Media Manufactured Noose Mania

During his

much-heralded speech
on

race relations,
Barack Obama bemoaned the idea that


"We can tackle race only as spectacle."
Calling the manufactured hysteria about
the alleged proliferation of noose hangings across the
country a "spectacle" would be an understatement.
But now both federal and state governments are trying to
"tackle" this problem by passing

"hate crime"
legislation.

Recently, the state legislatures of
Maryland and Connecticut took significant steps towards
banning nooses. The Maryland House of Delegates voted
111 to 20 to give up to three years in prison and a
5,000 dollar fine for the offense. Connecticut`s
judiciary committee

unanimously approved
a similar measure 43-0. A bill
has already been enacted in Michigan and one is underway
in the District of Columbia.

According to Saqib Ali, a Maryland State
representative whose parents came from Pakistan, and who
cosponsored the bill in Maryland, "The noose is the
premier symbol of hatred now, people don`t burn crosses
anymore."
[Law
Would Ban Noose Display
,
By Kate Queram,
Capital News Service,
March 21, 2008] The bill

failed
, but in all such attempts to pass bad laws,
the legislators only have to be lucky once.

Since the

abolition of slavery
, over

3,000 African Americans and 1,200 whites
were
lynched without fair trial. Though the majority of
lynchings were for serious crimes like murder and rape,
there are

85 known cases
where blacks were

lynched
merely for insulting whites. (Statistics on
lynching are kept by Tuskegee University.) In light of
this history
, a noose can have extremely racist and
threatening connotations.

However, unlike cross burnings, nooses
did not ipso facto represent racism and
oppression until recently. Depending on the context,
they could be a symbol of mob justice or

tough law and order.
In the

Old West
, the

"vigilantism"
of which the Minutemen are so
frequently accused was

a matter of whites hanging other whites,
such as

cattle rustlers
or

other criminals.

Thus in 2003, Willie Nelson and Toby
Keith scored a number one hit with

"Beer for My Horses."
In the duet, the

left wing
Nelson

sang
, "Take all the rope in Texas, Find a tall
oak tree, Round up all of them bad boys, Hang them high
in the street."
This song attracted no controversy—unlike
Keith`s pro-War on Terror anthem
Courtesy of the Red White and Blue.

In 2006, a major factor leading to
George Allen`s defeat in Virginia was his

alleged racial insensitivity
in calling an Indian
Jim Webb supporter "Macaca,"
which Allen`s opponents claimed was meant as a racial
slur. But even in this racially charged campaign, the
fact that he once had a noose outside his office while a
district attorney failed to gain any traction. Voters
understood that in proper context, Allen`s display did
not represent racism.

Yet just one year after Allen`s defeat,
the noose has come to embody all that is racist in our
society:

  • The city of
    Germantown, TN
    fired three public theater
    employees after a coworker complained that some
    stage-rope knots resembled nooses.

These are not isolated instances of
political correctness. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack
Obama have made nooses and the Jena 6 incident into
campaign issues. Even President Bush made nooses a
central theme to his Black History Month speech. He

claimed
: "The noose is not a symbol of prairie
justice, but of gross injustice."
(So much for

Willie Nelson
).

What has happened in the last year that
justifies turning nooses into the

new swastika?
It all began with the now
infamous Jena Six case in Louisiana
. The story
concocted by the Left and

parroted by the media
is that white students at Jena
High School hung a noose on a tree to intimidate black
students. A school yard scuffle broke out, and the six
blacks involved were charged with attempted murder,
while the whites who hung the noose were given a slap on
the wrist.

In

reality
, the nooses were hung in school colors by
historically illiterate students
prior to a football
game, aimed at a rival school with a Western-themed
team. Three months later, six black students,

some of whom
had

extensive criminal records,
beat an
isolated white student
who had absolutely nothing to
do with the nooses. The vice principal of the school who
found him thought he was dead.

In the wake of the case,

the noose "epidemic" began.
The highest
profile incident occurred when Columbia University
professor Madonna Constantine claimed a noose was hung
outside of her office. It has since came out that Prof.
Constantine was in the

midst of a plagiarism investigation
when the noose
appeared. The police are now subpoenaing Columbia
records to see if she was the perpetrator.

Similarly, a number of other
"victims"
of nooses such as a

Baltimore firefighter
suspected of cheating on his
exams and a

Lowe`s employee charged with internal
theft failed
to raise flags, and were later shown to be hoaxes.

There has yet to be a single noose
incident that was followed by violence.

But in all cases, politicians and civil
rights demanded harsh punishment for the offenders and a
media circus ensued. When they were exposed as frauds,
there was little reprimand or media coverage for the
hoaxers.

Many states have imposed restrictions on
swastikas and

burning crosses
. In 2004, the

Supreme Court
upheld a Virginia law that banned most
cross burnings even on private property. The argument is
that their intent is to

intimidate
and they are therefore not free speech.

That a symbol is not exclusively
associated with racism is now getting the same treatment
is more evidence of America`s slide down the slippery
slope towards

criminalization
of an

ever expanding definition
of "hate speech."

Not for the first time, diversity proves
to be, not strength, but tyranny.


Marcus Epstein [send
him mail
] is the founder of the
Robert A Taft Club
and the executive director of the
The American
Cause
and
Team America PAC
. A selection of his articles can be
seen
here. The
views he expresses are his own.