Copycat Noose Hangings

11 10 2007

Copycats around the country, perhaps angered by the Jena Six protests or just plain ignorant, have adopted noose hangings as a tool for creating an environment of intimidation and fear. 

According to the New York Times blog, City Room, another noose hanging took place this week at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College.  New York City’s Police Department Hate Crime Task Force are now looking to use a DNA testing to determine who place a “noose about 4 feet long about three-quarters of an inch in diameter” on Professor Madonna G. Constantine door.  (Check out today’s article on the incident here.)

Deputy Inspector Micheal Osgood of the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit reportedly told City Room, “We went back and checked our records for the past five years and we’ve had no noose-oriented cases.” He also noted this was one of two to occur so far this year. The other incident reportedly took place in a Queens neigborhood. Here is City Room’s summary of what happened. 

In a separate development, on 112th Street in Queens, an 18-year-old white woman was arrested and charged with a hate crime on Tuesday morning after she “threw a noose around a tree in her backyard and stated to an African-American next-door neighbor, `I’m going to hang your N– kids from this rope,’” Inspector Osgood said.

Interestingly enough, Newsday is also reporting today that a black Brooklyn detective, and former Marine, has recently filed an employment discrimination suit against Squad 8 in the New York City’s Police Department.  According to Newsday, Detective Gregory Anderson says he was called the N— word by white cops, and found a noose hanging over his locker at work. By my count that’s at least three incidents of noose hangings reported to NYPD police this year, not two.  

But even if the majority of people in the country do think of them as mere pranks, this recent surge and troubling trend of noose hangings need to be discussed openly and taken. Law enforcement needs to thoroughly investigate these crimes and punish those responsible, but there also needs to be a greater push to inform people about the racist legacy of these nooses and what they were used for in the south, which is to reinforce white supremacy.  In other words, an effort should be made to expose the horrid history of what seems harmelss on the face its face to some.

In the clip below, Wade Henderson from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights recommends that these incidents have given birth to an teachable moment that the country should sieze.  Watch it.

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