My Thoughts on the Eve of the Jena 6 Rally

It is the night before the rally; and I am ready.  I am angry and optimistic at the same time.  I am angry because it is 2007 and this country still doesn’t get it.  And I am optimistic because this is the first time in a long time black people in large numbers are supporting this effort.  I will be attending the rally here in D.C. on the National Mall tomorrow.  My prayers go out to all of those on the road traveling to Jena.


15 Responses

  1. Indeed the march does go on, and those of us not in Jena itself are wearin’ Black and wearin’ it proud. Wonderful day for us, something that we’ve been needing for quite a while.

    The white racists are quaking in their boots b/c they know that African-Americans, Muslims and other people of color will soon be the majority in Michigan and in Deep South states such as Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. And it burns them up.

    Already, we’re seeing more and more African-Americans and Muslims (most of us Muslims here also African-American) leave states where we’re dispersed and powerless– states like Wisconsin, West Virginia (we *know* what happens to us in West Virginia as those white thugs recently showed), Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Iowa, Delaware and California where we’re badly outnumbered and too weak– to move to Michigan, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and some parts of Illinois, where we have a strong historical presence and enough of a demographic status to become the majority within a decade.

    Dispersion is the enemy, and so long as we stay dispersed, we’ll continue to be pushed around. There’s strength in numbers, and concentrating ourselves in these states, our historical core, is the key to gaining a majority and resulting political control. And when we have political control there, we’ll no longer have to put up with being treated like dirt, humiliated, being second-class citizens in states where we’ve lived for so many centuries. We’ll be able to stand up and tell the white racists that they don’t own us, support our own businesses and finally earn for ourselves the respect we have long deserved. I’m proud that the African-Americans of Louisiana and throughout the nation are converging to help the Jena Six like this, we need to see more of this solidarity.

  2. Do you believe that the charges should be completely dropped. Although I agree that the Department of Justice should get involved because of the unfair treatment. However, a lot of people are focused on the emotional issues (i.e., racism, the past, Jim Crow laws, etc.) but are not thinking about the precedent that would be set if the charges are dropped. Such a precedent would allow [ethnic group] kids to escape from prosecution today for bad acts that were indirectly related to being harassed/disrespected/taunted by [insert adverse ethnic group] kids on a previous date. Such a precedent would appear to be neither fair nor civilized.

  3. Afripino:

    All of the adult charges should be dropped against all 6 students. I am not condoning fighting; Bell and those involved in the fight should have been suspended not charged with an array of felony charges including 2 degree murder.

    You talk about setting a precedent; can you imagine what precendent will be set if they are charged and convicted with these felonies as an adult for a school fight? And what about the nooses that were hung and all of the other racial tensions in that community. That is what led up to the fight; even if the DA doesn’t believe that the fight was related to the noose hanging.

    People are acting as if these young black boys just came to school one day and picked a fight with the first white person they saw.

    I also think that racism, the past, Jim Crow laws as you stated are more than just “emotional issues” it was and is systemic institutional racism. And this case is very reminiscent of the ways of Jim Crow.

    I find it interesting that we talk about racism and discrimination as if the thing of the past. This case is about equal protection under the law; if they charge the 6 black students (which the should not have), then the white students who hung the nooses should also be charged with a hate crime.

    There are high school fights that take place in schools across the country and I have never heard of any student being charged with 2 degree murder for a school brawl. Equal protection under the law. That’s what we want in this case.

  4. Two minor things:
    1. The kid who was jumped didn’t have anything to do with those nooses.
    2. That wasn’t a school fight or brawl, that was a racially-motivated lynching.

    I agree with the fact that it didn’t happen out of nowhere though. The kids who hung up the nooses only got 3 days suspension, when they should’ve been expelled like the principal requested of the superintendent. I also agree that the charges they initially got were ridiculous and the issue could’ve been solved with non-judicial punishment.

    Thing is, if the white kid presses charges, it’s going to court whether the school or the community wants it or not. Same as if the families of those black kids pressed charges against either individuals or the school for the nooses and for fostering that disgusting racist atmosphere.

