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The noose in the news

 
 
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 08:25 am
This Halloween, a Reed College (known for being pretty liberal) student group set up a display of several scarecrows hanging by nooses from a tree. School officials took the scarecrows down and issued an apology to students. It seems that there were many complaints about racial insensitivity.

Despite the nooses long and gruesome history, have nooses become so symbolic of lynching that they have no place in even a Halloween display in America?

Do you think people are being overly-sensitive or do you think they have a point?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,675 • Replies: 33
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 08:30 am
I think that there was an overreaction. It was not as if they were displaying a human being in effigy. It was a damn scarecrow, in a Halloween display.

It reminds me of someone who once said, "He would see something dirty in the crotch of a tree".
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 08:33 am
I remember in some gardening show where they brought in an expert on pruning. This person was apologizing everytime she used the word crotch .
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tinygiraffe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 09:05 am
it would probably be racist for me to assume that most of the people that won't be offended are white, right?

don't get me wrong, i'm not calling it a hate crime, but to say it's in poor taste is an understatement, especially considering jena lately.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 09:32 am
In typical fashion, I'm sitting on the fence on this.

I grew up in the south so I know the implications that a noose has.

Along the west coast, though, where Reed is located, more whites were lynched than blacks: In Oregon: 20 whites, 1 black; in Washington 25 whites, 1 black; in California 41 whites and 2 blacks.

Not that that over-rides the symbolism of the noose as racist.

To me, the fact that the display appeared on the day before Halloween and that it was clearly intended as a Halloween display is what makes me think this was an over-reaction.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 09:37 am
It's been in the news a lot lately and I wouldn't be surprised if that has something to do with the reaction.

The Jena 6 case, and the Columbia (?) case.

Those cases involved nooses that were definitely used for bad, racist, incendiary purposes.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 11:31 am
You could very well be right, soz.

I have read about the Jenna thing but hadn't heard about the Columbia thing. It does seem true that in both of those situations that the nooses were put up to intimidate. That's reprehensible.

I don't think that was the case here.

Sometimes it seems that people go out looking for ways to be offended.

I've been thinking about this a bit recently. One of our newspaper columnists took offense to a chalkboard specials listing at a local Starbucks and wrote and article in the paper calling it racist. The manager of the shop got fired despite the fact that the drawing was a parody of an actual, white, employee of the shop and the manager was, by all accounts, exceptional. The columnist later wrote an apology for jumping to conclusions and getting the woman fired.

I'm going to see if I can find the two articles.....
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DrinkCleanNoww
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 11:47 am
yes
I would say we are getting to sensitive with our daily lives and events. The events that transpire everyday in other countries would dominate our britney spear and anna nicole smith news.

I love that quote about the tree and the dirty crotch, great analogy.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 11:52 am
The first article:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/renee_mitchell/index.ssf?/base/news/1187319336174430.xml&coll=7

The second article:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/renee_mitchell/index.ssf?/base/news/11898267067590.xml&coll=7
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fungotheclown
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 11:59 am
Definitely an overreaction. The biggest problem I have with claims of racism in this case is that, while the noose was used in lynchings, it has a much longer history as a means of public execution. Like many symbols that have become "racist", the overall history of the symbol is being ignored in order to champion a cause.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 12:10 pm
sozobe wrote:
It's been in the news a lot lately and I wouldn't be surprised if that has something to do with the reaction.

The Jena 6 case, and the Columbia (?) case.

Those cases involved nooses that were definitely used for bad, racist, incendiary purposes.


... and Terre Haute university , Lansing, MI, Denison University, Dallas.... just to name first who came in the search, all papers from today or the weekend.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 12:27 pm
Boomer observed:

Quote:
Sometimes it seems that people go out looking for ways to be offended.



From another point of view, people go out looking for ways to be publically, conspicuously sensitive.

I rank apathy below what I consider misplaced zeal.

Furthermore, I'm very leery of people who tell me how I should feel. Therefore I must be careful, even in my thoughts, of telling others how they should feel.

