Rainn Wilson is speaking out against hate crimes and racism after he says one of his close friends found a noose hanging from a tree on his front lawn that was fashioned out of a plastic tie wrap.
Wilson says his friend, Jamey, sent a photo of the disturbing scene over to The Office star, who subsequently shared the image to his Instagram followers on Tuesday with a lengthy message.
Nooses are commonly associated with the history of slavery and lynching in the U.S.
In the post, Wilson, 53, revealed that Jamey and his sister Yolanda are African-American.
“Looks pretty innocent at first, right? But when you learn that… the photo turns instantly chilling,” he wrote, adding that it was an act of “racial hatred.”
Jamey and Yolanda are siblings who live together in suburban Los Angeles, Calif., and according to Wilson, Yolanda’s 17-year-old daughter was the first to discover the makeshift noose.
“Now niece gets to be reminded of what hate looks like,” wrote Wilson. “Right in her own front yard in suburban L.A.”
The star added that the local authorities didn’t seem too bothered by the incident.
“When the police were called, they said, essentially, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Yolanda lost it,” Wilson wrote.
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So my friend Jamey texted me this photo. Looks pretty innocent at first, right? But when you learn that he and his sister are African American, the photo turns instantly chilling. This was hung in a tree in her front yard in suburban Los Angeles, to be found by her seventeen year-old daughter. When the police were called they said, essentially, “what’s the big deal?” Yolanda lost it. What’s the big deal? Well, officer, the noose is the symbol of lynching which was used to hang thousands of African Americans, especially by the Klan. Granted, this is a pretty lame noose. Might have been made by some local kids or something. Who knows. But the fact is it is as strong a symbol of racial hatred, violence and oppression as a Swastika. Many folks are in denial about the extent to which racism exists in our country in 2019. Just ask a Black Person. They will tell you stories. Jamey told me today that last year, while playing golf, he was looking for his ball in the brush and a white guy who wanted to play through called out “Hey, you can hurry up, we don’t have you picking cotton anymore!” Not sure if he was trying to be funny or not but literally Jamey’s great grandfather was an ACTUAL SLAVE on a plantation and was regularly beaten there. That’s not that long ago. Great grandfather. And, perhaps, a relative or two of Jamey’s were lynched. Or saw a lynching. Or heard of a lynching. And now, his niece gets to be reminded of what hate looks like. Right in her own front yard in suburban LA.
“Well, officer, the noose is the symbol of lynching, which was used to hang thousands of African Americans, especially by the Klan,” Wilson continued.
The actor, best known for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute on The Office, went on to say that while the U.S.’s racism issues have improved over the last century, there’s still much improvement to be made.
“Granted, this is a pretty lame noose. might have been made by some local kids or something. Who knows,” he wrote. “The fact is, it’s as strong a symbol of racial hatred, violence and oppression as a Swastika.
“Many folks are in denial about the extent to which racism exists in our country in 2019,” he continued. “Just ask a Black Person. They will tell you stories.”
The actor added: “Jamey told me that last year, while playing golf, he was looking for his ball in the bush and a white guy who wanted to play through called out ‘Hey, can you hurry up? We don’t have you picking cotton anymore!'”
Wilson went on to say Jamey’s own great grandfather was a slave who worked on a cotton plantation and was “regularly beaten there.”
In response, Wilson’s photo went viral. He has since been praised widely for efficiently utilizing his platform and large social media following to share an important lesson in history while fighting against racism.
Here’s what some of his followers had to say:
For everyone who believes racism doesn't exist in our country in 2019 (or believes that there are "very fine people" on both sides. If we're not all equal then none of us is equal.#racism https://t.co/gfv30WAX1I
— Kevin Michaels (@KMWriter01) June 5, 2019
Rainn Wilson’s Instagram post about racism makes me appreciate him more.
— brit10knee (@Yenettirb) June 4, 2019
Hats off to Rainn Wilson for comments regarding racism in America..Sadly, many of my acquaintances are racist. They do not do it consciously, I think it’s how they’re raised and with whom they associate. Visit Canada and you’ll have your eyes opened. Embrace diversity.
— Chevalier sin nombre (@ChevalierSin) June 5, 2019
What in the hell is wrong with people?!!!?!!!! I don’t think this will ever change in my lifetime and that makes me physically ill. #Repost @rainnwilson with get_repost
So my friend Jamey texted me… https://t.co/PaxEaJEaac
— Ruth (@ruthse57) June 4, 2019
“Thanks for using your platform to express this, Rainn,” wrote one user on Instagram.
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