Nooses in the news

It is surprising — no, shocking — that more and more nooses are showing up on college campuses. Not just NYU, not just the Minneapolis Community and Technical College — even my own alma mater! From the LA Times:

The discovery of several nooses at a tolerance rally has upset the normally tranquil Cal State Fullerton campus.The nooses were found attached to a T-shirt display denouncing intolerance. In response, hundreds of students and faculty rallied against hate this week.Campus police say they are investigating last week’s incident as a “somewhat offensive” act but not a crime.

“It’s a freedom of speech area and it wasn’t directed toward any particular group,” said campus police Lt. Fred Molina. “But we want to find who’s doing this and why.”

Nooses at Cal State FullertonI am speechless.

First off, I just don’t get it that people don’t understand that a noose is a symbol of hate and intolerance. Nooses were used to make examples of everyone from slaves to women believed to be witches to those who wanted to read the Bible in English. I’m pretty sure across the board most informed people would agree with me on this point. Now, I realize the recent hullabaloo over the Jena 6 has helped the noose make a comeback, so to speak. Before, our modern symbols of hate were mostly guns and slashes made through neighborhood tagging. (I’m being sarcastic, fyi.) But even though the noose has made a comeback, that doesn’t mean we should use it more often, even if we’re not really using it — i.e. putting people necks in them. I mean, you just watch — one of these days, someone is going to use a noose as a prank and someone is really going to get hurt.

But seriously. Stop. JUST STOP. If we can symbolically lay to rest the N-word, then I can’t think of a more appropriate candidate for a symbolic funeral. White kids, this is not a joke. (I’m looking at you, fired Minneapolis student newspaper editor Gabriel Keith.) Black kids, this is not a joke. Everyone in between — THIS IS NOT A JOKE. The noose is a symbol of hate, fear and intolerance. Get it?

The other thing I don’t understand is why school officials at my alma mater aren’t looking to prosecute this as a hate crime. I mean, the nooses were hung at a tolerance rally. Didn’t I just mention how nooses are a symbol of intolerance? What exactly were the people behind the nooses trying to say? At a tolerance rally, let’s look at a symbol of intolerance? OY.

OK. I’m taking a breath. I’m getting off my soapbox. For more coverage, check out the Daily Titan’s stories, one from today about a rally against the nooses, reaction by students and faculty, and another one from last week about how the event continued to fight prejudice and hate speech a day after the nooses were found. I also noticed that Daily Titan photog Brenda Bravo (superheroine name!) had her photo published in the LA Times — congrats!

(BTW, what the heck is wrong with the DT website? The formatting seems all weird.)

You can also find video from my work site.

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