Warning: reading this story is likely to make you feel hopeless. For this is what the hyper-racialization and resulting division of American society breeds, and it can only go in one direction from here. Hint: it will not be a direction that will lead anywhere good.
A brief summary:
- In Windsor, Connecticut—I once spent a summer there!—Amazon contracted to have a warehouse built, with the promise of jobs and economic revitalization.
- Over the past three months, workers building the Amazon warehouse claimed to have found nooses, or ropes that looked like nooses, or “noose-like” ropes at the construction site.
- Protests have been organized by activists who have never seen the alleged nooses. Demands are being made for police to find and charge the noosemakers. The presence of the nooses, if they are nooses, is being called a “hate crime” by the local NAACP.
- Local community activists have organized several demonstrations to demand that Amazon take stronger action to ensure the safety of Black construction workers. One such demonstration included members from the Huey P. Newton Gun Club and the New Black Panthers, who showed up at the construction site carrying guns. The armed activists said they were there to defend the Black workers and make them feel empowered to speak their mind.
- Amazon and the other companies involved claim they have done everything they can. They have delayed construction twice, adding security (to protect workers from the nooses, apparently) and cameras at the site and putting up $100,000 in award money for anyone who can provide information about the nooses.
- The police say their investigation has determined that there were only two nooses, with six others being ropes with the kind of loop often used in construction projects.
1. The site has been shut down over this controversy since May. I see no reason why Amazon shouldn’t simply end the project, and let other communities learn a lesson. There is no reason in the world why corporations should put up with this.
2. The nooses, some of them, all of them or most of them, could be the work of racists, false flag trouble-makers, or hoaxers. In the past several years, we have seen ample examples of all three. Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks says , stupidly, “I don’t know what the message is but it’s an offensive and disgusting statement.” If he doesn’t know what the message is, how does he know it’s a statement at all?
3. A noose is not unprotected speech unless it is a direct threat aimed at an individual, and and an ambiguous, noose-like rope arrangement isn’t even that. Calling it a “hate crime” in the absence of motive or intent is ignorant or deliberately dishonest and inflammatory.
4. Whether the nooses mean “We hate blacks”or “This is what white America thinks of my people,” the reason for the sentiment is the “Black Lives Matter”/ George Floyd Freakout/antiracism-as-anti-white-racism/ “1619 Project” propaganda and indoctrination that has progressively poisoned American society for several years, usually with the complicity of pandering elected officials and unscrupulous business leaders and educators.
5.Although every action in human relations doesn’t have an equal and opposite reaction with the cosmic certainty of physics, they often do. All of our institutions have been concentrating on focusing hate, guilt and “justice” in the form of punishment on white society. What did we expect would happen?
6. Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, blathered standard PR boilerplate, of course. “Hate, racism or discrimination have no place in our society and are certainly not tolerated by Amazon,” she said. That’s facile and insulting garbage. About half the country’s citizens have seen hate focused on them for five years or more, and have been told that the hate is justified. A traditionally disadvantaged minority, meanwhile, has been told that nothig has changed sine the days of lynchings and Jim Crow, by the President of the united States among others. Amazon’s useless nostrums are dropped in a context where one group asserts that it has a right to hate, but nobody else does. In fact, we all have a right to hate, and that right is worth respecting: people should know that making other people hate them is unwise and unethical. It breaches the Golden Rule. As for discrimination, there is illegal discrimination, unethical discrimination, and valid discrimination. Racism, of course, is often in the eye of the beholder, or in the case of racial spoils or race-based benefits, the victims.
The Amazon warehouse noose drama is a microcosm of what will happen across the United States in all corners of society if leaders of all colors and parties don’t speak as one to demand that old grievances and racial bigotry stop being manipulated for political and financial gain. If they don’t, and I see scant evidence that they will, we are going to experience a lot worse than ambiguous nooses.