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Strange Fruit 2007

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
-Billie Holiday, "Strange Fruit"

At the University of Maryland, a noose was found hanging from a tree outside of the campus's cultural center for black students this past Friday. Understandably and rightfully, campus officials are investigating the matter, nothing less than a blatant and frightening hate crime... recalling centuries of undying racism against African American communities and the innumerable bodies found hanging from these very nooses throughout U.S. history, strange fruit, the victims of scum.

What's even worse--this happened already this year, in the town of Jena, Louisiana, where at a local high school multiple nooses were found hanging from the "white" tree and black students are being charged with aggravated assault, for physically protesting this appalling display. That the judicial system would indict these minors in the wake of such glaring symbols of white supremacy, makes it all too clear where the priorities lie for those in power.

We see it time and time again--police unloading dozens of bullets into the body of an unarmed black man. Katrina refugees, two years after being displaced with minimal government aid, still struggling to return home. The Supreme Court essentially reversing Brown vs. Board of Education and nulling racial integration in public schools. If we're to believe this fallacious idea that racism is somehow dead, then we close our eyes to the damage done all around us.

Asian American or not, activist or simply someone with a conscience, it affects us all. As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." We'd be best to remember that.



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