The good folks in Jena who see using nooses to intimidate blacks as “harmless pranks” must be pleased – and perhaps a little relieved. The bozo rednecks who chose to hang nooses from a pickup truck to intimidate people returning home from the Jena protest (the pickup truck is the vehicle of choice for racist acts, it seems) chose to do so in Alexandria, LA – a good 40 miles from Jena. That gives the good citizens of Jena an out – one which they will readily take, as history has demonstrated.
Now they have an incident much further away – way up there in “Yankee Land” – to crow self-satisfiedly to themselves about.
A black Coast Guard Academy cadet had a noose left in his bag last summer. This prompted the Academy to conduct race relations training for cadets. The training was led by a white Coast Guard officer. Subsequently, in what we can only assume is proof that at least a few Coast Guard cadets are ineducable bigots, the officer found a noose in his office the day after the training. While the Academy superintendent and the Coast Guard have conducted investigations, and members of Congress have called for the Coast Guard commandant to probe further, as yet no one has been charged with the acts.
Are these two incidents related? We have no way of knowing. What we do know is that in all these instances (the original Jena noose hanging from the “whites only” tree, the Alexandria – you know, the “them people over there” incident described above, and the incident at the Coast Guard Academy) young people are involved. And what that says is that some of our kids have gotten the wrong training.