Racism

Duke Student Who Hung a Noose on a Tree Made a Bad Pun. Expel Him Anyway?

Context matters

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Noose
Dreamstime

Duke University has been working through a racist incident that involved a student hanging a noose from a tree outside a campus building and leaving it there for hours. The noose, a reminder of the terrible history of violence against black people in America, is a racist symbol and was widely interpreted as a threat against black students.

It wasn't. The responsible student came forward, identified himself to administrators, offered a profuse apology, and gave a thorough explanation of his actions—which were born of obliviousness, not malice. The student wished to invite his friends to join him outside, and so he tied a piece of yellow cord around a tree branch, snapped a picture of it, and texted it to them as a request to "hang out."

As always, context matters:

Unfortunately, through my lack of cultural awareness and joking personality, I ended up unintentionally creating a huge mess for myself, my friends, my family and many members of the Duke community that I severely regret. I am the student who created the noose and after playing around with it left it hanging on a low tree branch next to a table where I had been sitting with some of my friends. At the time, I truly did not appreciate the historical sensitivity of a noose hanging in a tree.

I have explained my story to Duke Administrators and law enforcement officials as well.  I told them the sequence of events whereby something that I made out of a piece of yellow cord I found, for what I considered at the time to be innocent fun, was instead taken for something so terrible.  My purpose in hanging the noose was merely to take some pictures with my friends together with the noose, and then texting it to some others inviting them to come and "hang out" with us—because it was such a nice day outside.   If there was ever a pun with unintended consequences—this was certainly one.  In addition, when I left I carelessly forgot the noose hanging on the tree for the rest of the afternoon and the evening rather than discarding it, as I should have.  As a result, people saw it and because of the historical meaning of a noose in the South, a fact that because of my background and heritage I was completely unaware of, conclusions were made that whomever had made the noose did it for racist reasons.

The student is unnamed, though various clues about his background and chats with informed sources led Inside Higher Ed to conclude that he is indeed a foreign student. Obviously, that detail strengthens the student's contention that he was unaware of the noose's history as a symbol of racially-motivated violence.

Which is not to say that his explanation entirely absolves him. Some mistakes, even completely unintentional ones, can cause enough harm to merit some kind of response. And indeed, the student cooperated fully with university and law enforcement investigations. He apologized over and over again. He pledged to educate himself about racial lynching, and is reading a book on the subject. Duke is satisfied with his actions, and will allow him to return to campus when classes resume next semester.

But for some—including Henry L. Washington, Jr., a black student at Duke—that's not nearly good enough:

This administrative announcement and this astonishingly lax sanction for a student, whose apology letter clearly re-articulated his or her lack of understanding for the significance of the act, are three additional "slaps" in the faces of black students and their allies. I am profoundly disappointed in what appears to be the university's decision to release an announcement declaring that racism was not involved in the hanging of the noose alongside such an ill-considered, audacious, and problematic "apology."

With such a presentation, you may have delegitimized the claims of our outcries. It may appear that you have actually disregarded black students' concerns. As it stands, you are setting a precedent that any act of racism or prejudice enacted against a minority student at Duke, no matter how serious, may be excused as long as that student's supposed intention was rooted in a lack of proper judgement and not in racism. Do you wish to revoke the assessment that you brought forth in the past few weeks–that the current state of race relations at Duke is unacceptable?

Washington goes on to demand that Duke select a harsher punishment. What that might be is left unclear. I imagine Washington, Jr. is suggesting expulsion; I reached out to him on Twitter and will update this post if he responds.

But I have a hard time agreeing that formal disciplinary measures are a better way to educate a student about racial violence than simply educating the student about racial violence—particularly when the student is willing to learn, and almost certainly not a proponent of racial violence. Issuing heavyhanded punishments—regardless of context or intention—is a surefire way to undermine the university's own promise to protect its students' rights to free speech. (See the absurd Indian swastika investigation at George Washington University for another example of this.)

NEXT: The PEN/Charlie Hebdo controversy

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  1. Moral: No noose is good noose.

