Your place for social commentary

“Hidden” Message?

I guess I didn’t get the memo, but when did the “noose” become the modern day symbol of racism?  It seems as though every time I turn on the news or pull up my internet browser there is a new noose sighting.  What’s really going on?  Are “they” so threatened by “our” potential and our achieved successes that they have resorted to sending nooses?  Are we getting too big for our britches and thus need to be brought back to reality???            

News flash, we didn’t need a noose to know how they really felt about us!  Anyone that has ever had even the most minor confrontation at work knows when someone is giving you the who does she think she is stare.  Most of us will stare right back and take the I double dog dare you to call me out of my name so that I can kick your behind all up and through this camp, and then drag you to Human Resources to tell them what I did stance.   I guess our refusal to cower and shuck and jive has made some of us targets.              

There are still a few people cooning it up at our jobs (you know the type, always making jokes at the wrong time and doing something to embarrass the rest of “us”).  There are the “Renegades” (the ones that buck the system…come in when they want, leave when they want, and dare someone to say something).  Then there are the “Rabble-rouser”, we ain’t goin for this crap no more types.  I am going to guess that the renegades and the rabble rousers have somebody shaking in their boots.  These crazy fools are really sending nooses in the mail.  *shaking head*            

Historically the noose was a tool used to kill us. We could see our people swinging from trees so that there would be no mistaking the fact that the powers that be meant business. The empty noose hanging from a tree was a reminder of what would be done to us if we “got out of line” or disobeyed.  Now that it is 2007, does the noose hold the same meaning?  If, God forbid, someone sent a noose to your inter-office mailbox, would you be afraid?  Do you think the dude in the cube across from you might try to hang you up from a light fixture?  Chances are he wouldn’t, but the people sending these nooses are trying to send some type of message.            

If we look at the Jena 6, they lived in a racist town, and decided to sit under  a whites only tree.  Subsequently a noose was hung to send them a message.  At first glance you might think, Jena is in the south, and there is still a huge racial divide, but this noose nonsense is much more widespread.  A black professor of a racial justice class in New York had a noose hung on her door.  Someone was trying to send her a message.  A principal in Brooklyn received a noose in her mail, accompanied by a letter full of racial slurs.  New York City is one of the most diverse places in the world, yet people are still hiding behind nooses.  Someone hung a noose at the Nyumburu Cultural Center at the University of Maryland last month.  What is that all about?            

The reality is this: Racism is real.  While we are some of the richest black people on the planet, and most of us will achieve successes our grandparents only dreamed of, we are still thought of by some as second class citizens. We can march all day and all night, they can pass legislation up the yin yang, but you can not take hate out of someone’s heart.  There will always be a segment of the population that will despise us, and while they know they can’t destroy us, they will try to “beat” us into submission with scare tactics like this noose nonsense.                         

As offensive as the noose is, we need to seize the opportunity to turn it right back around on them.  I do not know your personal stance on the “N” word, but many in my generation believe that by changing the spelling and using it as a term of endearment we took the sting out of the word.  They could no longer “own” it as a means to degrade us, because we flipped it into what we wanted it to be.    While I support the notion of legislation against the noose, I’m not holding my breath.  I’d rather look at the noose as a reminder of what all we as a people survived.  They hung us from trees, but at the end of the day, America would not be what it is today if not for the blood, sweat, and tears of those same people that the nooses were used to kill.   

I am not condoning fighting, but the Jena 6 were determined not to go out like Emmett Till.  I think it was a simple case of you wanna hang a noose, we got a trick for you! (Only my opinion, I was not there.)  I am not saying we go beat up everyone that we think is responsible for sending the noose, but the fact of the matter is, only a coward sends a noose in the mail.  Only a coward hangs a noose when no one is looking.  A noose couldn’t break us then, and it won’t break us now.  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but a noose in the mail makes me LAUGH AT YOU!



October 25, 2007 - Posted by | Life, News, Opinion, Race, Society


  1. I hate the YT girl in the cube across from me. She’s always looking at me like she’s surprised that a blakc girl from “the hood” (her words, not mine) can formulate an intellegent sentence. I think I’m gonna interoffice her a box of saltines, and see how long it takes her to figure out my hidden message!

    Comment by Tameka | October 25, 2007

  2. Don’t sleep on the “noose nonsense”!! The same cowards who hang nooses in the dark, go to the polls & vote in the dark for legislators who originate & pass bills that have harmful affects on us in every facet of our African American lives (poor schools,no child left behind, red-lining our neighborhoods, no assistance during natural disasters, high interest rate mortgages, 3 strikes & you’re out, 10 years for a consensual sex act, last hired, first laid off, gentrification…..to name a few. The injustice of the American justice system towarads our “brothers” (we all know some brother who has been affected in some unnjust incident & it isn’t always “Pooky” or “Shaheed”) was highlighted by the Jena 6 “noose nonsense”. It appeared that we “woke up from our sleep” and realized that just because we don’t see bodies hanging from trees doesn’t mean that the noose hangers have disappeared. They’re out there as undercover operatives (work supervisors, dishonest politicians, poor teachers, racist bankers, corrupt law enforcement). Neck popping, eye rolling and hateful stares “ain’t gone git it” Our biggest fear should be that our inactivity towards demanding justice “by any means necessary” allows us to go back to sleep while “noose nonsense” continues in the dark! The light we shine on it is our willingness to stay informed and getting actively involved on some level in turning this “noose nonsense” mentatlity around.

    Comment by Shangazi | October 25, 2007

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with Shangazi. I believe that the anonymous noose hangers are making people see that we need to continue to fight for equalities. We should not be so comfortable that we forget the past. We have to realize that the government are the #1 noose hangers.

    Comment by Nichelle | November 1, 2007

  4. Hi Epiphany!

    We loved this piece so it has been featured on Op-Ed Central!

    Comment by Say Your Piece | November 6, 2007

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: