Nooses More Than a Nuisance

By Iva E. Anthony
TNCP NY Correspondent

     The presidential election of 2008 will be historic in several ways. For the first time ever, a woman and an African American both have a viable shot at being the Democratic nominee. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln 145 years ago and it’s been over 40 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. We have made great strides as a nation overcoming racism but how far have we really come?
     On October 9th, a noose hung on the door of Madonna Constantine, an African American professor at Columbia University in New York City. For many blacks, a noose is a symbol of racism, a reminder that blacks were once considered pieces of property that could be disposed of at a whim instead of a human being.
    Almost immediately, nooses have been popping up all over New York City. Two days after the noose was found at Columbia University, a noose was found in downtown Manhattan across the street from a post office. Stunned postal workers contacted the police.
A week later, a pair of nooses were found in a public works garage in Long Island, New York. On October 22nd, a letter was mailed to the principal of Canarsie High School in Brooklyn. The letter contained a note full of racial slurs and a cloth noose. The principal, 44-year-old Tyona Washington, is an African American. The next day, a noose was found in a school playground in Ozone park, Queens.
There is no other city in the country as multi-cultural and diverse as New York City but it seems as if racism is still prevalent in the Big Apple. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has an uphill battle in changing the views of many people in this country about his chances of being elected.
"I don’t think we’re ready yet," said 38-year-old African American Angela Griffin from Brooklyn. "I think we have a lot to work on and address when it comes to racism. People need to be educated because blacks are not all pimps and rap stars. We have a lot more in common with other races than most people think."
"Barack Obama doesn’t stand a chance," said Kevin Scott, a 48-year-old African American from Manhattan. "I would love to see a black person be president but not in this day and age. People are hanging nooses up and you think white people would vote for Obama? No way."
There are some who think Obama has a chance of becoming president despite the recent incidents of nooses appearing all over New York City.
"I would vote for Barack Obama," said 27-year-old Tina Fisher, a Caucasian from Queens. "There are some ignorant people out there who only like their own kind but Americans are a lot smarter than that. We could look past color and vote based on morals and values and issues."
Although many people feel having a black president is long overdue, this country still has a long way to go in accepting everyone as equal.
"I don’t feel like we’re ready for a black president yet," said Griffin. "It’s improved from the days Jesse Jackson ran for the presidency but we’re not there. Black people are still viewed and thought of in this country in a negative light and until that changes, Obama or any other black person will never be president."

Iva E. Anthony is a freelance reporter in New York City.  She is also the author of “Love Ya Like a Sistah”  which is available on Amazon.