Hate Crime: Students Outraged by Paper Lantern “Nooses” in Trees

Students at the University of Delaware noticed things hanging from some trees on campus that looked vaguely like nooses. Immediately, the sightings were assumed to be some sort of student prank and deemed a “hate crime.”

Upon investigation, the police found that they were nothing more than remnants of lanterns that had been used back in June at a school event. The lantern parts were taken down, leaving the wires and strings in the shape of a noose. They didn’t actually look like nooses, but it was too late. Students had already made up their minds. School officials had already condemned it as a hate crime.

Less than 24 hours after the racist “prank” was sighted and reported, hundreds of students, faculty and officials gathered around the trees where the “nooses” hung to talk about the incident and how to “change the campus climate.” They shared personal stories of how they were discriminated against on campus. This incident proved to them that they were still far away from achieving racial equality.

Never mind the fact that they weren’t nooses. It wasn’t a prank. They were lanterns, parts of which had been left there in the trees since Alumni Week in June. Nevertheless, as the Daily Caller reported:

“I shouldn’t feel unsafe walking past a building where there were supposedly nooses hanging down, but I do,” student Elexis Keels told The News Journal. “I don’t think it was paper lanterns.” According to The News Journal, “many” students agree with Keels, and say the completely innocuous wire objects revealed a huge problem.

As a result, school officials say the hate crime (which, again, did not happen) is spurring them to action.

“We are bigger than hate,” said UD vice provost for diversity Carol Henderson, whose claim seems self-evident given the lack of any hate crimes at Delaware. “We hear you. We see you … We need to walk arm in arm with them and say ‘I am concerned because you are concerned.’”

As a result, Henderson said, the college is planning to launch a new “diversity action plan” as soon as it’s approved by school officials.

Did I mention that they were remnants of paper lanterns and not nooses? Nothing happened. It doesn’t matter. They’re going to believe what they want to believe. They want to believe that they were actually nooses, and that whatever white person put them up intended them to be nooses in order to offend black people.