A Spate of Noose Incidents

I’m still involved in a marathon of faculty meetings, classes, and student conferences that promises to continue for several more hours, but am taking a short break to post a link to this link to Mike Nizza’s post on The Lede, his New York Times-sponsored blog. Nizza does a nice job of bringing in two of my favorite sources on hate crimes-related stories, the Southern Poverty Law Center (where I did my dissertation research) and Brian Levin at UC-San Bernardino, whom I met a couple of years ago at a conference here in New York sponsored by the ADL. Here’s a selection from Nizza, after referring to the nooses hung in the Jena 6 case, he writes:

“In addition to other racially charged incidents, an article in USA Today noticed nooses in almost a dozen recent news reports. The Lede tracked down a bunch of them: At a Home Depot store in South Elgin, Ill.; on the campus of the University of Maryland; in a police-station locker room in Hempstead, N.Y.; at two Coast Guard facilities; at high schools in North Carolina and South Carolina; and at least two cases of nooses with black dolls in Pittsburgh.

Initial reports on yet another noose incident may be linked to an academic dispute. A noose was found hanging on the door of a black professor at Teachers College, part of Columbia University, our colleagues at The City Room report.”

He then goes on to reference Mark Potok’s (of SPLC) assessment that there are typically around five (5) “noose incidents” a year, then quotes Levin as saying:

“Copycat offenses are most often committed by men under 22 who are bored or drunk and looking for attention…”

And, I’m guessing that’s the case at Teacher’s College. Nizza concludes with this:

Whatever their motives, this much is clear: in the wake of the Jena Six case, when nooses ignited a town and then a nation, officials are not suffering noose incidents gladly.

And, while it’s true that “officials are not suffering noose incidents gladly,” the real story here is that the students and other faculty at Teacher’s College are not standing for this. Indeed, as Seattle in Texas suggested here awhile back, students staged a walk out today from classes in protest. That should be the lede.

NYC Ivy League Noose

I’m dashing off to a long day of teaching and faculty meetings, so really only have time to alert readers to this story from here in New York City. It seems that the “noose,” as a symbol of racial terror is making a comeback beyond Jena. Reports are, it’s been used at the Ivy League Columbia University Teacher’s College. Here’s the story as local news channel NY1 is reporting it this morning:

Columbia University Officials, NYPD Investigate Noose Incident

School officials and the NYPD are investigating a possible bias crime at Columbia University after a noose was found hanging from the door of an African American professor at the Teacher’s College Tuesday afternoon.

University officials say they are outraged.

“All we learn in class is how to be multicultural, how to be understanding, how not to do things like this,” said one Columbia student.

“I can’t believe it. Especially in light of the whole Jena 6 thing going on, I wouldn’t expect it to go down here,” added another.

“I think it is just a reflection of what’s happening today in America. There is a race problem in the 21st century,” added a third.

“I think it is very tragic that it happened, but I think it is a very good launching point to start discussing some very serious issues that occur in the university,” added a fourth.

Students learned about the incident through a school-wide email from Teachers School President Susan Fuhrman, in which she says: “The Teacher’s College community and I deplore this hateful act, which violates every Teacher’s College and societal norm.”

Police have no suspects in the case.

I will have more to say about this later, but for now, let me just say that all those people who were talking about how racial politics haven’t changed “down South” need to re-examine the Northern flavor of white racism. Looks pretty similar from where I sit.