The Noose That Binds Us

BlogHer Original Post

A noose is a tool of murder. The noose has a specifically nasty American heritage that refuses to die. It is a stealth weapon of choice by cowards. This is not a simple story of a singular noose but of an alleged company structure that gave permission to maintain separate and unequal policies in its relationships to their employees.

There is a lengthy series of allegations concerning how Turner Industries Group, LLC and Turner Industries, LLC treated African American employees.

Employees at Turner have faced racial discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment for many years. They have faced racial demarcations such as: “nigger,” “colored,” “coon,” swastikas, drawings of nooses hanging around the necks of Black people, racist jokes, confederate flags, and Aryan Brotherhood symbols (including “KKK” and lightning bolts, a symbol known to be used by the KKK).

If that was all to it, the allegations it would be horrible. Take a moment to imagine having to work in that kind of environment in order to support yourself and your family.

You see, the noose is deceptively simple. People focus on the loop and not the structure that supports the rope. It is the day to day construction of a platform that is built for destruction that can take many forms.

690. (Laura) Evans has also observed that Black workers are treated differently than White workers when injured. White workers are usually taken to see a doctor if they are injured, and Turner usually follows up to check on their condition.

When Evans injured her knee on the job, she was taken to the company nurse. The nurse was supposed to follow up with her the next day, but never did. Instead, Evans was laid off the next day (page 119).

In researching this post, I have read comments about how photos of a noose at the plant could not be considered a threat because it doesn’t look like a hangman’s noose.

There are some of us that have shifted to a place where photographic validation is no longer acceptable if it doesn’t match up to what you believe.

Sadly, it it is not hard to find comments that blame the victims for asserting their federal rights of protection and redress of wrongs. The noose is abrasive only to those that understand the full texture of the level of hate. From a distance the noose is an abstraction.

From a distance, it is just a line between one person and another.

2074. Turner discriminates against Black employees by creating a disparity in pay. Finally in or around June 2007, (Marcus) Payne was allowed to go to Turner's welding school. However, he was not given the pay raise he was supposed to receive. As a tacker he made $14.35 an hour and as a welder he was supposed to make $22.50 an hour plus a one dollar raise each month. However, Black employees would only get forty or fifty cent raises while White employees would receive their full pay raise (page 362).

There are people that are self-professed color blind that willfully cannot see if there is an African American person in the room. The 230 or more African Americans plaintiffs listed in the federal complaint are invisible to them.

If you can’t see them then there is no story because it is just a case of simple workplace harassment.

702. (Cheryl Falola) The conditions of the bathrooms were particularly offensive. The doors would be covered in feces; male workers would ejaculate inside the bathrooms on the walls and on the doorknobs.

They were never asked to clean up after themselves. White female employees were allowed to use bathrooms located in trailers, while Black female employees were only allowed to use the portable bathrooms, which were covered in feces and semen (page 122).

The noose favors those people that have the power to draw it up. The noose isn’t always a rope. It is a man, a woman or a company that allows the noose to be used as a weapon.

It brings limited advantages to those that teach their children the power of the noose, with pride invoke the symbolism of killing people and, worse of all, compels people to be silent lest the noose swings their way.

There will be a few people all set to angrily communicate to me that black folks are too sensitive; that we don’t have the brain power to thinking beyond victimization.

“Why don’t you suck it up like everybody else and be quiet about it. Everybody is harassed or teased. I as a (insert your ethnic, gender, political, religious or sexual orientation) can’t sue when it happens to me so why should you?”

My immediate response to those types of comments is something along the lines of:

When my ancestors were quiet about being insulted, abused or beaten they still died. Even when they did nothing but ‘let it be’ they and their children were still murdered; if not in body then in spirit.

Silence equals death. We will be silent no longer.

Yet. my heart is heavy. This is not the kind of post I had envisioned writing for Black History Month 2011.

Gena Haskett is a BlogHer Contributing Editor. My Blogs: Out On The Stoop and Create Video Notebook

Original for BlogHer

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