    1. This ones a doozy.

      1. Were any crimes committed by hanging an unacceptable noose of this particular type? It’s well known that metaphors and puns, good faith and truth, are not defenses. If you commit a crime by hanging a noose you should be punished to the full extent of the law, and if you engage in inappropriately deadpan parody of a well-connected academic department chairman, you should do the time. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal satire case at:

        http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

        1. Which of course presumes that there’s no such thing as a bad or unconstitutional law.

          Bear in mind, of course, that even if such a law existed, and it specified “no nooses”, it would have to be specific with regard to the definition. Are there 12 revolutions around the main axis? Not a noose. Hangman’s nooses have 13. Are they wound clockwise, or counter-clockwise? Is the material the alleged noose is made of the correct material? Or is it a material that is not used for nooses?

          The only crime committed here is criminal stupidity – on the part of the politically correct.

    2. Stole my joke.

      You’d think a student who was into puns would have thought of this piece of wisdom.

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      http://www.work-cash.com

  2. Mens rea is so quaint. It was probably invented by white slave-owners. If you support it then you must support slavery as well.

  3. The foreign student aspect makes everything a bit more understandable. I figured at first that his apology was just some sham worked out by lawyers, parents, admins, and prosecutors to avoid having to do any real work at prosecuting or defusing the situation. But this at least seems plausible.

  4. I’m all for going back to only communicating via pictographs.

      1. I thought you were going to show the image of the atomic bomb exploding in Japan.

  5. Kind of obvious what the punishment SHOULD be.

    And, he gave himself enough rope, so…

  6. What is the concrete, identifiable, individualized “harm” that the student caused?

    1. Hey, don’t belittle their feels, man!

      Sounds like someone needs a privilege checkin’…

    2. In my fantasy ideal world, every verdict would devolve into restitution. And if there is no restitution because there was no tangible harm, then there is no crime, and prosecution without stating a plausible restitution verges on perjury.

    3. “It may appear that you have actually disregarded black students’ concerns.”

      And what are these concerns? If he listed them I missed them.

      And perhaps I’m being too lenient, I admit, but even if he was a born and bred American college “kid,” the 1920s and 1930s must seem like ancient history. It’d be equivalent to the 1870s to my 56 year old self.

      Lynching was absolutely horrific, it goes without saying. But when you try to gin up concern about this incident in the way that is being done, I think you do a disservice to that horror, and trivialize it.

      1. Excellent point. I grew up in the aftermath of WW II, and knew all sorts of trivia about it, read hundreds of paperbacks on “I was a Stuka pilot for Hitler” and such. But to kids nowadays, that was 70 years ago, which would have been before the Spanish American war for me, and I knew squat about that, or even WW I which was 20 years later.

        Expecting kids nowadays to know about even 1960s lynchings is ridiculous. Lunch counter sit-ins, Selma, that’s one thing; I bet not even one in ten high school students knows much about them, other than looking familiar on a multiple choice test.

        1. Expecting kids nowadays to know about even 1960s lynchings

          Unless you are redefining lynching as any “hate crime” murder of a African-American , the last one in the US (by the definition of an extrajudicial public execution) was Moore’s Ford in 1946

          1. That very article you linked to has its own link to a more generic lynching article, which says

            Lynching, the practice of murdering people by extrajudicial mob action, occurred in the United States chiefly from the late 18th century through the 1960s.

            1. Lynch mobs don’t hide their actions. Hence, “public”. 2 or 3 people committing murder in secret is not an extrajudicial execution.

      2. Until a couple yrs. ago or so, I’d never heard of the symbolism of a hangman’s noose as “lynching”. I’d’ve just thought “hanging” or “hangman”, w no racial connotation. Just a method of execution. I don’t think “French” when I see a guillotine, either, nor “Jew” when I see a gas chamber. I might think of Edison when I see an electric chair, but probably not even that. Firing squad might make me think Monty Python.

