Photo Sparks Conversation On Race

On Saturday, Feb. 9, students began to circulate a photograph that depicted an unidentified male student with a rope draped across his back and shoulder, which many students interpreted to be a noose.

The photo, which was taken at the Subway on campus, was originally uploaded to the Snapchat story of an account with the screen name “Becca” at approximately 3 a.m. on Feb. 9. Screenshots of the Snapchat quickly circulated among students. It remains unclear who the person who originally uploaded the photo is.

As some interpreted the rope to be a symbol of historical racist violence, a Bias Incident Report (BIR) was subsequently filed. The official Bias Incident group concluded that the incident was a misunderstanding.

“The student in question was impersonating a cowboy by wearing a Western-style shirt with part of an American flag on it and a lasso across his chest and shoulder,” said José Villalba, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer, in an email to the Old Gold & Black

However, sophomores Miles Middleton and Fadi Narouz, among others, said they understood the photo to be an individual wearing a noose around his neck. Middleton, who saw a screenshot of “Becca’s” photo on another student’s Snapchat story, shared the image with the Old Gold & Black.

The caption on the photo read: “Lmao whoever this dude is or if I find out who are ! I will strangle you with that f**king noose you piece of sh*t!! People at Wake bro, y’all playing with life fr.”

Narouz and Middleton, who are both Student Government senators, said they decided to discuss the photo with their colleagues during the weekly Student Government General Assembly on Feb. 12. In this session, senators also discussed a variety of contemporary racial issues that have been occuring on campus; the conversation included issues centered around students of color being denied entry from Greek Life parties, Caucasian students behaving rudely to employees of color, students of color being sent racist material from other students while in class, students of color being scared to enter certain spaces on campus and students of color being the only people of color on their halls or having their roommates request to switch.

According to Villalba, the incident was submitted through the Bias Incident Reporting system and an investigation of available evidence followed. The BIR group examined the images submitted with the original report and additional images received by “people directly involved.” Villalba also specified that the photos “offered multiple views, angles and perspectives.”

“The BIR Group takes all reports of racial harassment and discrimination very, very seriously and where appropriate, refers matters to systems of accountability for disciplinary action,” said Villalba.

However, Villalba was unable to provide any additional or more specific information due to the confidential nature of the Bias Incident Reporting system.

Although the Bias Report produced a response highlighting that the incident was a misunderstanding, both Narouz and Middleton expressed reservations about the conclusion achieved.

“From my initial look at the photo, it looks like a noose, and I think when you see the picture, it portrays the idea of being a noose,” said Middleton. “I will just say that at the end of the day, if they concluded that it wasn’t a noose, then I will take them on their word. But I will acknowledge I have my own set of opinions about how the campus should be dealing with these types of things in a deeper manner.” 

While the Old Gold & Black was able to confirm the conclusion of the BIR group’s review process, the content used to reach that decision was not made available.

Middleton commented that the private nature of the BIR system perpetuates an unproductive dialogue about race relations on campus.

“I will say that when there is photographic evidence for something, and students are curious about what that particular item is, there has to be some type of email that goes to students to let them know we are investigating this,” said Middleton. “So, while it might not be a noose to the administration, students are still going to question whether it was a noose because they don’t know that this investigation was going on and that they concluded their point on that basis [or] how. I just need to know how. That’s why I’m a little frustrated by how things were conducted, and I don’t like the secretive nature of how they conduct the [BIR review process].”

Narouz also commented on both the nature of discourse relating to race issues on campus and the productivity of the BIR in facilitating this dialogue.

“Every time it’s the same thing: [a race-related incident] is condemned, it’s shamed, it’s shunned and literally after everyone leaves, it’s back to the same old routine,” Narouz said. “Nothing changes, you know? And the fact that the Bias Report says, oh you know, ‘this wasn’t [a noose],’ like there’s no way of us knowing why, and that’s how it is. It sort of just puts you back in your place, like you can’t do much about anything wrong that happens here.”

Although the conclusion was released, Villalba said that the BIR group will still be in contact with those involved. 

“We are continuing to engage with all of the students involved, with the hopes of clarifying the experiences of each individual and providing ongoing support to them, as needed,” Villalba said.

After the Student Government General Assembly on Feb. 12, it was announced that Student Government, along with several academic and administrative offices, will be hosting a Community Forum focused on creating an “Inclusive Climate” on campus. The event, which spawned from both the discovery of images of blackface in the Howler and the dialogue opened about contemporary race-related issues on campus, will be held on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. in Benson 401.

  • Size of Rhode Island

    Mean spirited, self righteous, anti white racism is behind this hysteria. You kids are not ready for the real world. You’re ALL Jussie Smolletts now.

  • Maximus300

    Middleton, Narouz, Really? A rope around a shoulder and under one arm is considered a “noose”? Sorry, you are are just looking to be offended so you can exercise some perceived “power” that you think you have. Better evaluate you’re motivation for making an issue of this. Sure looks like the both of you are the fascists nazis that you likely claim to be against.

  • Kelly Jackson

    Miles Middleton and Fadi Narouz both bring shame to their grandparents that likely had to carry rope around like that and work with their hands just so these two loons could leave privileged lives of being offended by their own shadows.

  • Bob

    “…I find out who are ! I will strangle you with that f**king noose you piece of sh*t!!”

