Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Strange Fruit: Noose Jokes are Not Okay

Audra Shay, the new chair of the Young Republicans, has apologized for her noose remarks on Facebook. In an exchange on Facebook concerning the man who had Sarah Palin hanging in effigy in his yard, she commented ‘What, no Obama Noose?’. Since it came to light, she fears that some people may take that as a racist statement, although she says that is far from the truth.
Is it? I don’t believe that her remarks were hard core racism, but they were incredibly stupid.
We are all racist at some level - often the white people who are claiming 'I don't have a racist bone in my body' (usually to a black person), are the most guilty.
In the south, we’re just a generation away from Jim Crow. When I started school in 1953, the idea of whites and blacks attending school together was a pipe dream. When I graduated from high school in 1965, it was approaching, but not yet accomplished. I never sat in a classroom with a black person until my freshman year in college.
We’re just a couple of generations away from lynchings in Bossier Parish. My grandfather, who was born in 1883, knew of a spot on Linton Road where blacks were lynched during reconstruction. He knew of one particular tree, because his mother told her children not to play near there, and why.
I have no idea if there is any historical record of this happening here, but I know that it did.
When people in the south make noose ‘jokes’, they need to be aware of what they are doing and why it is so offensive to their black neighbors.
(Yes, I understand it's free speech, and that you have a right to say it. I would only encourage you not to.)

Strange Fruit
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Allen Lewis


  1. More feel good liberal garbage.

  2. Jim, you're living in the past. We can't change the past no matter how many times segregation and lynchings are brought up.
    You are aware that blacks are killing each other TODAY, not in the past, at an alarming rate. Not to mention at a much higher rate than all the lynchings combined. Report on that please, especially since it's happening TODAY, currently, at the moment - get it?

  3. Today, the current issue is why black people are sensitive about noose 'jokes' and such. Since some younger people don't understand the history of it, I thought this might help.
    Get it?

  4. Oh your handing out history lessons? Here's a history lesson for you. The main opposition to slavery being abolished were the southern DEMOCRAT landowners who fought tooth & nail to hold onto their free labor (read slaves). Check and see why Abraham Lincoln changed party's to, guess what?, the republican party for this very reason. You think people under 50 years old really don't know why black people don't like noose jokes? You're about as sharp as a marble. Oh, I'll bet didn't think I knew what a marble was either since we don't play with marbles in this century.
    Guess what Jim, white parents don't like songs about nigga's and ho's. Who do you think records those beautiful pieces of art, the Statler Bros?

  5. "You think people under 50 years old really don't know why black people don't like noose jokes?"

    I'll address that since it is the only statement you made that remotely relates to this blog post. No, I really think that a lot of young people (30 and under) don't understand.

  6. Any politician, especially republicans trying to climb the hill back to the top, has to be mindful of every word spoken or typed and who they hang with or are associated with. Audra Shays is killing herself politically. Then those comments hurt the republican party where she had become a leader. The noose joke after what occurred in Jena is well known to be racist.

  7. No Jim, the only thing related to your blog post is the blatant bashing of any republican anywhere & anytime. You aren't kidding anybody. Your party, whether you admit it or not, is the party of killing babies. Babies with heartbeats and DNA and fully able to live on their own. Your party is the party of shutting God out of every facet of public life. You don't even remotely fool anybody about your agenda.

  8. And when have you ever read anything I've written that is remotely in favor of abortion?

  9. JIM: I totally agree with you about the jokes. Yet I have a noose on my blog standing for freedom of expresssion. I think that a person's actions are far more importnant than what his words are, and that people like Shay are free to say anything they choose as long as their actions are different and we are free to take them as we see fit.

  10. Why stop at a noose? Why not a swastika or pentagram? Is it because you would find these offensive Greg? I'd be willing to bet your blog will go without these as symbols of free speach.

  11. Greg, like I said in the article, I don't believe her remark was hard core racism, but stupid. People in the public spotlight have to be aware of what they are saying. I am aware of the noose on your blog and why it is there. If I remember it came up during the Jena 6 incident, which you covered very well. I always believed that whoever hung the noose on the tree had no idea of the historical meaning, which sort of proves the point of my blog post.
    Ed, I'm glad to see you commenting - sometimes I need some support here!

  12. That is ridiculous, Jim. Of course the person that hung the noose in the tree knew what it represented. The purpose was totally clear. Why are we even discussing this over and over? You want to make the point that a noose joke might be offensive to someone of color. I want a comment from you as to how offended I am, as a white parent, that I have to monitor my childrens music choices so that they do not include lyrics about nigga's and ho's and any other degrading things people of color can think up to put in song lyrics.
    You wrote about Hurrican Chris' visit to the Capitol. Your main objective was to show the idiocy of Barbara Norton and whomever allowed the diatribe. What you didn't write about is how OFFENSIVE the song lyrics were. Point is, anyone can be offended by anything. You seem to only report when the offensive comments or actions are made by conservatives, am I wrong? How?

  13. In the first post about the song, I wrote:
    "It is the last week of this legislative session. Money is in short supply, and your legislators are working hard to find solutions.
    Or not.

    “She fine den a bitch, ass and her tits
    Thick in tha hips every nig want her
    Call her Halle Berry, Halle berry
    Halle Berry, Halle berry"

    In a follow up post, I published the lyrics in their uncut entirety. I believe people can discern that this is offensive with my saying ‘this is offensive’.
    “Now what I just said girl do it on tha dick
    Age ain't shit
    I done got a lil older
    Me or you man baby girl take a pic
    Whitch one
    She so classy, Shes so jazzy
    Lil momma blow like a
    Do it on tha dick”
    And yes, my main focus was on the people who allowed this to come to the floor of the House. Had they not been so foolish, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    You want a comment from me about how offended you are that you have to monitor your children's music choices? Okay, here's your comment. I agree with you, it is a shame.
    It's not what this blog post was about, but I agree nonetheless. I think the important point is that you do monitor it.

  14. I believe people can discern for themselves whether a noose joke is offensive without you titling a blog comment, "....Noose Jokes are Not Okay." The key, when you determine whether we need help understanding what is offensive, is who said it. If a conservative says it we need help with the offensiveness. If a liberal says it and you get called on it, it was obvious and you didn't need to comment. That is what the evidence shows.

    I also believe it is offensive for Hussein Obama to travel to Russia and claim that the USA wasn't responsible for the ending of the Cold War. Based on your reasoning it shouldn't be reported because we should obviously be offended automatically and therefore you don't need to report it. I state that because Hussein is a liberal democrat, that is the obvious reason it won't get reported.

  15. Your over the top rhetoric and irrational ramblings display a good example of what is wrong with our country. If you can't engage in a civil discussion, and believe that anyone who disagrees with you must be labeled a liberal or a baby-killer, then we can end the discussion.
    You are welcome to comment all you want. I just won't participate unless you decide to address things in a civil and intelligent manner.


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