Posted by Brian at 12:30 AM
Sure, you can go home again
Maybe you just don't want to. Stories like this one just make me tired.
A Slidell city employee is under investigation by city officials and the FBI after he apparently hung a paper figure from a crudely constructed noose on city property following a disagreement with his African-American supervisor.I grew up in Slidell, lived there for more years than any other in my life, early ten years, and I knew when I left that I'd likely never move back. This is part of the reason.
The employee, who is white, must attend a Civil Service hearing Tuesday to address his actions, and he faces punishment that could result in losing his job and possibly being booked with a hate crime, said Mayor Ben Morris, who declined to reveal the names of the employee and supervisor until the city's investigation in complete.
The man, a worker in the public operations department, had an altercation with his supervisor in the past week or so that led to an initial Civil Service hearing and a determination that he be suspended without pay for three days, Morris said. The employee then was sent home, he said.
The employee evidently created the makeshift noose -- fashioned from electrical wire hanging in an old work barn on Bayou Lane -- before the hearing took place, Morris said. He used white paper to make a paper doll to hang from the noose, Morris said.
It just seems like this crap never ends. I remember being on a field trip in 8th grade when two of my classmates were talking about music--one mentioned that he thought Prince was a great guitarist and the other said, casually as anything, "hmmm, never took you for a nigger-lover." I'd like to say I was so indignant that I called him out, but I didn't. Instead I sat there with a knot in my stomach wondering what I would say if he included me in the conversation, while the accused immediately backpedaled, disclaiming any love for niggers--yes, he used the word in response--and saying that he just thought the guy played a good guitar, but not as good as Eddie Van Halen. It was clear. The worst thing that a person could do is show any respect for African-Americans.
That was nearly 25 years ago, and apparently, little has changed in the attitudes of the people of the suburb where I was raised. I could take heart, I suppose, in the fact that this is actually garnering some action from city officials, and maybe I should, but I'm more despondent at the fact that it's still happening in the first place. When I was writing about the Jena Six, I said this:
The headline says it all: La. Protests Hark Back to '50s, '60s. The headline, intentionally or not, casts the story of the Jena 6 as one which is unusual today, as one that echoes a long-past time. It isn't. It's the latest incident in a never-ending series of incidents that have been going on for the last 400 years or so in North America. And to pretend otherwise is to give oneself a really simplistic, and I believe dangerous view of the country we live in, because we can't really do anything about racism in the US until we acknowledge that we're still dealing with it.I think this story simply echoes that earlier point. Of course, we're not likely to ever eradicate racism--othering seems to be an innate part of human nature on some level--but I'd like to think that we can reduce it to the point where those who practice it are so marginalized that they're an aberration.