    Why is the person who made a direct threat to strangle another person not the focus of this story? Your priorities are backward.

    • 55_Angus

      Because angry leftists are allowed to threaten violence on college campuses.

    • bruceb64

      I guess “IF” you can even understand what they are trying to say. Besides…..IT is obvious they were “BLACK”!!! (i.e. The EMOJI!) and the language, Or should I say Lack of Language Used.

  • Hank Wordsworth

    It deeply pains me to see some students embrace suspect media conceits and the latest gambit by the Washington Post and New York Times to fan the flames of white genocide. Only one race in America
    has lost 30% of its demographic in two generations, an ongoing Dresden by other means IMHO. Yes, I’ve been the brunt of transactional put-downs from more whites (including smug frat bros) than blacks or Jews, but my considerations of vengeance would never include displacing them from their ancestral homeland, associations, and livelihoods, or alienating each successive generation from its bonds of heritage while insisting that this ever diminishing remnant perform ritual apologies for yet another largely false and contrived historical narrative ginned up by leftist academic elites working in concert with an alien press–the self-same press that just last month willingly offered up a smiling white student from a Catholic school as national face criminal for the retribution of its incited masses. Whites don’t belong in the same continent with such an institution let alone the same nation. The adversarial and schizophrenogenic juggernaut of these elites must be broken if whites are to survive as a people. The price of loyalty to the Union should not include an obligation to oblivion.

    • geokstr

      Actually, the black community has lost ⅔ of what would have been their demographic if the racist Democrats hadn’t destroyed their family cohesion with the “War on Poverty”. Then, once the black male had been made superfluous by welfare in all its hydra-headed forms, the promotion of abortion aimed mostly at the black community resulted in a huge loss of progeny for the 2½ generations since Roe v Wade.

      And yet still they’re a reliable, monolithic voting bloc for their destructors.

  • C Erickson

    These people need some serious help.

  • The Masked Avatar

    I hope these student never see a rodeo or a western movie. They’re going to have a heart-attack.

    • Henry Koontz

      Imagine if they saw Blazing Saddles. LOL

      • Ddenney1

        LOL!!!!!!!!! They wouldn’t get it!!

  • Howy

    “The student in question was impersonating a cowboy …” Got to be the worst cowboy impersonation, EVAH! John Wayne would be turning in his grave. Wait. What? He already is for another reason? OK Roy Rogers then, until they can locate a 50 year old inappropriate quote from him, I guess.

    • Gaspipe Casso

      Roy Rogers was white so that means he’s evil and his entire family should be executed. – Modern Day College Student

  • Mnemos

    What is the average IQ at Wake Forest? Obviously our education system has been completely dumbed down …. let’s go back to the old meritocracy concept.

    • Ddenney1

      How the EDUCATION system “works” today!!

      An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had
      never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire
      class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no
      one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

      The
      professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on
      Obama’s plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the
      same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A….
      (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more
      readily understood by all).

      After
      the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The
      students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little
      were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied
      little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they
      wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

      The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

      When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

      As
      the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and
      name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for
      the benefit of anyone else.

      To
      their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that
      socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great,
      the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward
      away, no one will try or want to succeed.
      It could not be any simpler than that.

      There are five morals to this story:

      1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

      2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

      3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

      4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

      5.
      When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work
      because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other
      half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else
      is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of
      any natio

  • Woodman

    So the possibility that the kid likes westerns and cowboys is off the table because loony leftists would rather curse and unfairly condemn than think clearly. Earth to mars pandemic racism only exists in the imaginations of people who hate freedom and are strangers to the truth.

  • GlobalTrvlr

    Are you people insane? ““The student in question was impersonating a cowboy by wearing a Western-style shirt with part of an American flag on it and a lasso across his chest and shoulder,” said José Villalba, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer, in an email to the Old Gold & Black. ”

    How in the world is this guy impersonating a cowboy? Do you ever get out of your liberal hole? He is wearing what you would typically see on a construction site – work boots and long socks, cutoff painter shorts and a cut off t-shirt. And carrying around some coiled rope, which is also common on construction sites. You would never see a cowboy or rancher dressed like this, and that shirt is not a “western” shirt. It is not a noose, and it is not a lariat (not even the right type of rope for it).

  • Joe Schmoe

    These people need to return to grammar school and get a real education

  • Henry Koontz

    You’d have to be pretty stupid to look at that and think it’s racist. It’s just a guy with rope. Even if it was a noose, that’s not racist. Nooses have been used since the Middle Ages in Europe to hang people.

  • Gaspipe Casso

    You people are effing insane. I will never hire anyone from your generation.

  • Ddenney1

    Gee that THREAT TRIGGERED ME!!! I FEEL I must have a COMPLETE apology and MAYBE reparations because being a NATIVE TEXAN it OFFENDS me greatly they ATTACKED my HERITAGE!!! Maybe I should start a CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT against the GROUP of MORONS!!!

  • Norman Fox

    I being a bonified Florida Cracker Cowboy using a whip as well as a lasso cannot believe the stupid of these morons. It is impossible compare a noose on a larriot to be proper verses and a. Hangman’s noose looks nothing even close to what is said here.

  • SDkid605

    What a stupid “college”