Local News

State Employees' Union Decries Alleged Racist Incidents

Posted December 2, 2007

(AP Photo/Alexandria Police Department)

— Members of the North Carolina Public Service Workers' Union gathered in Raleigh Saturday to speak out against what they say is a growing rash of workplace hate crimes.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, North Carolina State University police found a 10-inch-long noose made of toilet paper hanging in a restroom stall in the Sullivan Shops Building. The building, off Sullivan Drive, is part of the university's motor pool and is accessible only by employees with keys.

UE-150 officials said that 10 days later, two black maintenance workers – Marvin Mackey and Elton Singletary – found two nooses in a work area at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The nooses were painted red, symbolizing blood, union officials said.

The workers reported them to Larry Howell, director of facilities maintenance and operations, who ordered them to throw away the nooses. The workers claimed that Howell and other university administrators treated the incident as a prank.

UE-150 officials said the nooses appeared after Mackey complained of discrimination in the hiring for an electrician position, for which he had applied. The hiring process was reopened, according to the union.

UNCC officials investigated the incident and determined it did not warrant filing criminal charges.

The public workers' union issued a call for "an end to racist intimidation at the workplace." It cited incidents in state-owned workplaces in Rocky Mount and the Department of Transportation, as well as in Jena, Louisiana.

"This intimidation is part and parcel of the institutionalized racism that maintains the majority of blacks in the lowest paying jobs and denies them real and equal opportunities for advancement. This racism hurts all workers in those jobs regardless of race," the union press release stated.

"Many workers and citizens, black and white, are outraged at these acts of intimidation and want an immediate end to these and other racist acts."

The union demanded the termination of Howell, any workers who might be involved in making the noose and administrators if they refused to investigate the incident.

The union also asked the state to "establish strong policies against all forms of race hate and intimidation" and to "end discrimination in hiring, job assignments, promotions and discipline."

The NCSU student government passed the Racism and Hatred Incident Act less than a week after a noose was found there. The resolution called for a university policy on hate crimes and independent investigation and prosecution of the incident.


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  • give me no quarter Dec 4, 2007

    Wonder how many nooses have been found by the very people who placed them there to keep the "poor me" agenda going?

  • sjmr1216 Dec 3, 2007

    oh good grief...if i got offended every time i walked into a bathroom and saw some racist symbol...i'd crepe myself...just scoff at the ignorance and move on.

  • BUCKEYEnNC Dec 3, 2007

    While I understand how an African American can be offended by a noose, I think it gets more attention than it deserves.

    As much as we hate to admit it, being stupid or insensitive isn't illegal.

    The more attention that you give pranks like this, the more you'll see people doing these types of stuff.

  • whatusay Dec 3, 2007

    Sorry but I don't see a noose as a racial symbol. I see a noose as the instrument that hung criminals. Who put the stigma on the noose as a racist symbol? If painting a house blue could be associated with something that happened to a black would that make blue paint a racist color? There might be a way to connect a certain incident to a racist act but each instance has to be looked at seperately. A noose is not necessarily a racist symbol...and neither is the confederate flag. Blacks might hate it but that does not make it racist. My greatgrand parents nor my grandparents owned a slave, but the confederate flag is part of my heritage.

  • pls qt whining Dec 3, 2007

    I just don't get it. You are who you are - quit whining and using crutches or excuses because you aren't who you WANT to be.

    What if it had been a rose left behind? Would they be hollering sexual discrimination since it's mainly men that use that restroom?????? Geez . .

  • Lightfoot3 Dec 3, 2007

    I use to tie and hang nooses, even in the workplace. But that was before it was turned into a symbol of hate. My brother taught me how to tie them and I thought they looked cool. Now it’s a symbol of hate, just like the Confederate battle flag has been turned into a symbol of hate (though I still fly mine when I can).

    But there’s a difference between hating someone, and committing a crime. If a noose is hung as a prank, or just to send a message of hate, there shouldn’t be any legal repercussion. But if a noose is hung as a threat, then the law should get involved. Like or not, Americans have a right to love, or HATE if they want. A racist has just as much rights as anyone else.

  • moreupset Dec 2, 2007

    Those wishing to play the race card, will pull any strings. Even a Noose

  • bonedigger12000 Dec 2, 2007

    No matter what color, even cowboys hung horse thieves.

  • aegunc Dec 2, 2007

    Are you people kidding me?You dont see what the big deal is about hanging a Noose? It's just another symbol of the old south and slavery all over again!

    This is a perfect answer to those of you who are always asking "why do Blacks always pull the race card" OR "why can't Blacks just move on, racism doesn exist" GET REAL PEOPLE racism is here to STAY stop trying to pretend that it doesnt just because you dont see it or because it doesnt happen to you.

    We will NOT continue to sweep incidents like these under the rug and I hope that Blacks continue to bring these situations to light until something is done about it!

    Don Imus calls some innocent girls "nappy headed ****" and he's back on the air. Isaiah Washington(Grey's Anatomy)drops the f-bomb on his co-star and is fired from the show. Where is the justice in that?

  • sparkleyvalentineangel Dec 2, 2007

    mlipi good point.