A noose was found hanging at the front door of a house at a Washington, D.C., construction site this week, the fifth such incident to occur in the D.C. area within the last two months.
According to a police report, the noose was found at a house under construction in southeast Washington. As reported by CNN, the report stated that officers arrived at the scene Thursday (June 1) morning and “discovered a rope, tied in a noose, displayed by the front door.”
The property manager told police that there was no noose at the house, which is an unoccupied structure, the day before at the time work ended for the day.
No arrests have been made regarding the incident.
Nooses are symbolic of racial hatred against black Americans and conjure up images of a period in American history where violence against blacks sometimes ended with a lynch mob and a noose. A form of murder, lynching was used primarily in the southern United States in the aftermath of the American Civil War as a social control device to kill, intimidate, and administer extrajudicial “justice” against African Americans who had recently become free and were allowed to vote. Although lynchings have not occurred in the U.S. for quite some time, the noose has become the default symbol of those who would deny African Americans social equality.
As noted, the construction site noose was the fifth episode involving the display of nooses.
Two nooses were found within the last week at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. One was found last Wednesday (May 28) in the history gallery in the “segregation” exhibit. Another was found by a security officer on a tree on the Smithsonian museum grounds May 26.
Bananas hanging from nooses were discovered around the campus of American University in early May.
A noose was left in the kitchen of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house at the University of Maryland in April.
The incidents come at a time when hate crimes appear to be on the rise in the United States. According to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University (per CBS News), hate crimes are up at least six percent in 25 of the United States’ largest cities. And FBI statistics indicate that African Americans are most commonly targeted (30 percent) in the commission of hate crimes.
In an effort to document the rise in hate crimes since the advent of the Donald Trump campaign for president, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes and groups in the U.S., partnered with Pro Publica to document the number of hate crimes committed in post-election American. In all, the project, called “Documenting Hate,” recorded 1,372 accounts of “bias incidents” in the U.S. from November 9, the day after the 2016 Presidential Election, to February 7.
The disturbing number of nooses found recently, especially those discovered on the grounds of the Smithsonian, is also part a set of high-profile hate crimes committed in the last week. As reported by CNN, NBA basketball star LeBron James was the victim of a racial slur being painted on the front gate of his Los Angeles home. He addressed the incident in a pre-NBA Finals press conference where he reassured the media that he and his family were safe, noting that fame and wealth do not allow freedom from racial discrimination and hatred, saying “being black in America is tough.”
And in a deadly hate crime incident in Portland, Oregon, three young men came to the aid of two young teenage girls who were being accosted by a man hurling slurs at them, one for being black and the other for being Muslim. According to OregonLive, the man, later arrested and identified as 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, turned on the men and stabbed all three of them, killing two.
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