Tuesday, November 20, 2007

N&O, Sheehan Give Warning

Neither the Raleigh News & Observer nor N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan meant to warn us.

But warn us they did with a Nov. 16 N&O headline:

We won't tolerate nooses
followed by a Sheehan column which included:
It was little over a week ago that a toilet paper noose was found in a bathroom on the N.C. State University campus.

Officialdom has had plenty to say about the noose at N.C. State. Students gathered Thursday night on campus. And busloads of residents from our area are heading to Washington today to rally for a federal intervention.

But what about the rest of us? What about a world, on campus or off, where a noose might be considered a joke?

There is nothing funny about this old racist symbol. Nothing cute. Nothing clever.

In small ways and large, this is a time for the community to make that clear. In individual conversations, in water fountain chats and in community gatherings, we need to reiterate that racism is not tolerated here in any form.

There is no audience here for a noose of any sort, even a pathetic one made of toilet paper.

That is not what we're about.
Sheehan and her N&O editors meant for her column to let us know they are such righteous people that they won’t tolerate even a toilet paper noose in Raleigh.

But Sheehan and the N&O said nothing a while back when a hate-filled, angry crowd in Durham rallied under a large “CASTRATE” banner and shouted threats against a group of males.

Sheehan didn't say there is “nothing funny” about a "CASTRATE" banner. “Nothing cute. Nothing clever.”

Neither Sheehan nor the N&O said anything critical of the clergy, Duke faculty, staff and students, and Trinity Park pot bangers who milled and shouted that Sunday morning in front of 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

As a matter of fact, the N&O story reporting the hate-filled rally didn’t even mention the “CASTRATE” banner; and it described the angry crowd in very sympathetic, almost admiring, terms.

Of course, the N&O would never have reported that way if the “CASTRATE” crowd had targeted males identified as gay.

If the crowd had targeted gays, there’d have been N&O headlines and news stories about “homophobia” and “a mob bent on violence.” Sheehan and the N&O’s editorial page would’ve demanded Duke fire staff members who attended the rally and provide counseling and gender awareness training for faculty and students who were there.

But the targeted males were not identified as gay and they were white.

So Sheehan and the N&O had no problem with what the crowd was doing or with its “CASTRATE” banner.

And that’s why Sheehan’s “We won’t tolerate nooses” column is a warning.

It’s not about tolerance. It’s just one more instance of the dangerous double standard at the N&O and elsewhere that made possible the Duke Hoax witch hunt and its massive injustices.

Sheehan and the N&O have never condemned the ‘CASTRATE” rally or the “Vigilante” poster or the racists who shouted death threats at Reade Seligmann or the craven leadership of Duke University who stood silent in the face of it all.

But if someone finds a piece of toilet paper in the shape of a noose on a bathroom floor, it’s time for the community to speak out and say, “We won’t tolerate nooses.”

After doing so much to launch and sustain the Duke Hoax you’d think Sheehan and the N&O would’ve learned something and would be trying to do better.

But Sheehan's column makes clear they haven’t and they’re not.

We’ve been warned.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the update on the noose warning.

For a minute there, I was thinking N&O had broadcast a "news" warning. Coming from the N&O, i think that would have made more sense.


mac said...

Hey Ruth:

I am drawing a picture of a noose...let's see, how many loops? How long should I make the rope, since it is just a drawing? I don't plan to hang anyone with my illustration, sincerely.

I'm thinking maybe of entering it into an art festival, "art" being whatever you think it is. (Some people think a picture of a crucifix in urine is "art." Imagine!)

Almost through...
there. All done. Whoopee.

We better get ready to castrate kids who draw nooses in class when they're playing hangman, eh Ruthie? They might grow up to be lacrosse players - and (oh MY G-D!) privileged! Better catch 'em when they're young, before they can breed even more privileged offspring.

Can I send you a photo of my noose?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Nice job, John. That's the kind of illumination that the idiologists in the media need.

Physician, heal thyself. Ruth Sheehan, are you listening?

Anonymous said...

The signs they bore said CASTRATE them
The players slept in cars.
But Ruth had no objections then.
Bring the feathers! Bring the tar!

"We know you know! Shut down the Team!
Throw Pressler toward the Bus!
Take away his livelihood"
Our Ruth made such a fuss!

No scorn or threat made toward the team
Crossed any line with Ruth.
Her silence was quite sickening then
No... waiting for the truth.

They screamed "You're a dead man walking"
Yet Ruthie seemed quite Zen.
But now a ....toilet paper noose
Has her fired up again.

Yes, Ruth has her priorities
The TP "threat" ignites her scorn!!!
But is the Charmin a racist threat?
Or just..a loop of tissue...overdrawn?

No matter! Ruth has found her voice!
If only the Team had made her care.
But after her newspaper "noose"
Ruth's "fire" fizzled into air......

Seems our Ruthie suffers from
Selective indignation.
Death threats to CERTAIN mother's sons.
Are not even...worth..a ..mention!

John, Forgive me for bumping this up....I was late to post last time. And your posts on Sheehan do so inspire me.

Happy Thanksgiving.