        1. Come to think of it, weren’t more whites lynched than blacks?

    4. I wondered that as well.

  7. Some mistakes, even completely unintentional ones, can cause enough harm to merit some kind of response.

    No they can’t, not if they…don’t actually cause, you know, physical harm. Images and words do not amount to harm. Sorry, pissy little whiners who would love to expel someone who offends them (and who are offended by…everything); harm is something real, not a made up thing you can use to screw other people over because it gives you a sense of power.

    1. The nursery rhyme has been rewritten: Sticks and stone can break my bones, but words are what really hurt me.

      1. The fucktard at xkcd.com put it this way:
        “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me think I deserve it”, sadly I couldn’t find a way to comment, I was going to try to talk him into breaking his arm.

    2. Psychological harm isn’t nothing. But if someone is harmed by something like this, they should probably be in a hospital or something.

      1. Actually, it is nothing. It may not be nothing to someone who (actually) experiences it (rather than just saying so for attention and power), but in the grand scheme of “things that actually matter and actually cause measurable harm”…this is nothing.

        It’s the very thought that it could be anything else that allows for the cosmic stupidity we see today.

        1. Well, I am still going to say that it isn’t nothing. It isn’t something that other people should tiptoe around and go out of their way to avoid. If you are so fragile, you need to address your own problems, not expect the rest of the world to accommodate you. But it’s still something. The problem is treating it as if it is something besides a personal problem.
          A college campus is about the safest “safe space”. If you can’t handle some minor offense in such a space, you are going to have a real hard time in the real world.

      2. This sap’s faint trespass is nothing compared to the psychological harm students are doing themselves by living a paranoid fantasy of constant, omnipresent racial or sexual oppression.

        1. That is certainly true.

        2. Can you imagine what this guy would do if he experienced actual racism? Catatonia, at least

        3. This.

          What really bothers me about the whole “microaggression” thing is that practitioners always choose the absolute worst interpretation of any event. Their glass isn’t just half-empty, it’s dry and cracked. What a sad way to exist.

          Life is too short for that.

      3. they certainly shouldn’t be in an institution that expects some level of maturity and the ability to cope with the real world like one would expect college to be….

        1. Oh, but why should a prestigious institution of higher education have to deal with people who still have something to learn?

          [hurl]

    3. ^THIS^

      I’m getting so sick of these perpetually aggrieved little pussies. If I was a college student now, I think I’d literally go the entire time without speaking to or interacting with anyone else outside of class. The risk of being accused of rape after hooking up with some chick, or accused of racism (which is apparently an expulsion worthy transgression to some people) for some off the cuff comment or action would be too great.

      Which I realize is exactly what these assholes want: to silence everyone else who isn’t one of the perpetually aggrieved victim classes, but I’d rather not be expelled and have my future ruined just to become a martyr for free speech.

      1. I think you’d be surprised by how many students are outspoken against this PC bullshit.

        1. I talked to my step-son (who’s a college freshman) about this to get his take and he agreed that it’s bullshit. Most college kids aren’t PC thugs. But there is a very small and vocal percentage that are (as have always been). The only difference between now and previous generations is that college administrators take a much harder line on issues like this because of the fact that some blogger or other 24 hour media type will blow it up on the internet. When I was younger administrators could deal with this stuff discretely without media hype.

          It’s like the cop shoots dog scenario. The VAST majority of cops have never shot a dog, and would do so only as a last resort. However, based upon media coverage, you’d think cops are using dogs for target practice.

      2. This was largely my experience. I spoke out in the local paper, caused a huge commotion and then decided it wasn’t worth it.

        The sad thing is some of those articles have come up in interviews.

    4. This. I had to read the article twice just to make sure I was comprehending Robby’s position properly.

      There is no injury, only offense.

    5. Fucking thank you EPI.

      You said it better than I could and I was raging too hard to be really coherent.

      It’s also insane some people think Blacks were the only ones hanged in this country. Hanging was, I thought, a pretty common practice of execution for much of this country’s early history.

