Examining an incident in which a trio of white teens allegedly put a noose around the neck of a black teen who was sending texts and Facebook messages to the female cousin of one of the attackers, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell comes to the unsurprising conclusion that America has a long way to go in race relations.
… I wish the accusations against Matthew Herrmann, an 18-year-old at Brother Rice High School, and two other white teens were something my grandson read about in a history book rather than in a newspaper.
The trio is accused of putting a noose around Joshua Merritt’s neck because the black teen was sending texts and Facebook messages to the female cousin of one of the attackers.
Herrmann has been charged as an adult with battery, unlawful restraint and a hate crime. The two other teens are being charged as juveniles.
According to Merritt, he was invited to meet up with Herrmann and his friends at the Beverly home of a Cook County state’s attorney’s employee where the attack allegedly took place.
Apparently, once Merritt got comfortable, his attackers pulled out the noose and put it around his neck. When Merritt tried to flee, his attackers allegedly blocked his way. After Merritt managed to get away, a 16-year-old accused in this incident followed him to the bus stop and threatened him with a knife. Merritt said he was told to “stop talking” to the boy’s cousin.
Because Merritt was not beaten, the tendency will be to dismiss this despicable incident as a tasteless prank.
But black people do not play with nooses.
The noose is a symbol of racial hatred and intimidation and hearkens back to a time when black men were hanged from trees just for looking at a white woman.
Read Mary Mitchell's entire column at the Chicago Sun-Times.