Victor Sengbe, a black resident of Oakland, thought it would be fun to put some rope-like things on a tree in a public park to help him and his friends exercise. They have been there for months. Now he’s part of a hate crimes investigation by the City of Oakland. More:
The Police Department provided five photographs of trees, some of which showed knotted ropes and one that appeared to have a piece of plastic pipe attached to a rope, hanging from tree limbs.
They have been removed by city officials.
Victor Sengbe, who is black, told KGO-TV that the ropes were part of a rigging that he and his friends used as part of a larger swing system. He also shared video of the swing in use.
“Out of the dozen and hundreds and thousands of people that walked by, no one has thought that it looked anywhere close to a noose. Folks have used it for exercise. It was really a fun addition to the park that we tried to create,” Sengbe said.
“It’s unfortunate that a genuine gesture of just wanting to have a good time got misinterpreted into something so heinous,” he told the station.
[Mayor Libby] Schaaf said officials must “start with the assumption that these are hate crimes.” However, the mayor and Nicholas Williams, the city’s director of parks recreation, also said it didn’t matter whether the ropes were meant to send a racist message.
“Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said. “It is incumbent on all of us to know the actual history of racial violence, of terrorism, that a noose represents and that we as a city must remove these terrorizing symbols from the public view.”
“The symbolism of the rope hanging in the tree is malicious regardless of intent. It’s evil, and it symbolizes hatred,” Williams said.
Watch the mayor say it here:
Intentions do not matter. We will not tolerate symbols of hate in our city. The nooses found at Lake Merritt will be investigated as hate crimes. pic.twitter.com/B1f1SwZ4tK
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) June 18, 2020
Libby Schaaf, obviously, is white. Parks and Rec director Nicholas Williams is black. Both of them are card-carrying members of the Loony Left.
Except this isn’t really funny. Schaaf is the mayor of a city. She says flat-out that it doesn’t matter what the person who put the ropes up — a black man who used them for exercise! — meant by them; the fact is, someone felt “terrorized” by them, so the chief executive of the city has directed the government to “start with the assumption” that it was a hate crime.
So much that is wrong with contemporary progressivism is right there in this mayor’s words. It doesn’t matter at all that whoever thought they were nooses was a paranoid. It doesn’t matter at all that they were installed as aids to exercise. Now poor Victor Sengbe is going to have to deal with a hate crimes investigation, when all he wanted to do was exercise. Look on the bright side, at least he is black. If a white man had done it, he would already be facing war crimes charges, and would be on a flight to The Hague.
The Left is going to lead this country into racial violence. A reader e-mails tonight:
I just can’t see all the media propaganda and mob mentality not leading to violence. It is leading to something isn’t it? Don’t you sense a spirit? A telos? What is the logical endpoint of all this? I swear, I can see this going no direction but violence and cleansing. It is a terrifying thought.
[Democrats] don’t lie to themselves. They understand there is a revolution in progress. The death of George Floyd may have sparked widespread outrage. They may share that outrage. But they know that what is happening now has very little to do with George Floyd, or with people like him. Like all revolutions, the point is to destroy the current system and replace it with something new. But replace it with what? That’s the question the rest of us should be asking. We should know what’s coming.
We know what we have now. Our current system has been in place for hundreds of years. It is based on a simple idea: all people are created by God with equal moral value. Period. Every one of them. For that reason — and that reason alone — all Americans will be treated equally under the laws of the United States. In this country, we will judge you for what you do, not how you were born. That idea has been the defining principle of America since the 18th century. It’s the main reason we are the fairest society in the world. It’s the reason people move here. To the extent America has failed to live up to that principle, we are ashamed of it. We should be. Equality is the most important thing we have.
Now, for the first time in our history, we are witnessing a broad and powerful attack on that principle. Daily, we are told that all people are not, in fact, created equal. Some were born with moral stain. Others weren’t. Some Americans are guilty, some are innocent. Nothing can change this. It was determined at birth. All we can do is respond accordingly. People in favored groups must be held to one standard. Those in disfavored, morally tainted groups, must be held to another. The country will retain one set of laws, for the sake of formality, but we must apply those laws in very different ways, according to the DNA and background of the accused.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because the kind of system we just described — a system based on heredity and blood guilt — has been very common in history. It was the rule in feudal Europe, for example, and in the totalitarian regimes on that continent more recently. It’s still in practice in parts of the world. In North Korea, children are sent to prison camps for the sins of their ancestors. We’ve seen it here too. You may have wondered how politicians justified practices as perverse as slavery and Jim Crow. Simple: By arguing that all people were not created equal. Some had lesser moral value from birth. These people carried the stain of sin. You were allowed to treat them differently, based on who they were.