      1. It’s also a common means of suicide. Or of accidental death while attempting autoerotic asphyxiation.

  8. The noose … is a racist symbol…

    It is? I thought it was just what used to be used to hang people in general. Oh wait, I get it: because some black people were lynched by mobs of racists, that automatically makes it a “racist symbol”. Nevermind that many other people were also hung with a noose. They didn’t belong to an officially recognized victim class, and in many cases were ordered to be hung by the infallible State, therefore none of them matter.

    1. If the Klan wanted to put someone on notice, a noose would probably be what they’d use. I don’t blame anyone for reading racial symbolism into the thing, but disregarding the context and obsessing about the symbolic power is absurd. Another case of progressive animism.

      1. I was under the impression that what they used was a fiery cross.

        1. Good point. But it wouldn’t be far down on the list.

    2. The noose … is a racist symbol…

      It is?

      This was my thought as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if more white people have been hanged in the history of the US than black people.

      1. I believe it’s something like 1/3 of the people lynched were white.

        1. Since when does hanging = lynching?

          I’m not even sure most lynchings resulted in hangings. Tarring with and without feathering was popular, as was just shoving someone in front of a train.

  9. Is there a readily available cheat sheet of all the words/acts/symbols that blacks find offensive?

    1. It’s called a dictionary.

      1. But only the even-numbered pages.

        1. Odd numbers imply that oppressed populations are “odd,” so odd-numbered pages are therefore racist.
          [sark]

    2. The power the perpetually offended have (if you give it to them, of course) is that they get offended by whatever they feel like. It’s just another way to put people in fear of offending you at all times by being mercurial and capricious about what is supposedly offensive. That’s where they derive their power from: other people’s fear of offending them.

      But it’s incredibly easy to take it away. Just don’t care.

      1. “Behold the fields where I cultivate my f*cks, and see clearly that they are barren.

        Thus, I have none to give.”

        1. I just snarfed part of my sandwich laughing at this.

          1. *heimlich*

      2. Just don’t care.

        That’s a nice theory, but then they’ll just claim that failing to give a fuck about their infantile feelings is also an expulsion worthy offense. Hell, the head perpetually offended black guy practically says just that:

        “With such a presentation, you may have delegitimized the claims of our outcries. It may appear that you have actually disregarded black students’ concerns.”

        IOW, you have to care about whatever petty issue we’ve gotten our panties bunched over this week, or you’re “delegitimizing” our claims!

        1. Sure. You know what my answer is? I. Don’t. Fucking. Care.

          The only way to break this asinine movement’s asinine fucking power is to just blow them off. Their power and influence is entirely fabricated. If people don’t give a shit, they have nothing. That’s why they have to make sure you’re always afraid of offending them; otherwise you’ll just start realizing that it’s arbitrary oversensitive bullshit and you’ll treat them the way that they should be, and that they fear: like little whiny pussies. Which is precisely what they are.

          1. I agree these perpetually aggrieved morons are not worth taking seriously and should actually be ridiculed for their childish ways.The problem is when they curry favor with people in authority that can do things that impact you in the real world, and these people in authority are willing to target everyone and anyone so they can show the world they hold tyrannical power over speech and actions. Too many in the political class, but especially those on the left thrive on this – it has given stupid and evil people a lot of power – and we ignore this at our own peril.

        2. It’s too funny. He’s pissed off that he’s been told he shouldn’t be outraged/terrified just because his bogeyman doesn’t exist.

      3. Actually the Really Stupid Unintended Consequence of defining a symbol, like a noose, as iherantly “racist” is that thereafter anyone with a piece of string can cause an uproar. You have given the forces of darkness another handy epithet.

    3. We should start our own.

    4. This one should be pretty widely known. Let’s not pretend that the noose as a symbol of racially motivated lynching is some obscure thing that only professional grievance-mongers know about. But you can’t (or shouldn’t) punish someone for being ignorant of something like that.

      That said, it is people getting all upset and offended at every little thing like this that continues to give such symbols power.

