Thursday, November 01, 2007

CNN examines noose displays

In a special report broadcast this evening at 7 p.m. (Central) CNN will air "The Noose: An American Nightmare":

Do all the incidents of hanging nooses -- many with hateful notes to their intended black audience -- reveal an ugly truth about race relations in the United States, or are they just stupid pranks by a few foolish, attention-starved people?

Oh, Jesus. I hope this isn't going to be a 'fair and balanced' account.

And days before Halloween, a Stratford, Connecticut, woman reluctantly removed from her yard a dark-hued figure hanging from a noose. It was among numerous innocuous lawn decorations, such as ghosts and a plastic grave marker. "It's unfortunate that now, we're goingto have to think twice about what we display because someone might be offended," Jennifer Cervero told CNN.

Yes, how unfortunate for you to be inconvenienced by tolerance, Ms. Cervero. Back to some actual news:

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, said that the apparent increase in noose incidents is, in part, reaction to the news coverage of the "Jena 6".

Since September, the SPLC has recorded between 40 and 50 suspected hate crimes involving nooses, one involving two people traveling the road to Jena during the protests in a pickup truck with nooses affixed to the bumper.

"Tens of thousands of white people, if not more, feel that the events in Jena were grossly misportrayed by a politically correct media that twisted what was [to them], really, a six-on-one, black-on-white hate crime into an instance of the oppression of black people," Potok said. "That accounts, in part, for a backlash."

And then there's the well-documented effect in the "corporate" environment:

While the Department of Justice doesn't keep track of noose-specific offenses, the government published a report in 2000 showing an increase of nooses in professional environments.

And The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the race-baiting technique still creeps up in professional environments. There have been at least 20 lawsuits involving nooses in the workplace since 2001.

Of the 5,500 racial harassment charge filings in 2006, anecdotal information from EEOC field offices suggests that some involved nooses, but the agency is unable to quantify that data, according to EEOC spokesman David Grinberg.

On Wednesday, seven black workers employed by an Oklahoma-based drilling company won a $290,000 settlement in a discrimination lawsuit which claimed they felt threatened by the display of a noose on a Gulf of Mexico oil rig.

"It's time for corporate America to be more proactive in preventing and eliminating racist behavior," said EEOC Chairwoman Naomi C. Earp. "The EEOC intends to make clear that race and color discrimination in the workplace, whether verbal or behavioral, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Don't miss the special broadcast this evening.

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