Just when we thought we were getting somewhere in this country.

Earlier this year, spurred on by a midlife crisis meltdown Michael Richards had on stage at the motherfucking Laugh Factory, we decided it was finally time to bury the dreaded n-word. Literally. Then, a few months later, the Don Imus incident convinced us all that censoring rap music should be our main political initiative.

Certainly we were on our way.

Lately though, it doesn't seem as if this is the case. In the past few weeks, nooses have popped up all over the place, from Columbia University, to Home Depot, to around the necks of monuments erected to mediocre rappers, in Atlanta (of course). It's almost as if the state of race relations in this country is even worse than it was, say, a year ago. What gives?

At the very least, I think we can agree that this recent rash of noose-hangings seems out of sorts with the perceived state of race relations in this country. I mean, think about it. There's been at least nine such incidents - which are obviously copycats of the original incident, at Jena High School - so far. Can you even name nine white people who were willing to call the Jena Six the bullshit cause that it was[1]?

It's cool, I'll wait.


See, you probably can't.

And yet obviously there's a great deal of discontent in this country re: the Jena Six issue. Just like I'm sure there were way more white critics who couldn't stand that Tyler Perry movie, but didn't have the balls to say so. And just like there's obviously quite a few white people who didn't think Don Imus deserved to be fired, and can't wait to see him come back (look at how much they're paying him), even though I'm sure most of them know better than to say so out loud.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this recent rash of noose-hangings is really a dramatic illustration of the extent to which this current state of Oprah Winfrey uber alles has set back race relations in this country.

Obviously it would be difficult to say for certain what's going on in the minds of the racist fucks who keep leaving these nooses all over the place without actually... you know, going inside their minds. But you have to think that there's a connection between Noosegate (or whatever we're calling it) and the Jena Six issue if only because they are, after all, copycats of the incident that led to wasn't actually related to the six-on-one gang stomping of that cracka-ass cracka.

But my theory is that every time we have another one of these race issues that's especially bullshit - like the Michael Richards incident and the Don Imus incident and the Jena Six and probably a few that I'm forgetting at this point - it has the effect of making the state of race relations in this country that much worse. When black people and white people are around each other these days, there's a palpable sense that we have to watch what we say - even if we don't have any real racist intent - that's stronger than it was as recently as a year ago. But it's not making our relationships any stronger. If anything, it's just making us not want to be around one another.

And wasn't that the real cause of the incident down in Jena to begin with?

[1] Especially in the time before it was revealed that members of the group have been using money sent to them for their legal defense to participate in such antiquated southern mating rituals as having your picture taken with a mouth full of paper money. I mean, we've all got to score somehow, but seriously, that's just nasty.

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