  5. DCMatt: Even if the kid who was jumped had nothing to do with hanging the nooses; Bell still should not have been prosecuted as an adult.

    Please clarify your point #2. Are you saying that the fight that Bell was involved in was a racially motivated lynching? The fight started because of the ongoing racial tension and the hanging of the nooses. You are way off on that point

  6. I agree with you entirely. Bell should not have been prosecuted as an adult. Shouldn’t have had to appeal anything. Should, however, have been prosecuted.

    My point #2 is exactly what you said: “Are you saying that the fight that Bell was involved in was a racially motivated lynching? The fight started because of the ongoing racial tension and the hanging of the nooses.” It was six people of one race beating the hell out one person of another race because of race.

    And really, I’m not trying to make any grand point here. I just don’t understand the dynamics of this. All I see is some redneck white kid got the crap kicked out of him by six people at once, and all I’m hearing on the news is “free the Jena 6”.

  7. Uniquealias:

    I am glad that you have responded. It proves tha twe can have a discussion even if we may disagree on certain things without being rude . There are a lot of facts about this case that main stream media has not reported on yet because they came late to the game on this story.

    I think Bell should have been charged as a juv. and then also take into consideration about the racial tension at the school that officials did not properly handle. I am not calling him a redneck. It is alleged that before the fight began he kept calling the students racial names. I am in no way condoning violence to solve problems; but I think the students there hit their boiling points and it all came out.

    I am only asking that those 6 boys get equal protection under the law. If the white students who hung the nooses and called the black students racial names were only suspended, then Bell should only had been suspended as well.

    All of those kids black and white, need counseling. That town needs to be healed. I think the biggest problem is that some white people (not all) think that just because we are integrated, that we are all looked at and judged the same by our judcial system, which is not the case.

    Another huge problem is that some people don’t understand the severity of how nooses were used to lynch black people. It may not have happened to us, but it happened to our ancestors. The noose is just as racially offensive as a swastika is to Jewish people. This problem in Jena is deeper then the fight that took place.

  8. The white students who hung the nooses should’ve been charged with ethnic intimidation, in addition to the suspension. If that had happened, maybe the situation wouldn’t have escalated to where the other white student was jumped on. I do agree that the black students who participated in the fight should’ve received suspension, and not adult criminal charges.

    As for the students at the school, they need some serious education the history of lynching. I saw pictures from the “Without Sancuatry” exhibit on lynching, and it was sickening. White people used to gather at these lynchings like it was some kind of picnic. They would smile and send postcards as little souveniers. People don’t treat their dogs this way, yet they do human beings. How can we in the United States hold ourselves up as better than terrorists like Al Queda and Osama when we have this kind of evil in our history?

  9. Ari:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It is much deeper then just a school fight. And you are right; this country has a rich history of terrorism; and the main evil-doers was the Ku klux Klan

  10. “If the white students who hung the nooses and called the black students racial names were only suspended, then Bell should only had been suspended as well.” Native Son

    I respectfully disagree. First, the noose incident and the beatdown occurred on two separate occasions more than a month apart. Second, the noose and the use of racial slurs involved forms of communications (negative, racist communications). In contrast, the assault was a violent, clearly criminal, act. Under the U.S. legal system–whether you argue that it is biased against blacks or not–each incident was a separate, distinct incident. Third, there is a reasonable argument that the time lag between the noose incident and the assault weakens the argument that the two are inextricably linked. I agree that an assault that immediately resulted in an altercation would be inextricably linked and thus elements of one incident. However, the two month timeframe between the incidents provides justification for them to be seen as two separate incidents.

    Lastly, I look forward to the day when our community gets so upset about black on black crime via violence in the streets and denigrating lyrics in hip-hop music that we march en masse and show that we are united against any act that undermines our credibility and unity as a community.

  11. Afripino: We will have to agree to disagree. I think people fail to realize that there was building racial tension that whole year.

    People in this country really tend to underestimate, undervalue and marginalize the history and struggle of black people in this country. The noose is a symbol of hate terrorism for black people in this country. I do understand that the 2 incidents were a month apart.

