While some might be compelled to ask where was disgraced actor Jussie Smollett this week, the sudden appearance of a noose at the Obama Presidential Center construction site proved to be an opportunity to get the day off — almost certainly with pay!
Lakeside Alliance, a partnership of Black-owned construction firms building the center on Chicago’s South Side, which is not exactly the heart of white supremacy in America, responded to the discovery of a noose to call it an “act of hate,” and suspended construction at the site, according to NBC News.
“We are horrified that this would occur on our site,” Lakeside Alliance said in a statement.
“We have zero tolerance for any form of bias or hate on our worksite. Anti-bias training is included in our onboarding process and reiterated during site-wide meetings,” the group said in the release. “We are suspending all operations onsite in order to provide another series of these trainings and conversations for all staff and workers.”
There was no context offered in the reporting on the incident, other than a noose was “found hanging,” as ABC7 Chicago stated — there was nothing about whether there was a note or any kind of message accompanying the noose.
This matters, of course, as NASCAR taught the nation in 2020 when a “noose” was found hanging in a Talladega garage stall being utilized by the sport’s lone black driver, Bubba Wallace.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps, eager to shed the sport’s “southern redneck” perception, jumped to conclusions and declared that “there is no place for racism in NASCAR.”
“This is a difficult time for our sport but we are going to react swiftly and again we’re going to use all the means, resources at our disposal and of those of the FBI to make sure this person or persons are caught and dealt with swiftly and severely,” Phelps told reporters at the time.
After contacting the FBI, the bureau sent 15 AGENTS to Alabama to investigate the incident, only to discover that it wasn’t a noose at all but a garage door pull handle that had been there since at least 2019 — Wallace was assigned the garage stall one week before the 2020 race.
So the Bubba Wallace noose was NOT a noose, but a garage door pull handle that has been there for a long time.
Bad look for the @BubbaWallace team for sure. pic.twitter.com/vevcOXEnFX
— George Aston (@GeorgeAston11) June 23, 2020
The national media jumped on the story after Phelps falsely assigned racism as the motive, resulting the iconic incident seen below where an entire sport succumbed to white guilt over trumped up racism charges — as embarrassing as it would prove to be after the FBI findings. At the same time, NASCAR patted itself on the back for how inclusive the sport is by allowing Wallace to splatter a “Black Lives Matter” banner on his race car.
Memorable Moments of the 2020 NASCAR Season.
No. 2: The day after a noose was found in his Talladega garage stall, drivers pushed Bubba Wallace’s car to the front of the grid in an emotional scene. The FBI determined the noose had been there since October. pic.twitter.com/XyL2v8HNvL
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) December 20, 2020
As for this week’s incident, the Obama Foundation appeared to follow the same script in a statement to NBC 5 Chicago.
“This shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us. Our priority is protecting the health and safety of our workforce. We have notified authorities who are investigating the incident,” the foundation said.
The incident took place on the South Side of Chicago, just a few miles south of where Smollett claimed he was attacked by two Nigerian men who later said the actor paid them to stage the assault. Smollett said he was on his way to a Subway restaurant to get a sandwich at 2 o’clock on the morning when his assailants jumped him while shouting, “This is MAGA country!”
For what it’s worth, there is a Subway located just three blocks from the Obama Presidential Center, where the official groundbreaking took place in September with a 2025 opening planned.
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