When does this…
And when does it mean this?
When is a noose a symbol of execution, and when is it a symbol of lynching of more than 5,000 African Americans in this country — including Duluth?
That is what authorities in Minneapolis are trying to sort out.
Gabriel Keith, 23, said, according to the Associated Press, he “didn’t realize the racist implications of nooses and their connections to lynchings of blacks in the South when he put one up as a joke to get student writers to meet story deadlines” at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
“A noose to me signifies Boy Scouts and westerns, but to them it was racism,” said Keith, who is white. Two African Americans on the staff objected, saying it is a symbol of racial intolerance, the AP reported.
There’s no question who owns the interpretation of certain symbols. The swastika. The Klan hood. But the noose, though it has a past rooted in racist hate, has a broader past. So how to interpret its meaning at any given point?
To be sure, the instances of nooses used as a racial symbol are clear and unmistakable, particularly recently — Jena, Louisiana Columbia University; Valparaiso, Ind. (involving a Minneapolis woman) ;Baltimore; and Stamford, Connecticut. While this was being written, reports came in from Chattanooga and Baltimore (again).
Perhaps we should’ve seen it coming. Ida Castro, then the chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first warned of the growing use of the noose as racial assault in July 2000.
It’s gotten worse. The Web site, DiversityInc., reports 58 noose incidents this year.
Question: Is this racist?
They were journalists, actually, protesting the crackdown on press freedoms in the Ukraine in November 2005.
“There’s a huge history of white people saying, ‘I didn’t know,”‘ she said. “We’ve heard it so many times that we just don’t believe it anymore.”
The other side argues that symbolism is, by its very nature, all about intent; sometimes a noose is just a noose.
If there’s no room for interpretation, is there room for discussion?