No Noose Is Good Noose

“Few consequences after nooses are found” we learn from the bottom left corner of the WP front page headline.  Author Taylor Telford’s tone tells readers they’d be sticking their necks’ out by asking if there should be any. A detail the article goes to strident lengths ignoring is how few nooses actually were found. It’s a fact that exposes the whole screed as nothing less than an effort to fabricate an unjustifiable account of racial animus. Naturally, the lady goes for the easiest prey.

“Penalties for displaying a noose vary by state but max out at five years in prison.” Did everyone get that? The victim of a noose sighting can be entitled to considerably more “justice” than a person who is physically attacked. Message to racist thugs: stick to axe handles.

The article covers a lot of ground that doesn’t necessarily pertain to nooses. Most of it is just another snipe at a chardonnay swiller’s favorite whipping boy. A supposed hot bed of this hate fueled phenomena is the construction industry. The dreaded flag waving, pick-up truck driving hard hat is at it again. Telford asks us to envision Steinbeckian vigilantes driving minorities out of the industry like Oakies forced to strike camp and move on before dawn.

We are expected to believe that ubiquitous nooses and other hostile displays at building sites are driving terrorized African-Americans out of the trades. No other explanation is considered.

“The U.S. construction industry is worth more than $1.5 trillion according to Of the sectors nearly 10.8 million workers, just 647,000 are black, federal data show, a reflection of a steady decline that began during the Great Recession.”

Is there some particular reason that the black slice of this 10.8 million person pie is the only one itemized? It’s true that, going by overall numbers, the black participation in this market should be roughly double. But is anything in this equation missing? If you crunch the numbers you’ll find that whites are not overrepresented. Anyone giving the industry the most cursory examination knows what demographic punches above its weight class in these kinds of occupations—and that includes Telford.

“…nearly a third of its [construction industry] is Latino.”

That’s the amount of coverage she gives—over 1500 words in–to a demographic participating in this field at rates roughly doubling their representative numbers in the population.  Any worthwhile examination of disparities would delve into where, geographically, these inroads have been made. White prevalence in every trade is natural in places where they are 95% of the population inside a radius of hundreds of miles. In areas near the coasts, where populations tend to be far more diverse, rates of Hispanics bringing dwellings out of the ground can go well over 50%. Can a good-ole-boy bullying plot be responsible for that?

My first job out of high school was with a small general contractor. They usually had about ten or fifteen sites going at a time. This was an era when lore, ribbing and ridicule were as much a part of the business as the roach-coaches that showed up to feed us. The original employee of the venture was a black man named Jimmy about 45—ancient to me at 18—who drove the truck that kept vital materials available as needed. He would work alongside us at crucial times when deadlines were closing in and had numerous other responsibilities. None of them included editorial commentary, wisecracks or humorous descriptions of employee ineptitude. Those were provided to the company gratis.

My personal greenness was not exempted—we joined for drinks once in a bar and he had field day describing those blunders to other patrons twice my age. His colorful descriptive power got the urproarious laughter desired.  It was funny at first but I didn’t depart the joint with teenage pride fully intact. Alas, there was no Oprah at the time, to take my case to.

He was also close to the owner of the firm, whose own oblivion to engineering was legendary, the son-in-law ran things. On one occasion, as we used string lines to find the center of a hole, the proprietor asked his daughter’s husband: “Mike, I don’t understand, what’s critical here?” It made the rounds.

Jimmy held the sway of any project manager or superintendent in the company. One day the owner brought his wife around to view progress on a site. She asked the truck driver to fetch her purse. That was a tale that made it into the books. Jimmy’s—out of earshot–rejoinder went: “Didn’t she watch Roots?”

It merely circulated the employees of Stavros Construction in 1977 but today it could make a national stir based on WP editorial priorities. Jimmy knew this bleary idiot might have asked anyone else the same thing but wasn’t about to miss a punch line. A level of coarseness, and fend for yourself disregard, has been the culture of building construction, and other physically dangerous engineering fields, for millennia. These anecdotes are included here because they happen to be just as relevant—and probably truer—than any Telford includes in the July 23 article—which is just a rant applying no systematic, scientific or rational basis establishing any validity to the theses.

Excessive touch with one’s feelings could be unhealthy climbing wet scaffold 40 feet up, with an iron form swinging over head or operating power tools that can sever fingers in an instant.Do readers imagine Telford wielding a sledgehammer, directing a backhoe operator, laying out an interior wall or pulling concrete successfully? The lady would be too busy dehumanizing anyone who could—as she dreams up demons in the custody of her cloistered, judgmental world view. Racism is no more, or less, common to the ones who shelter ingrates like WP writers than it is to WP writers. Journalists reveal their own prejudices fudging facts and examples—rather than going to the lengths of finding ones that make the case.

There is no expiation for the extremity of placing a noose in a spot to offend—nor is there any for the pretense such things are common and up to a level qualifying as systemic “oppression.” What are the numbers cited in the article?

55 since 2015?—not all at construction sites?

There are 55 murders a day in America. A minimum of 40% of those are African-American. That means an African-American is 720 times more likely to be murdered than ever be confronted by the sight of a noose—if we rule out the possibility any of the sightings were hoaxes. Is anything out of perspective here–when’s the last time the WP covered a lethal phenomena 720 times more common?

Meanwhile, we get a sentence fragment informing us that Latinos are the ones with an outsize slice in this labor market—not the dreaded redneck. We hear this far past the point editors know most readers make it to in lengthy pieces. It has become a daily occurrence for WP writers to miss the points made in their own articles.The lady claims Latinos are unmercifully persecuted too. So, isn’t it racist to suggest they take the hazing—if it really exists on the scale she’d have us believe–better than African Americans?

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