After reading this article about a series of nooses being hung all around the nation, apparently in response to what is happening with the Jena 6, I am saddened, disgusted and frustrated. Nooses, really? Our culture is digressing in troubling ways. I get the same sinking feeling that Eugene Cho wrote about recently, in his post Racism Sucks, about the vast difference in media coverage between crimes committed against white and black people.
There is so much hatred lurking just beneath the surface. People are so quick to pin the blame for the difficulty in their lives on someone else — it’s always “their” fault, whoever they might be. What is particularly infuriating about these noose incidents is the disgusting cowardice of these perpetrators. Like the Klansmen who hide behind masks, these people sneak around as they attempt to inflict terror on others.
I am reminded of an ugly incident that occurred during my seminary days. Several non-white students received racist, hateful rants scrawled across the message boards on their doors. Although the seminary convened a task force in response to these incidents, the perpetrator was never caught and the matter was essentially swept under the rug. Looking back, I wish I had taken a stronger stand in pursuit of justice instead of allowing the seminary community to act like nothing ever happened. Princeton is a wonderful community in many ways, but very proud and set in its ways — during my time there I encountered many people who were shocked to find that not everyone shared their worldview and that, in fact, their perspective was not normative for everyone else.
We are often guilty of perpetuating the culture of self-centered entitlement — Jesus died just for you, our church is all about your needs, etc. — instead of self-giving servanthood. This sense that someone, everyone, owes me only breeds resentment and violence. May Christ break this sick, self-perpetuating cycle of privilege and selfishness.