At the time, many understood that this was a lie. Slavery persisted for hundreds of years, but there were always some in authority who considered it evil — not just because it was abusive, which of course it was, but because its existence violated the central principle of America. They were right. Where are those people now? Look around? Is anyone in power defending absolute equality under the law? If there was ever a time to remind America that we all have equal value under God, that time is right now. But no. No one in charge is saying that. Our leaders are cowards when we need them to be brave. They’re muddled when we need them to think clearly. It’s possible they no longer even believe in equality.
A public school teacher in Vermont is on leave and may lose her job because she posted on her private Facebook page that she supports black people, but not Black Lives Matter:
School officials moved to fire Windsor School Principal Tiffany Riley on Friday after she wrote a social media post seen as critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The post, written Wednesday on Riley’s personal Facebook page, said she believes “black lives matter” but “I DO NOT agree with coercive measures taken to get this point across; some of which are falsified in an attempt to prove a point.”
Riley, who became principal of the K-12 school in 2015, wrote, “I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose black race over human race.”
“While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement?” Riley added, before saying, “just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I’m a racist.”
Tiffany Riley is white. So is the school superintendent, who called her comments “racist.”
A local elected political leader, Amanda Smith, has some ideas for how this school should react:
Smith, who has children enrolled in Windsor schools and is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, offered four recommendations earlier this week that administrators could tackle over the summer. They include installing a Black Lives Matter flag, creating multicultural components to all classes and providing staff with information about combating racism.
Smith also hopes the district will institute a restorative justice program that will help students overcome racist beliefs.
But, she said, district officials didn’t take up any of those actions and responded to her with talk of a “nebulous committee that might talk about change.”
Amanda Smith is a white woman and lesbian activist in town. Here she is speaking at a June 7 Black Lives Matter rally in town:
Watch the clip. She’s on the verge of tears through most of her speech. She’s a graduate of Wellesley.
Another local BLM activist complained to the local paper about the New England town’s racism:
Iyanna Williams, 2015 Windsor High graduate, also said she was dismissed when bringing concerns and suggestions to district officials.
She initially contacted the school district earlier this month after noticing an American flag spray-painted into the Windsor School lawn.
“I just thought that that was out of character and given the current circumstances and climate of the world right now, I just wasn’t sure how comfortable I felt with that,” she said.
Iyanna Williams, an African American living in America, was offended by the American flag. She is an activist in the local Black Lives Matter chapter; in this June 7 local rally, she talked about how BLM is not just about black lives, but LGBT issues, environmentalism, and so forth. So if you don’t support those other issues, but do support black lives, it should be okay to criticize BLM, right?
Iyanna Williams lives in Windsor, Vermont, a rural, almost entirely white New England town of 3,500 people. And yet, officials there have destroyed the career of their elementary school principal because she says she supports black lives, but not Black Lives Matter. This is a small rural town. The newspaper says that Riley is a graduate of a high school 15 miles away. She’s from there. But these fanatical liberals have driven her away and made her unemployable — not because she doesn’t support black people, but because she doesn’t support the Black Lives Matter organization.
(She might well have a lawsuit against the school board too. There is a serious question as to whether or not the board can legitimately fire an employee for engaging in First Amendment-protected speech privately. I hope Tiffany Riley cleans them out.)
Again: the Left in this country is doing a hell of a job stoking racial hatred and paranoia. Persecutorial public officials like Libby Schaaf (white), Amanda Smith (white), and David Baker (white), are adding fuel to the fire. Where do they think this is going to end? One more excerpt from Tucker Carlson’s monologue:
We now accept the claim that some people deserve better treatment based on how they were born, and some deserve worse. This is the most poisonous and destructive of all ideas. Other nations understand that. Rwanda has made it a crime to make ethnic appeals during elections. They know well where that leads. Yet identity politics is accelerating here. It shouldn’t surprise you that most of the people pushing this poison are benefiting from it. They’re using the recent chaos to codify dangerous trends already in progress: a permanently unequal society, where some citizens are elevated and others are crushed — winners and losers preordained by law.
At the time time — and this is always the tell — they lecture you with maximum self-righteousness about how they’re doing precisely the opposite.
… A couple of weeks ago, Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky announced plans to bring universal health insurance to the state. But not for all citizens. Just for people with the right skin color. Everyone would pay, but only certain ethnic groups would benefit. Andy Beshear is still in office. No one has tried to impeach him for suggesting it. Ideas like this are everywhere now. They’re totally unchallenged.
This is the most divisive possible way to run a country. If you want to make certain your children hate each other, hold them to different standards. They will. There’s a reason racial tension is rising in the country. It’s by design.