    As a 31 year old socially responsible black man, I don’t know how I would react if I found 3 nooses hanging in front of my job, or my house or at the University I attended. Even if a few months had passed. The white student obviously did or said something to trigger the argument which then lead to the attack and all of that needs to be taken into consideration. I am not saying that they don’t need to be punished, but not as adults.

    If the school system, parents and authorities would have addressed the noose issues appropriately when it happened; this whole attack might have never happened.

    But until this country stops Underestimating, Undervaluing and Marginalizing the history of black people by passing off serious racist acts such as hanging nooses as juvenile pranks, our youth and our country will always be divided by the color line.

    And the black community, those of us who are socially conscience have always protested negative rap lyrics. And recently more people are speaking against negative images and lyrics in Hip-Hop. More people are also taking action and main strema media is finally reporting on it. there has always been objection about this in the black community, but main stream media ignored people who spoke out against this type of music while the masses (black and white) kept defending behind free speech.

  12. “The white students who hung the nooses should’ve been charged with ethnic intimidation, in addition to the suspension.”

    “Ethnic intimidation” – has anyone confirmed whether that is an actual criminal violation in Louisiana? Although I embrace the concerns about the evils that are represented by the nooses, as a practicing attorney, I’m amazed at how everyone has jumped to conclusions about whether the actual hanging of a noose is a state or federal crime in Louisiana. As of this post, I’ve not seen anyone cite anything under Jena, Louisiana, or federal law that indicates that the kids that placed the nooses violated a criminal statute.

    I’m not saying anyone is wrong here for being angry about what happened, all I’m asking is that someone explain to me which law was violated when the kids placed the nooses on the tree.

  13. Afripino: I know you are approaching this from a legal standpoint, and I appreciate that. What I am saying is because an act may not be crime in the books, still doesn’t mean that it is right. This only means that lawmakers need to do a better job in defing the hate crime laws.

  14. Thanks for helping me understand the purpose behind the protests – – the news hasn’t done a good job illustrating why “these kids who ganged up on some other kid” were being protested for.

    I don’t know that “ethnic intimidation” is a crime, but if it could be reasonably interpreted (which I think it could) as a “death threat”, I think that’s a crime. Perhaps that’s what’s been missing from the dialog that we’ve seen on the news and even on blogs and stuff.

    White kids made death threats toward black kids while invoking the memories of some really insane acts by white people in the relatively recent history. Almost as if to say “we can and will do ‘this,’ so watch it”. Pretty f*cked up. Their punishment, though, was only a couple of days of in school suspension.

    A group of black kids hit a breaking point with the threats and insults and lost their cool and beat the stink out of someone. Their punishment (initially) was to be tried for murder as adults.

    It is not just each event individually but also the contrast between the treatment of the two groups (especially when it could be argued that the white kids started it) that has drawn so much attention, and how it is being used to highlight the remaining existence of disparity in the system.

    I didn’t understand any of that before, so again, thank you for broadening my perspective.

  15. The reason why crime in the country is rampant is cases like this. The kid had previous convictions and now he beat the hell out of another kid. If this was Singapore the Jenna 6 would be tortured and released. They would never commit another crime again. But we live in the USA they would prob get parole and keep commiting crimes for the next 50 years of their lives. A crriminal is a criminal. Our country is too soft on the criminals. In arabia there is no crime why because if you steal they cut off your hands. The USA is friggin candyland compared to the rest of the world. Our legal system is a joke and way to soft. And people complain about hardships in this country, growing up in the ghettos and what not. Are you serious this is the only country on the planet where you can grow up and live in abject poverty and still be succesful. Growing up in a inner city ghetto in the USA is a joke. Try growing up in slum in Rio de Janiero or Mogadishi. No running water, no food, rampant disease, landmines, rpg attacks, mudslides. Hell on earth. African Americans have to stop complaining about stuff and realize they have all the resources to make it on their own. All they do is whine and complain constantly. Get some perspective the world doesn’t revolve around you

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