An employee of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia allegedly threatened a Black colleague by leaving a noose on their seat.
According to the New York Times, this white male coin maker walked across the factory floor to the workstation of an African-American colleague with a rope used to seal bags of coins. But that wasn’t the intended purpose for the rope—he allegedly tied it into a noose in order to intimidate and make a point.
Thankfully, the incident was caught on security cameras.
Rhonda Sapp, president of the Mint workers’ union, told the Times that she was bombarded with phone calls and texts from employees who were horrified by the incident. The perpetrator, whose name has not been released to the media, was placed on administrative leave. It’s unknown if that leave is paid.
While U.S. Mint officials haven’t said much publicly about the incident, they did release a statement, says CBS Philadelphia.
“We have absolutely zero tolerance for the kind of misconduct reported at the Mint. [Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] has directed that this matter be handled swiftly and seriously. The investigation is moving ahead quickly. We strive every day for a workplace environment that is welcoming and safe for all.”
However, Ms. Sapp isn’t as optimistic about the Treasury’s ability to create a fair working environment She told the Times that department officials have not done enough to address racial tensions at their factories.
“They sweep a lot under the rug,” she admitted.
As we many of us know, the noose is a powerful symbol of oppression, hatred and this nation’s sick history of lynching African-Americans. Despite it being 2017, this recent noose incident is part of a disturbing trend in our country.
Recently there have been nooses hung by the National African-American Museum, a tree in a Maryland housing complex, on the campus of American University and at a Raleigh, NC high school–and those are just a few examples.
But this is what Trump’s America now looks like.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has documented 1,863 episodes of bias since the day after the presidential election; of those, 292, or nearly 16 percent, were aimed at Black people.