Columbia’s Nooses: Why racism must be addressed at every opportunity

Cross-posted from Brave New Films Blog.

It is one thing when nooses and other symbols of hate are put in random places: on your car, in your own backyard. It's another thing when nooses are hung somewhere to send a not-so-subliminal message, as they in Jena, LA. However, it is an altogether different and much more scary & sinister animal when nooses are placed at the door of a specific individual.

What the hell is this world coming to? I know it's cool to be overtly racist these days, but wow. I'm know lawyer or constitutional scholar, but this looks like clear and present danger to me. When you lay a knife by someone's bedside while they sleep, you send a message that says "I can and will hurt you." When you get a noose hung on your door at your office, it sends the message that "I hate you and want to do something about it."

What's really troubling though is that the professor in this instance, Dr. Madonna G. Constantine, is a race scholar. She has been writing and researching on race, gender, and poverty issues for the entirety of her career as a student and professor. She has been working to destroy the ignorance that would lead to the line of thinking that says it's OK to harass people that are different. It is not an exaggeration to conclude that this is a more direct statement of hatred than hanging the noose on the dorm room door of a random Black student.

It is not clear whether the noose was hung by a student, a faculty/staff member, or someone not affiliated with the university. The fact is though that this could have come from any direction. What that means is that racism and hatred must be stamped out at every opportunity. There is no situation that is too small, no scenario that is too trivial, no event that is too subtle.

Oppose ignorance with awareness. It's now whining, it's educating. I pray that this event at the Teacher's College will educate us all about the urgency of the state of race relations in this country.



About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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