March 13, 2008

Six Florida Students Suspended for Joking Around with Lynching Noose


We want our national leaders to engage in words and deeds that uplift our country. We want to move away from the evil racism that dominated our country over the past 300 years. Keith Olbermann had it right. It is a shame that Hillary Clinton didn't seize on the moment earlier this week to put racist words and deeds into a box and out of her campaign.

Young people take their cues from these national discussions. As such we shouldn't be surprised that at least six students at the Somerset Academy in Pembroke Pines, FL were caught hanging a noose on cmapus. [SOURCE]

Cindy Guerra, the South Florida regional deputy for the Attorney General’s Office noted, “A situation involving children and hate symbols is something we take seriously.”

The school’s assistant principal, Donyale McGhee said the students involved in the noose hanging were cited for “disorderly behavior, misrepresentation of information, defiance and withholding information from administration.”

Somerset freshman Moremi Akinde wrote a column for the South Florida Times titled, “Banning Black History Month,” in which she expressed her view that relegating black history to the shortest month of the year marginalizes the contributions of the race. The column was distributed at the school, and some students were asked to write responses to it.

Later, on Feb. 14, Moremi and several of her friends sat at a lunch table in the outdoor eating area of the school’s campus. Shortly after they were seated, one of the young ladies spotted a rope fashioned into a noose, dangling from an umbrella affixed to the lunch table directly behind them. The noose recalled the lynchings of Black people by white supremacists in the Jim Crow South.

Six male students of various ethnicities were sitting at the table where the noose was hanging. When Moremi and her friends approached the young men, the boys dismissed the offensive symbol as “just a joke.” Their response prompted Moremi and one of her friends to approach and complain about the noose to school officials.

Moremi said in a previous interview that there is an undercurrent of racial insensitivity at the school, where she has heard this joke from other students: “What do an apple and a black person have in common? Answer: Both look good hanging from a tree.’’

It is time that Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro, Ed Rendell and others do some soul-searching about the careless way that they are dealing with race relations in our country. Noose incidents like the one at Somerset will continue to plague us all over the United States if our national leaders don't do better.

6 comments:

Janet Shan said...

Great insight into a very prominent problem in America. You are quite right, it is time to move away from silly partisan and campaign bickering and focus on the issues the continue to dog America.

Shazza Nakim said...

"The school’s assistant principal, Donyale McGhee said the students involved in the noose hanging were cited for “disorderly behavior, misrepresentation of information, defiance and withholding information from administration.”

... Ahhh where is the HATE CRIME CHARGES ????

AgentX said...

Here we go, another Jena 6 in the making.

When even the PRESIDENT has had enough of noose jokes (Jasper Texas, anyone?) it's time they be thrown out of any discussion, just like blackface and Kafkaesque.

Villager said...

Janet - We're not moving off race as a campaign issue for some time. I see that you are blogging about the Rev. Jerimiah Wright story. That should keep it front & center in the public consciousness for a while longer...

Shazza - I don't know. On the one hand, it is good that the school administration took immediate action. That is quite unlike Jena school administration folks...

Agent X - Asante sana for sharing your village voice with us on this issue. I agree. There should be zero tolerance for nooses in schools or other public places...

Vanessa said...

Villager, thanks for the post. That school is only a few miles from where I live and there hasn't been much publicity about it here.

Villager said...

Vanessa - Let us know if you hear anything new in your local area. It is a good thing that the school administration acted promptly on the information. That is a sign of progress from the enforcement side of the picture. Now, if we can just educate the youngsters not to engage in this nonsense to start with...