

A noose was found dangling in the headquarters of a suburban police department that prides itself on its diversity, the police chief said.... <snip> Corey Pegues, a New York City police captain and the president of the Long Island chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, said members believed the noose may have been directed at a high-ranking Hempstead police official who is black.
This doesn't include all the incidents brklyngrl posted about on OpenLeft this weekend. Like the word "nigger" a noose can be used by any white person to bring down any black person. Doesn't matter if we're talking about high school students or Coast Guard officers, construction workers or police chiefs. I'm sure many of these incidents are copycats "inspired" by the Jena 6 story, but let's not forget that George Allen kept one in his law office long before that famous "schoolyard fight" in Louisiana.

Hanging a noose, like burning a cross or blowing up school children (whether on a city bus or in a church) is an act of terrorism. It forces people to change their habits, quit their jobs and live in fear. It is a threat on one's life. Black folks in America have been living with some form of terrorism since we arrived here, but somehow, I don't expect the government will be sending the troops to Hempstead and Louisville and Pittsburgh anytime soon.

P.S.

And then there's this incident on the campus of Grambling State: GSU president orders 'hanging photo' off Web. Apparently black parents wanted to dramatize the significance of the noose to their children in the wake of the Jena protest.

The Gramblinite's Web site Friday included a comment from a woman who identified herself as Irene Booker. She said in her posted comment, "Yes, it was a rope around the little girl's neck. It was a (safe) demonstration as to what the rope symbolized to blacks. This was my granddaughter and she along with so many of the other students did not understand the intimidation of the noose. I held her in my arms and she knows that I would not harm her or put her life in danger. In order to understand racism one must experience it to make the connection."
Thoughts, readers and fellow bloggers? Does the popularity of the noose indicate some resurgent racism, an increased comfort among racist people, a misguided set of "pranks" triggered by the Jena 6 case or something else altogether?