Racism/White Supremacy…“The White Man Has A Thousand Different Kinds of Chains”

Employees find noose hanging at work (CNN)

NEW YORK (CNN) — James Jackson, a 26-year-old black employee of 180 Connect, was preparing for another day of installing cable, telephone and Internet service to residential customers of Cablevision in Nassau County, New York on December 7.

When he walked to the fenced-off area to pick up equipment for the day’s jobs he looked up and was shocked to see a vicious, racist symbol in his workplace. A noose was hanging in the fenced-off equipment area, visible to the dozens of installers, the majority of whom are black, but accessible only to his boss and an equipment manager, both of whom are white.

Jackson, a former messenger who had worked at 180 Connect for a year and a half, immediately confronted the equipment manager, Dave Willie.

“I asked Dave,” Jackson told CNN, ” ‘What is that hanging up there?’ and he said, ‘That is a noose’ and I said, ‘I know it’s a noose, but why is it up there?’ And he walked away.”

Jackson and his co-workers say they were distraught.

“I just wanted to leave. I wanted to get out of there,” 180 Connect employee Ralph Satterwhite told CNN. (Perhaps, that was the point) “I was disgusted.”

The installers say they never complained to Human Resources. Instead, they consulted with a labor attorney, documented the incident, and decided to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Installer Shomari Houston, according to the complaint, says he asked his white boss, Gary Murdock, why a hangman’s noose was in his workplace. He says the response was:

To hang two black employees.

“He said, ‘Yo, I like that, it’s cool, I am gonna hang Russell up there. Think we can get James up there?’ ” Houston recalls Murdock saying. “I looked at him like, ‘You serious.’ “

Jackson says he continued to ask that the noose be taken down, and openly recorded the following conversation with Willie.

Jackson: “Who’s that for, the rope?”

Willie: “For anybody who goes past that door that I don’t want them in there.”

Jackson: “Hang ’em?”

Willie: “Yeah.”

Company says it has no tolerance for racism (Right!)

After a week of complaints, the noose finally came down. (And if it had been a Swastika?) The next day, December 14, the installers went public with their gripe, announcing their plans to file the EEOC discrimination claim.

180 Connect says it has zero tolerance for racism.

“It’s inappropriate to put up any sign of violence in the workplace,” said 180 Connect attorney Joel Cohen. “The company is aware that a noose could have racial connotations and could be a very negative symbol to African-American people.

“The company does not tolerate racism in the workplace and if anybody in the company engaged in wrongdoing, that will be dealt with and will be dealt with in a responsible way.”

180 Connect has suspended Willie with pay, pending results of an investigation.

In a statement, Willie told CNN, “I am deeply saddened that a few of my co-workers have chosen to publicly air allegations of racism which they know to be false.”

Willie’s attorney, Richard Gertler, says his client’s comment had no racial intent.

“He was saying it tongue in cheek. It’s taken out of context,” said Gertler.

Willie, Gertler stresses, is no racist. “My client’s first marriage for 17 years was to an African-American woman. So I don’t think he’s racist.”

Gary Murdock continues to oversee the warehouse at 180 Connect. Murdock did not return CNN’s phone calls.

180 Connect has retained former National Labor Relations Law Judge Edwin Bennett to conduct an investigation. The installers, however, are refusing to appear before the judge without their attorney, which the company is not permitting, arguing it is not a legal proceeding.

Although the installers don’t work directly for Cablevision, they also named the cable operator in their suit, saying company employees saw the noose and took no action.

Cablevision told CNN, “We are deeply troubled by the allegations about 180 Connect’s workplace. We expect 180 Connect to conduct a thorough and credible investigation, to cooperate with any external investigation, and to take any appropriate actions.” (Of course you’re concerned; revenue may suffer)

This is how white people think:  “I was married to a black woman; I couldn’t possibly be a racist.”  Neither could the slavemaster – by that definition – who raped more black women than I’ve ever seen.  If the white slavemaster, or a white man who happened to be fucking a black woman COULDN’T be racist; why would some white liberal who knows all the right things to say be painted with a racist brush?

19 Responses to “Racism/White Supremacy…“The White Man Has A Thousand Different Kinds of Chains”

  1. Holy fucking shit.

    On so SO many levels.

  2. Oh no, I posted that and then thought … I have no idea if it’s ok to swear like that on your blog. Please delete or edit if I was out of line.

  3. This is how white people think: “I was married to a black woman; I couldn’t possibly be a racist.”

    Idle thought: do they actually think this, or do they just say it as a power play: as a way to stop conversation, or as a way to make their interlocutors waste their breath explaining? That is, could it be that it isn’t ignorance or a lack of awareness, but method of oppression, overtly and consciously deployed?

