October 26, 2007

More Nooses? Or Do We Just See Them More?

There are 37 reported noose incidents around the country in recent months. A number of the recent incidents were occurring in the Nassau County (New York) area.

As such, I am pleased to see that Nassau County authorities plan to spend the next month scrutinizing county crime statistics to figure out whether there has been an actual spike in the bias crimes or whether the incidents are just getting extra publicity. Nassau's analysis will look at characteristics such as age and neighborhood to find any patterns in the bias attacks among particular groups, the accused and the victims.

"I don't know, are people more hateful today than they've been historically? I hope that's not the case," County Executive Thomas Suozzi said.

Recent noose discoveries on a forklift in the Hempstead Town garage, in a locker room at the Hempstead village police station, and in Roosevelt, where one included a stuffed animal with its fur blackened -- have garnered prominent newspaper and television coverage including on this blog.

"We've seen a lot more media reports about these type of incidents over the past two months," Suozzi said. "So is that because the media's more interested than usual or is it because there's a lot more events going on?"

One African American lawmaker, Roger Corbin (D-Westbury), deputy presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, held up a book with graphic depictions of Jim Crow-era lynchings. "This is what this means when Black folks in this country were lynched in every state in this union and the law protected the perpetrators. Shame on us if we tolerate this", said Corbin.

Perhaps it is time to change the law so that horrific symbols representing hate, discrimination, violence and murder can have harsher penalites. Villagers were glad to see the New York State Senate unanimously pass a bill that would more harshly punish people who draw, paint or place nooses on public and private property. This follows an amendment to NY state law enacted last year that made the use of swastikas and burning crosses a felony.

Let's keep our eyes out for the results of the Nassau County study ... and let's hope that similiar studies are being conducted in other places around the league.


Anonymous said...

The New York legislations doesn't ban nooses, it makes it illegal to display nooses with the intent to threaten or intimidate. It will probably produce very few, if any, prosecutions.

Villager said...

Anon - New York Senate passed bill ... you are correct, it is *not* the law yet. As stated in my post, the hope is that it will be signed into legislation. In any case, I appreciate you sharing your village voice with us!