The tempest may seem to be teapot sized, but boiling water scalds all the same.
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OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 06:14 am
yup, an overreaction.

if we live in a sterile environment, what happens when a serious "germ" comes into contact with us?

we need to develop toughter and more patient minds in america, we are usually way to quick to start yelling and making a gigantic damn fuss.

AND WE KEEP SILENT ON THE REAL ISSUES! WTF IS THAT?
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 06:21 am
I don't believe it was a conscious act of racism. Still, out of consideration for what a noose symbolizes in our society, I think it was appropriate to take down the scarecrows. If those figures accidentally got tangled in a way that made them mimic a swastika, I bet there would have been no argument about taking them down.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2007 04:54 am
There's an interesting comment by Clarence Page in today's Chicago Tribune (page 16 of the print edition)

http://i24.tinypic.com/wlvel4.jpg


Since not online (yet), here's the webversion via "Real Clear Politics"


Quote:
November 07, 2007
Beware Hate Crime Hoaxes
By Clarence Page

A student at George Washington University recently complained that swastikas were scrawled on her dormitory door. Thanks to cameras hidden by university police, they have a suspect: The student who filed the complaint.

I was shocked but not surprised, just as I am shocked but not surprised when, with thousands of cars on the road, some get into accidents. Similarly with the recent upsurge in national attention to swastikas, nooses and other racial vandalism in public places, I am shocked but not surprised that at least one case of racial-ethnic vandalism turns out to be phony.

The young woman's sad case might have passed without much off-campus notice if these were not times in which any knucklehead with a rope or a felt-tipped pen can make national news by hanging a noose or scrawling racist graffiti in a conspicuous location.

This upsurge in media interest followed the march that brought thousands to tiny Jena, La., in September. The marchers were protesting a series of racially charged local events that began with nooses hung from a tree in a schoolyard. With the help of black talk radio shows and blogs, Jena's local stories became a national cause with the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in the lead.

After that, national media seemed to be on the lookout for other sightings of nooses or racist graffiti to turn into more national causes. In one case, a black professor reported a noose had been hung on her office door at Columbia University. Police hardly had begun their investigation before students and faculty held a rally against racism. The speechmakers made upper Manhattan sound like 1950s Mississippi, except in this case, the rally was covered live on CNN.

Since then New York lawmakers have begun to vote on legislation to include nooses with swastikas and burning crosses among objects that cannot be displayed in a racially threatening manner. That's fine. Intimidating someone for reasons of their race, sex, religion or ethnicity should be a crime and it should be enforced. But, like any other law, hate crime laws can be abused, sometimes by those whom they are intended to protect.

Last year, for example, Trinity International University near Deerfield, Ill., evacuated some classes after anonymous letters threatened minority students with gunfire. A black female 20-year-old student was eventually convicted of felony disorderly conduct and ordered into counseling for creating the letters. Police told the Chicago Tribune that she had been unhappy at the school and hoped the threats would persuade her parents to let her leave.

Three years earlier at Northwestern University, a student who described himself as biracial admitted to putting anti-Hispanic graffiti on a wall near his dorm room and filing a false report of racial harassment and a knife attack.

In 2003 three black freshmen were accused at the University of Mississippi of writing racial graffiti on the doors of two other black students' rooms and on walls on three floors of the residence hall. Among their obscenities and racial epithets, their scrawls included a tree with a noose and a hanging stick figure.

Again, I was shocked but not surprised to hear of these episodes and others. I am only surprised when other people sound surprised. People file false police reports for various reasons. Why should we be surprised that some might file false hate crime reports just to get a rise out of other people?

No, we should not ignore symbols of hate that are displayed with an obvious intent to intimidate someone. Racial intimidation is a crime that needs to be taken seriously, regardless of which race the perpetrators happen to be. It is important to note, in that regard, that the George Washington University student's confession came a couple of days after another student, a male whose name also was withheld, was charged by campus police with painting a swastika on a door in another dormitory after a hidden camera caught him in the act.

Nor should we be persuaded by those who would have us believe, based on the occasional bogus hate crime, that racism is no longer a serious problem in America, compared to the personal responsibility of individual women and minorities. Students who are trying to learn, for example, deserve to be left alone, untroubled by racial vandals of any color.