      1. That said, it is people getting all upset and offended at every little thing like this that continues to give such symbols power.

        True story from my college days, back in the dark ages of ~1996:

        I played intramural flag football one year, and the team I was on chose the name “The Lynch Mob”. Not because we were racisty racists, but because it sounded kind of badass and vaguely threatening/ aggresive. Neither I or anyone else made the connection. A black student who had signed up as an indivudual player was placed on our team at the first game:

        Black student: “So what’s your team’s name?”
        White student: “The Lynch Mob.”
        *everyone pauses for a beat and looks at each other as the realization settles in*
        Other White student: “Uhm, we’ll change the name if you want, we didn’t think of it that way…”
        Black student: “Nah, that’s OK, I didn’t think you’d meant anything by it, it’s all good.”

        I shudder to think how this would go over now. We probably would all be expelled.

        1. Chased off campus by a large, unruly crowd with bad intentions, perhaps.

          1. Well, that would certainly have been one of the more ironic outcomes, but I suspect they’d just whine and complain to the administration and demand the we all be expelled (even the black guy). You don’t think SJW’s would get their own hands dirty, do you?

          2. Chased off campus by a large, unruly crowd of white peoplewith bad intentions, perhaps.

            Probably more accurate?

      2. It’s certainly not something I was aware of when I started college, nearly 20 years ago.

      3. Sorry Zeb, but you are just plain wrong here.

        The noose = racism meme is of relatively recent vintage, like 25 years or less. Not saying the professionally aggrieved didn’t TRY making it a symbol before that, but it didn’t start sticking until the 90’s.

      4. Oh please get a grip. This symbolism may indeed be well-known to folks born and bred in America, and who’ve been exposed to American history at school but the point is this guy is a foreigner FFS. It doesn’t take much “pretending” to imagine that someone who didn’t grow up surrounded by American culture, and by the legacy of your particular history would be “ignorant of something like that” (i.e. unaware of something you wouldn’t expect them to be aware of in the first place).

        Speaking as someone who grew up in a different former British colony, lynchings isn’t even one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of hangings and nooses. OK, sure, show me a white hood and some burning crosses, and I guess I’ll make the connection. But of course none of that was present in this case.

        It seems to me that Robby’s take in this incident is far too timid FTR.

  10. “As it stands, you are setting a precedent that any act of racism or prejudice enacted against a minority student at Duke, no matter how serious, may be excused as long as that student’s supposed intention was rooted in a lack of proper judgement and not in racism.”

    This sentence utterly boggles the mind.

    1. Isn’t that a precedent that SHOULD be set?

      1. He’s basically elevating “racism” to a crime of strict liability because FEELINGS.

        1. It’s especially weird because earlier in his statement, he seems to acknowledge that the offending student was unaware of the racist symbolism:

          “a student, whose apology letter clearly re-articulated his or her lack of understanding for the significance of the act…”

          Yet, he refers to it as an “act of racism or prejudice” a few sentences later.

          I fully acknowledge the potential racist symbolism of a noose in this country. But some degree of intent seems required to turn a piece of rope into a racist symbol. If you grant that the offending student lacked this intent, how is it racist?

          1. So the student is guilty of a thoughtcrime … but without the thought?

    2. What he’s saying is that any act that might possibly be perceived as racist or prejudicial, no matter how tenuous the logic or trivial the act, should be treated as inexcusable and the perpetrator punished as harshly as possible. I’ll bet there are some exceptions, such as when the prejudice is against rich white people.

      1. The quote does specify against a minority student. Apparently acts of racism against a plain student is not deserving of that level of punishment.

        1. “But, but, ‘rich white people’ are ‘the 1%.’ Isn’t that a tiny minority?”

          “Oh, no. If the 1% are white, it’s the 99% that are the minority.”

          Think I’m kidding? Listen to San Antonio talking heads discussing the city’s (60%+) Hispanic minority.

    3. “Intentions and context don’t matter, only my being offended matters. Off with his head!”

