Southern Trees Bear a Strange Fruit

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And so do the halls of Columbia University, apparently. Well, fortunately no bodies; just threats. What year is it? I keep loosing track because we seem to be going back in time.

Students and faculty at Columbia University expressed outrage over the discovery of a hangman's noose dangling from the door of a black female professor at its Teachers College, prompting the school to call a town hall meeting to discuss the matter.

"This is an assault on African Americans and therefore it is an assault on every one of us," President Bollinger said in a statement. "I know I speak on behalf of every member of our communities in condemning this horrible action."

Madonna Constantine, a professor of psychology and education, was the target of the alleged hate crime. On Wednesday, she addressed reporters, saying, "Hanging a noose on my door reeks of cowardice on so many levels. I want the perpetrator to know I will not be silenced."

As the recent occurrences in Jena indicate, there are still people in this country who don't like the idea of black folks getting too uppity. And to drive the point home, these atavistic morons are brandishing grizzly reminders of what just what can happen when they do. Nooses seem to be coming back into vogue, even in the New York area.

Nooses _ reviled as symbols of lynchings in the Old South _ have been showing up in other incidents around the country lately. Last year in Jena, La., three white students hung nooses from a big oak tree outside the high school, inflaming racial tensions. Other nooses have cropped up at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Hempstead Police Department locker room.

The U.S. Justice Department and Nassau County district attorney created a joint task force to investigate the noose found in Hempstead two weeks ago. No arrests have been made.

The Columbia investigation also follows the arrest Sunday of a white woman on hate crime charges alleging she hung a noose over a tree limb and threatened a black family living next door in Queens. The two incidents were "the first noose cases in recent memory" in the city, Osgood said.

"I hope it's not a growing thing," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "I think the noose thing is despicable and disgraceful. I don't know whether it was a hate crime or a very sick joke, but we take every one of these very seriously, and our hate crimes unit is investigating."

Anyone who thinks threatening a black person with a noose is a "joke" needs a history lesson. It is not a symbol that can be taken lightly. Whether it's kids who think they're being funny or Senator "Macaca" Allen decorating his ficus tree, this shit has to stop.