Monday, September 24, 2007

History of hate

Three nooses hanging from the tree on the grounds of Jena High School in Jena , Louisiana. A noose hanging outside of the University of Maryland’s Black Cultural Center. A noose hanging from the ceiling inside an insurance company’s office in Columbus, Ohio. The abduction, torture and sexual battery of a woman in Logan, West Virginia. And those are just recent examples I’m aware of.

With the exception of the violence in West Virginia – there’s no doubt that was a hate crime regardless of whether the courts want to try it as such – we’re left to wonder, is the inflammatory symbolism of nooses lost on this generation?

Don’t misunderstand. I firmly believe the perpetrators deliberately worked to intimidate an entire populous. But are the communities that dismiss the malicious violations as simple pranks aware of the images associated with those nooses? Or by sanitizing our schools’ history curriculums, are we opening an avenue for a new generation of “pranksters” who operate from an even more dangerous ignorance than racism itself?

That’s one of the reasons I believe history – in its entirety – must be preserved, studied and analyzed. If we don’t learn from history, we will recreate it. We can’t bury this country’s history in the ground, then expect to live in harmony over its grave. We’re hearing the cacophony of our past right now, loud and clear.

And let’s not pretend this is only Black American history. This is All American history. We will all stand or fall from this. There were white people meeting and demonstrating in Jena, Louisiana, Sept. 20, 2007, as well as black people.

Don’t depend solely on the educational system to teach us and/or our children what we need to know. Go to the book store. Go to the libraries. Talk to your neighbors; they may have experiences to share.

It’s important to live in the present; but let’s promise to never, ever let anyone forget our past.



Nine to Five Diva said...

Excellent post Patrica!


patricia sargeant said...

Charlotte, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I just don't understand how anyone - anyone - can call the nooses a prank, unless they really have no comprehension of what those nooses convey. You know the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? If your vocabulary doesn't extend that far, that picture - or symbol - doesn't mean anything to you.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Excellent post, Patricia. This is right on point.


patricia sargeant said...

Gwyneth! Wonderful to see you, as always. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your reaction to the post. I came this () close to including a suggestion of non-fiction books to read.

Angela Henry said...

Great post, Patricia! You bring up some excellent points.


Villager said...


This is my first time visiting your blog. I look forward to coming back more often in the future.

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