It’s disturbing that nooses, which are a well-known symbol of racial terrorism and violence in America, continue to be leveraged to terrorize Black people today.
On Jan. 26, a sailor aboard the USS Lake Champlain in San Diego was the latest Black person to encounter a noose at his place of work—the U.S. Navy.
According to a report by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the unnamed sailor found a noose in his sleeping area on the guided-missile cruiser last week. Subsequent investigations reportedly identified another sailor as the culprit, who then claimed he put the noose on his Black shipmate’s bunk as a “joke.”
Somehow I doubt the intention was to make the Black sailor laugh.
From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
The ship’s leadership was investigating the incident when the Navy Criminal Investigative Service received an anonymous tip and began its own investigation, the official said.
NCIS agents interviewed several crew members over the weekend which led to a suspect. The suspect, an unidentified sailor, admitted to investigators to leaving the noose on the sailor’s rack as a joke, the Navy official said.
A planned underway period for the Lake Champlain was delayed several days for the investigation. There were no charges filed as of Tuesday.
A Navy spokesperson would only confirm that “an object resembling a noose” was found aboard the USS Lake Champlain and that the NCIS is investigating the incident.
“The Navy takes all allegations of Sailor misconduct and racial discrimination seriously. Due to the ongoing investigation, we will not provide further comment,” said Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Navy released a suite of recommendations aimed at improving diversity in its ranks, reports the Navy Times.
The recommendations include: broadening the Navy’s pool of recruits by reducing reliance on standardized tests for admission, evaluating promotion structures for bias, adding “respect” to the Navy’s core values, and installing a women’s policy advisor.
The proposed initiatives, 57 in total, came out of a task force created by the Navy last year to address systemic racism in its service amid 2020’s national protests. The task force conducted surveys and listening sessions with active-duty and reserve sailors to help arrive at its recommendations.
“Our Navy must continue to remove barriers to service, and most importantly, be a shining example of a workforce centered on respect, inclusive of all,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, of the task force’s report. “Simply put, all Sailors—uniformed and civilian—and applicants for accession to the Navy must be treated with dignity and respect above all else.”
At the very least, that should mean no nooses in the workplace.