      1. And string up Haven Monahan while you’re at it.

    4. Our future rulers. I guarantee shitheads like this want to run for office.

      1. And will probably end up getting elected. Hopefully not to anything more important than dog catcher, but still.

      2. Those are the only kinds of people that run for office.

    5. I know that there is no peak derp, but I believe that this qualifies as a local derp maximum, ie, that at this point dderp/dt = 0.

      1. Show whether it’s a local max or min.

  11. Duke University has been working through a racist incident that involved a student hanging a noose from a tree

    Maybe this is too picky, but I think it matters how we use language. It was not a racist incident. It was a perfectly innocent, if clueless, mistake.

    I haven been noticing a lot lately that people tend to speak of words and symbols as if they are somehow inherently racist. And from there you quickly get to a point where simply using a word or symbol that bothers people is considered a racist act in itself. This is ridiculous. Saying “nigger” or some other nasty racial epithet, even saying it with the intent to annoy or offend people, is not racism. It might be motivated by racism, but that depends on the state of mind of the person saying it. It’s not a simple function of the words someone uses.
    You can see this taken to its logical end in the UK where it seems that simply using racially offensive language in public is sufficient evidence that someone is criminally racist.

    I would similarly quibble with the statement in the article that the noose “is a racist symbol”. It is a symbol of racism. It’s a small difference, but an important one. Don’t make the mistake of confusing they symbol for what it symbolizes.

    1. That people would be upset about a perceived symbolic racist threat is understandable. There is a lot of ugly history there. And it is good that the guy who did it learned a lesson. But once people figure out that it was not in fact anything to do with racism, let’s stop talking about it as if it is.

      1. Of course, it seems that every single one of these cases turns out to be a hoax or misunderstanding, so you’d think some skepticism should be the first thought at this point…

        1. You’re presuming that there is a thought to be “first.” These are reactions, not responses.

    2. It was a perfectly innocent, if clueless, mistake.

      What was the mistake?

      1. Not realizing that the noose symbolizes racist violence to a lot of people. If it is true that he didn’t intend to offend anyone and he is the sort of person who cares about not offending people unnecessarily, which appears to be the case, then that is a mistake.

        1. On the other hand, to a lot of other people, a noose doesn’t (just? especially?) symbolize racist violence. Symbols, like most other forms of expression, are inherently ambiguous. When we encounter an ambiguity in something expressed by some speaker, the adult/intellectual response is to seek clarification from the speaker as to what was their intended meaning. The dick response is to decide for them what they must have meant, and assume the worst of the speaker and their intentions. Which is what is happening here, even after the speaker has explicitly removed the ambiguity and clarified his intentions. The “mistake”, if there was one, is on the part of the people assigning their own odious interpretations to someone else’s use of a symbol.

  12. So is “hangman” now a racist game?

    1. N_GGER

      1. “Nogger”? One who makes egg nog?

        1. No.
          NAGGER, as in female companion …

          1. Ding. Ding. Ding.

          2. I must be lucky, my wife never nags.
            She does check my browser cache though.

            1. The key is to have a hidden browser. That way when she checks your history it’s all normal stuff, but the hidden browser has the midget donkey porn.

              1. Ding. Ding. Ding.

              2. Midget donke….wait, have YOU been checking my browser cache??

                1. *Smashes key-logger and runs*

                2. Hot midget donkey on shetland pony action. Oh yeah…

                  1. God damn you fuckers!

                    The correct term is small person donkey porn. Midget is seriously off limits.

                    What are you a fucking retard?

      2. Oooo, the wife-unit plays that game all the time.

      3. “The category of the puzzle was ‘people who annoy you’…”

    2. We’ll have to answer that question the old.fashion way.

      Eenie meenie miney mo…

      1. nice

    3. And “Hang ’em High” suddenly take on a whole different connotation as well.

      1. My one quibble. Who doesn’t stick around to make sure the guy is dead?!?

        1. My one quibble. Who doesn’t stick around to make sure the guy is dead?!?

          Yeah, they should’ve hung around to check his pulse, count it out on their watches, make sure the Marshall’s paddy wagon didn’t show up out of nowhere, cut him down, give him ‘CPR’, water, and a ride out of the nowhere where they left him…

          It was a mob of SJW, they don’t care about guilt or innocence and whether anybody’s dead or not, they just need a body swinging from a tree to point at the next time someone even thinks about rustlin’ cattle.

