Thursday, October 11, 2007

Racing to the bottom, redux

Updated As I expect you have heard, a noose was found hanging on the door of Madonna Constantine, a black professor of race, racial identity, and multiculturalism at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York. Hundreds of people demonstrated in her support the next day.

But beyond the noose itself, there are two bits which should give pause to anyone who still wants to cling to the absurdity that race is no longer an issue in the US.

The first is that almost immediately, the hanging of the noose itself was overshadowed in the media by the initial refusal of Columbia to turn over surveillance videos of the building without a court order. For much of the coverage, that, rather than the blatant racism of the noose itself, became the issue. The university was "stonewalling," and when it agreed to give over the tapes, it had "flip-flopped." This was despite the fact that the university said it's policy was to wait until it got a subpoena - a policy I whole-heartedly endorse for its protection of privacy rights - and it appears it released the tapes immediately once a subpoena had been secured.

Anything, it seemed, to avoid focusing on the actual crime.

The other bit is the opening that this mis-aimed coverage provided for various jerks, jackasses, and bigoted lamebrains to suggest on various message boards that the reason Columbia was withholding the tapes was because they showed Constantine hanging the noose herself in order to spark a racial incident. Because as everyone knows, there is no racism. Nobody is racist - well, except for people like Al Sharpton and some liberals who support affirmative action. They're the real racists, y'know.

This was despite the fact that
[a]t an afternoon news conference, Deputy Inspector Michael Osgood, commander of the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force ... ruled out any possibility that Professor Constantine had hung the rope herself.

“Our victim is a victim,” he said at police headquarters.
But that doesn't matter, because, I mean, y'know, it's just not an issue. After all, as one person commented, "It's just a knot in a rope. Stop reporting this." Dammit it all, those people should just get over it. Even though
[i]n July, a noose was left in the bag of a black Coast Guard cadet aboard a cutter. A noose was found in August on the office floor of a white officer who had been conducting race-relations training in response to the incident.

In early September, a noose was discovered at the University of Maryland in a tree near a building that houses several black campus groups.

On Sept. 29, a noose appeared in the locker room of the Hempstead, N.Y., police department, which recently touted its efforts to recruit minorities.

On Oct. 2, a noose was seen hanging on a utility pole at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama.
Even though on Thursday a noose was found
hanging from a light pole outside the Church Street post office, near ground zero [of 9/11].
Even though on Sunday, a white woman was arrested
on hate-crime charges alleging she hung a noose over a tree limb and threatened a black family living next door in New York City.
Even though there have been at least a dozen noose-hanging incidents in the last two months, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Yeah, even though.

Updated with some additional recent noose incidents.

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