Nevertheless, as we take incidents of racial vandalism seriously, our seriousness should include a dose of healthy skepticism. Overreaction only rewards the troubled souls who commit such offenses in the first place, whatever their sick reasons might be. They don't deserve that satisfaction.

Page is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist specializing in urban issues. He is based in Washington, D.C. E-mail: [email protected]
(c) Tribune Media Services, Inc.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2007 05:43 am
Two high school boys were arrested in Houston yesterday, accused of putting a noose on the bandstand. Monkey see monkey do is in play.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2007 11:10 am
What kind of attention starved idiot commits a hate crime against themselves? Of all the knuckleheaded ideas this one takes the cake.

What is this world coming to?

I read in the paper this morning about a girl who got detention for hugging her friend at school! Seems the school has a no hugging policy.

We can't hug our friends and we run around putting nooses up to intimidate others.

ARRRRGGGHHHH! My brain! My brain is gonna blow!
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Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 04:36 am
boomerang wrote:
What kind of attention starved idiot commits a hate crime against themselves? Of all the knuckleheaded ideas this one takes the cake.


I know of cases where even anti-racists have committed racist crimes (so as to prove the existence of racism in their community). In a town in the Netherlands a Turkish family perished in a fire. An anti-racist activist in the neighbourhood was so convinced that this was a racially motivated attack that he firebombed his own home to focus police attention on racism. In the end it turned out the perpetrator of the original arson was a relative who had a falling out with the father over money.

In another odd case an actor, so identified with the persecution of Jews that he enacted his own abduction by neo-nazis.

The world is full of oddly deranged people, so we should be surprised at nothing.
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Nov, 2007 07:04 pm
farmerman wrote:
I remember in some gardening show where they brought in an expert on pruning. This person was apologizing everytime she used the word crotch .


That's exactly why I take in as many of those shows as possible, Farmer. They are soooooo titillating.
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OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Nov, 2007 03:42 pm
Re: The noose in the news
boomerang wrote:
This Halloween, a Reed College (known for being pretty liberal) student group set up a display of several scarecrows hanging by nooses from a tree. School officials took the scarecrows down and issued an apology to students. It seems that there were many complaints about racial insensitivity.

Despite the nooses long and gruesome history, have nooses become so symbolic of lynching that they have no place in even a Halloween display in America?

Do you think people are being overly-sensitive or do you think they have a point?

The college administration acted in a deeply unAmerican way,
in contempt of freedom of speech regarding the Halloween display.
The administration was being politically correct,
which is anathema to American personal freedom.

Pro-American alumni shud withhold their financial support
until this unAmerican philosophy of political correctness is removed
( unless thay wish to support oppression and loss of freedom ).

An institution of higher learning is supposed to be a place
where everyone is free to exhange whatever ideas he wishes,
with no fear of retribution or of being stifled.

In my vu, the most abhorent evil ever to befoul the Earth was communism,
but if I were an administrator of a college, I 'd allow
even a filthy communist freedom to express his opinion openly.
Speech is not supposed to be confined to what is popular n stylish at the moment.
Freedom of speech means that speech is NOT censored for content.

Suppose that a Chinaman or a Jap wishes to argue,
with demonstrative support, that HIS race
is the best one that has evolved;
shud he be seized and stifled,
told that he cannot say that because it is not politically fashionable
and that he must consult the Kennedyite liberals to find out
what he has permission to SAY ( or to believe, in the privacy of his mind ? )


Ergo:
whether it is racist, or not racist, free speech shud NOT be suppressed by the heckler 's veto,
regardless of whether the heckler is an administrator of a college.
( It cud be possible that the college is private property;
if so, it shud advertize itself to prospective students
and to financially supporting alumni,
as allowing only such speech
that it approves, if it intends to impose censorship. )

Either speech IS censored for content,
or
it is NOT censored for content;
those r the only 2 possibilities.



People who don 't like free speech can say so,
and/or can leave the land of the free, and the home of the brave
and can go elsewhere where freedom is held in low esteem, like North Korea.

Thus saith
David ( freely )
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