          1. SJW. In eighteen sixty-four?

            1. SJW. In eighteen sixty-four?

              Were they out doing actual justice? Were they doing it for themselves?

              If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and violently oppresses individuals for social appearances in the name of the law…

            2. Doin’ right ain’t got no end.

            3. Just another type of hyphenated-justice warrior.

        2. Well the skipper was late for a 3 hour tour, so he couldn’t spend all his time just waiting for Clint to buy it.

    4. Led Zeppelin’s “Gallow’s Pole” is off all playlists.

      1. Page and Plant stole that one from a traditional English ballad, CULTURAL APPROPRIATIONZ!

      2. As is Volbeat’s “Hangman’s Body Count.”

      3. That is actually my favor LZ song of all time. I am disappoint.

      4. Don’t forget Iron Maiden “Hallowed by they Name.” Even though it’s not about lynching a black man, the guy in the song is going to be executed at “the gallow’s pole” thus with a noose, thus the song is inherently racist!

  13. “Washington goes on to demand that Duke select a harsher punishment. What that might be is left unclear.”

    I’m thinking a lashing with a progtardian cat-o-ninetails would just about do it …

    1. Sorry, but whips are also racist symbols.

      1. Exactly, Grasshopper.

        1. Calling people “Grasshopper” is racist against Asians.

          1. You are wise beyond your years, Glasshoppal Mike.

  14. Which is not to say that his explanation entirely absolves him. Some mistakes, even completely unintentional ones, can cause enough harm to merit some kind of response

    No fucking harm was done. No one was hung. No one was threatened.

    This is libertarian?

    1. It is if you’re name is Bo Cara.

  15. Did the student actually make a proper noose, or did he just tie a piece of cord into a loop?

    1. God forbid your kite gets tangled in a tree near a university.

  16. As it stands, you are setting a precedent that any act of racism or prejudice enacted against a minority student at Duke, no matter how serious, may be excused as long as that student’s supposed intention was rooted in a lack of proper judgement and not in racism.

    Yes, it may be excused. Because it isn’t an act of racism or prejudice in that case.

    1. That is to be determined by the offended, not the offender.

  17. Blondie: It’s not a joke, it’s a rope, Tuco. Now I want you to get up there and put your head in that noose.

    1. Tuco: There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those with a rope around the neck, and the people who have the job of doing the cutting.

  18. As it stands, you are setting a precedent that any act of racism or prejudice enacted against a minority student at Duke, no matter how serious, may be excused as long as that student’s supposed intention was rooted in a lack of proper judgement and not in racism.

    We should weight him against a duck and failing that, throw him into the river to see if he floats or sinks.

    1. Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?!

      1. I know many things of sparrows, as well.

        1. European or African?

  19. If you use the phrase “death by a thousand cuts,” you’re racist against Chinese people.

    Why do you all hate General Tso?

    1. I like his chicken …

  20. The noose, a reminder of the terrible history of violence against black people in America, is a racist symbol and was widely interpreted as a threat against black students.

    No, it is not.

    Please take your moral outrage and fuck right off.

  21. …he is indeed a foreign student.

    Completely unaware that he’d trigger people in America back to the Jake Spoon incident.

    1. I wonder where he’s from. Would they be as outraged if the student was from Nigeria or something?

    2. “You ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw.”

  22. Washington goes on to demand that Duke select a harsher punishment. What that might be is left unclear. I imagine Washington, Jr. is suggesting expulsion; I reached out to him on Twitter and will update this post if he responds.

    So Washington thinks Duke was being niggardly with its distribution of punishment?

