Anatomy Of An Ethics Train Wreck: The Amazon Warehouse “Nooses”

Amazon noose

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.

Observations:

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.

18 thoughts on “Anatomy Of An Ethics Train Wreck: The Amazon Warehouse “Nooses”

  1. Query: If this was in fact a stunt by some racist white rednecks (in Connecticut?), so what? Some assholes did this? Big deal. How are you going to legislate assholes and assholery out of existence? If you’re a black person waiting for deliverance from this sort of BS, you’re wasting your time. Just tell ’em to go to hell and proceed about your business. What ever happened to “sticks and stones can break my bones but words [and, by implication, stupid gestures] can never hurt me”?

  2. This story exploded again when they found another noose.

    Note, the construction site was locked up tight and under guard when the second was found; it was left during the first break in. Asshole vandal leaving two nooses, not one is not a breaking news by any stretch.

  3. Quite simply, you get more of the behavior you encourage. Finding “racism” and “racists” is encouraged and desired, so there will be more of these situations. In my opinion this is an unproven allegation at best. Really? No one has taken photos of these “nooses”? It’s a construction site. Rope ties of that nature are not unusual and are quite useful for a number of situations, such as hoisting equipment or tools up to a higher level. What is the proof that they were used as a threat against, well, anyone?

    Unfortunately, ethics and ethical behavior are hard. Ethical behavior is often unpopular and people want to get along to go along, and get on with their lives. It’s easier to make an apology, maybe some kind of restitution for something that may or may not have happened and MAKE THE COMPLAINERS GO AWAY! Except they never will. They have tasted the power, and they want more. Plus, it’s easy. Racism is something that our society condemns. Rather than take on difficult issues that will make the person pointing out those issues unpopular, though maybe proven right in the long term, it’s easier to take the shortcut. Scream about something you KNOW that society will not defend, and pretend to be brave, revolutionary, standing against the tide. Easy satisfaction, lots of publicity, on to the next target. And there will always be another target. The ones who fight back will be smeared and while they may be vindicated later, it might not happen. And in the meantime, lives are still destroyed.

    To point out that some kind of due process is required before jumping to a conclusion of racism is ethics at its’ most basic, but it doesn’t feel good, and the mob wants to feel good about themselves right now. I see a lot of parallels to the Stalinist purges and the Mao-led Cultural Revolution. Guilty parties must be found, and if evidence cannot be found, it will be invented. It doesn’t matter that the person couldn’t recognize a “great old” or understand Trotsky’s writings (or even recognize who he was, for that matter) even if the item in question was held in front of them with flashing lights around it. A guilty party must be found. Better them than me is the thinking. And when it’s over, I can feel good about myself, because I did something that my leaders have told me is good. And more than likely tossed aside by those leaders once they are no longer useful. It’s been my experience that if your protest or concern is met with approval in the press and by the leaders that are supported by that press, you’re not really doing anything revolutionary, you’re just helping to prop up the people in power.

  4. It seems that feral nooses are attracted to Amazon facilities.
    THIS ONE was apparently in the wild so long it lost most of what would enable it to even be identified as a proper domesticated noose. I wonder how many at the Connecticut site were that far gone.

  5. I had a roommate once who descended into clinical paranoia. He became convinced that there was a vast conspiracy of people out to destroy his life. He quit college because he thought his professors and fellow students were trying to kill him. He got a job but lost it because would drive to work and home by circuitous hours-long routes to shake off conspirators that he thought were tailing him, and therefore never arrived at work on time. He started seeing a psychiatrist but quit because he became convinced that the doctor’s office was bugged.

    I mention this because the first clear sign I noticed of his paranoia was when he came home from school one day and told me that the cord for the venetian blinds in one of his classrooms had been tied in a noose, and that he thought that this was meant as a threat to him. He began seeing nooses everywhere. Every loop in a rope or cord was a noose to him. Our neighbor had tied a “noose” in the rope on his flagpole and was part of the conspiracy. The children up the street had taunted him by tying nooses at both ends of their jump rope. Eventually, I moved out and wrote him off as a lost cause.

    The good news is that many years later, he seemed to shake off the insanity, started a business and got rich. I’ve actually done business with him, and while he still has a very suspicious nature and is highly cynical about the motives of other people, he apparently no longer believes in the vast anti-him conspiracy. Or maybe he’s hiding it.

    • That’s remarkable he appears to have grown out of paranoid schizophrenia. Miraculous but good for him. Would my best friend from high school had managed to do the same. Wouldn’t take his meds because he was convinced they were poison.

  6. I wonder . . . Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, right?

    And, in Alabama, community organizers want to unionize Amazon shops, right?

    And, Amazon disagrees, right?

    Even to the point that Amazon has refused to allow vote harvesting and mail-in ballots, right?

    And, the courts have not forced Amazon to buckle under the Teamsters’ strong-arm tactics, right?

    And, now, along come a bunch of stories of “nooses” meant to intimidate minorities, right?

    Could there be something else going on here?

    jvb

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