In an ignorant display of passive aggressiveness combined with racism, a United States Mint Philadelphia employee came up with the terrible idea to leave a noose at the work station of his black colleague.
According to The Root, the unnamed white male coin maker was caught on surveillance footage strolling across the factory with the makeshift noose in hand. He reportedly created the loop with rope used to seal coin bags when they are full.
After black employees reported the incident to the union president, the U.S. Treasury Department’s inspector general launched an internal investigation. The alleged culprit has since been placed on leave.
“We have absolutely zero tolerance for this kind of misconduct reported at the Mint. Secretary 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,” Mint officials said in an official statement.
The national union, however, has remained mostly silent on the situation, releasing a brief statement maintaining that they are “distressed at the nature of this incident and anxiously await the agency’s findings on the matter,” according to CBS News.
In case the historical context isn’t clear, a noose is well-known as a symbol of racism as it was — and still is — used to lynch African-Americans, particularly during slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow era. These inhumane murders were even often held in front of audiences, as a public spectacle.
The Mint employee who left the rope at his black co-worker’s desk undoubtedly knew the racist implications behind his actions and deliberately set out to send this abhorrent message.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Flickr, Lars Roll