    BTW just saw this French movie, THE TOWN IS QUIET [LA VILLE EST TRANQUILLE], set in Marseille, interesting. The racial situation isn’t the main theme, but it’s one, and the film is worth seeing just for that (although I liked it in general). In once scene, an angry bourgeoise says to her supposedly liberal/left husband, “You just like to be the one in charge.” (This is re unionization and such. Her point is that he has taken the positions that give him the most power, for THAT reason, and not out of deeper convictions.)

  4. AWQ: Cursing is actually mandatory here. Each post or comment must contain a word embued with POWER. Fortunately, curses are the holders of so much repressed energy that truly, they are always welcome, and should be used every now and then.

  5. I am the owner of a Anger Management Education Center in Los Angeles, California. We received frequent calls from Human Resources department who have management using racial slurs etc. when they become frustrated with a employee. Uncontrolled anger allows what already inside to come out.

    Shannon Munford
    Daybreak Counseling Service

  6. I saw this story on CNN a few evenings ago and almost fell out of my chair as I watched. To hang a noose in the workplace of a Black person is the singular most racist and oppressive act that comes to mind. It is so inappropriate on EVERY level. Why that guy continues to work for 180 Connect is beyond me!

    I’m not in favor of monetary damages, but this company should receive some kind of penalty that is severe enough to preclude its management from ever trying a stunt like this again.

  7. “180 Connect says it has zero tolerance for racism.”

    Yeah I know, and so does every other company in this country. ~That sound you hear is me laughing 🙂

    Nice post!

  8. Welcome, new folks! Thanks Field.

  9. What strikes me is the utter lack of empathy, of affinity. Then I realized there is no symbol that strikes fear in the hearts of the white man in this culture. Well, they were a little nervous for 2-weeks in the early 90’s during the Lorena Bobbit revolt.

    Maybe these jackasses don’t even “get” that their “joke” is another’s night terror. They don’t HAVE to get it. They most-likely weren’t raised to, or ever held accountable. White Male Privilege. Gag.

    And the fact that one of them was married to a African American woman for several years–DOES NOT mean that for ONE DAY he treated her with respect, that she felt safe and equal, doesn’t mean one-fucking-thing.


  10. On how white people think: my example from today’s blogosphere is a liberal and from what I can gather mostly white feminist site I visit occasionally … which I won’t link to here because I don’t mean to trash anyone or start a firestorm, I’m just bringing up the example for purposes of this discussion … so one of their big current threads is on the sexism of Latin men. What they say is true enough (although my version would be it’s all ethnicities, different forms and manifestations, with individual exceptions) but what was so BOTHERSOME was their absolute willingness to generalize and in quite a few cases, to be smugly superior. I am hardly one to minimize gender harrassment situations but to me in that thread, what stood out was the willingness/eagerness to trash non-WASP ethnicities and also the fear: ‘OMG they’re dangerous’!

  11. Freeslave ” Cursing is actually mandatory here. ”

    Thank you for allowing neandethals such as myself to be ourselves, also very good post, those brothas should sue that cable companies socks and draws off. They should go after thier pound of flesh, to be honest I wouldnt have been suprised if those white supervisors hadnt gotten the living sh#t smacked out of them.

  12. P.S. – MJ, are you the one who recommended the film,

    Burn! (Queimada)
    on colonialism, slavery, and European power-jockeying in the Caribbean? Anyway, I’ve finally seen it, and in case you weren’t the one who recommended it to me, I’m recommending it to you. This is for general reasons – these are topics of interest to you, and it’s well done, but more specifically because, re this discussion, it has material about the white man’s ‘god complex’ (as discussed in the review I linked to). FYI. And cheers.

  13. The company has zero tolerance for racism because it has 95.9% acceptance of it.

    (I tried to cut them a break because he did marry a Negro Afro-American black woman… :p)

  14. Mark Bey: Welcome! Keep coming back!!

    Z: You gotta give up the url!

    No doubt, LA, the sistah probably left cuz the facade/red pill wore off and reality kicked her ass.

    Sylvia, EXACTLY! And I don’t think sex or relationship partner means jack about one’s racism; often it means they are super-racists cuz they objectify the lover/other and use them to rebel against mommy and daddy. I’ve seen that.

  15. My question is, did the wife knock the s#@t out of him when she found out?

  16. Violette: She sure shoulda! Welcome.

  17. All right. I was going to say ‘you didn’t hear this from me’ but obviously, Technorati will track it.
    I don’t think engaging with the discourse there would be a productive exercise, though.

  18. I watched this on CNN and I was outraged! Racism is really a disease in this country and the world over. It’s become so common place in this society that the racist don’t even know that they’re racist.

  19. Dr. Bess: “Exactly!” But then they tell you they AREN’T racist and tell you to take their word for it. Puhleaze!!

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