  23. “Which is not to say that his explanation entirely absolves him. Some mistakes, even completely unintentional ones, can cause enough harm to merit some kind of response. And indeed, the student cooperated fully with university and law enforcement investigations. He apologized over and over again. He pledged to educate himself about racial lynching, and is reading a book on the subject. Duke is satisfied with his actions, and will allow him to return to campus when classes resume next semester.”

    So all he has to do is submit to reeducation camp and everything is fine!

    Sorry, but pledges to educate oneself as a means of receiving forgiveness seem a bit authoritarian to me.

    1. That is a fascinating example of social signaling. Why does Soave feel the need to put those caveats in?

      1. I raised the same point upthread. There was no harm.

      2. If only there was some neologism for that sort of libertarian social signalling….

    2. Personally, unless there’s going to be a test on the book, I’d just claim to be reading it and then blow it off. Fuck that noise.

      1. Fuck that noise noose.

        Amiright???

    3. I agree. Why the fuck does he need to “educate himself”? I’m sure he’s already been educated by the many people telling him how wrong he was.

      All he should really have to say is “Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way.” End of story.

      Nobody should have to apologize for not being aware in advance of other people’s triggers. This is probably the biggest problem with the SJWs attitudes toward using wrong words. They treat it as a moral failing if you don’t spend your time constantly updating yourself on the latest terminology of sensitivity and offense – which words are verboten this week, or what the newest preferred term is for whatever victim group is complaining lately. No, but sorry, that is NOT MY JOB. It is NOT my responsibility to know in advance what is going to offend you so that I can avoid saying it, without you ever having to lift a finger.

      You want a “safe space”? Sorry, but YOU have to do the work of educating others, you can’t demand that they just KNOW, and blame them for not knowing.

  24. “As a result, people saw it and because of the historical meaning of a noose in the South, a fact that because of my background and heritage I was completely unaware of, conclusions were made that whomever had made the noose did it for racist reasons.”

    AARRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

    “noose in the SOUTH”!?!?!? Doesn’t this guy attend Duke? Couldn’t somebody have told him that lynching occurred in the north as well??? Guess he still needs to be educated.

    Lopsided as hell, yes. But come on……..
    http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/p…..state.html

  25. To much trigger for this microaggression-Hang him! I’m wondering if Washington would suggest that!

  26. “The noose, a reminder of the terrible history of violence against black people in America, is a racist symbol”

    Not if you grew up in the American Southwest, watching spaghetti Westerns. I see a noose and I think Clint Eastwood!

    [Clint Eastwood, who openly mocked the first Black POTUS. Dang, I guess it is racist]

  27. Washington goes on to demand that Duke select a harsher punishment. What that might be is left unclear.

    Clearly, it is time for a good ole fashioned lynching.

  28. So now the noose and death by hanging are only about racism? I guess we are going to have to reclassify all those westerns like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in light of their now racist content.

  29. I don’t care if he hung the noose with the intent to say something politically incorrect. Leave him alone.

  30. Henry L. Washington Jr. is now a permanent embarrassment to Henry L. Washington and demonstrated the ignorance, arrogance, and poor upbringing propagating a continued racism. Henry L. Washington may have lived far enough in the past to be fixated on nooses hanging in trees but should not raise a Henry L. Washington Jr. with an imagined duty to fight perceived injustices before realizing fact.
    . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .
    Descending from the first American President’s slaves is a rough cross to bear for anyone.
    According to Wikipedia, “Washington owned hundreds of slaves throughout his lifetime”, but “freed all his slaves [in] his final will”.
    There is probably clear DNA proof that George Washington had the same reason for this change-of-heart as Jefferson.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07…..ngton.html
    Who would own a pretty, willing female slave and NOT use them for silent sexual relief if this was offered?

  31. “Which is not to say that his explanation entirely absolves him. Some mistakes, even completely unintentional ones, can cause enough harm to merit some kind of response. ”

    Good. Then reasonable people will agree no harm occurred.

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