What Happens in Jena, Stays in Jena (Not!)

I wanted to put in my two cents about the Jena 6.

I have been following the case of the Jena 6 for several months. Tonight, CNN will be airing a special about the Jena 6, the town of Jena, and it’s people.

From what I have read and heard, the majority of people in Jena do not believe race is problem or issue in their town. However, the majority of people in Jena happen to be Caucasian. Ask anyone who is African American in Jena, La. and they will tell you “yeah, race is problem. Race is an issue.” Not that the Caucasian sentiment that racism is in the past is all that surprising. It something most white folks block from their vision.

The fact of the matter is, the situation in Jena would not have gotten to where it is now if the community addressed the nooses in the tree directly. They could have held an assembly and town hall meeting to discuss the ugliness those nooses represented. The parents of the boys who hung the nooses could have spoken with the students about how they have brought shame to this small town and had them issues apologies. What happens instead? The nooses are brushed off as a joke. The black kids do a sit in protest around the tree. The DA holds an assembly with the protesting students and says, “See this pen in my hand? I can end your lives with the stroke of a pen.” Some white kids beat up a black student and no charges are filed (or none that I have heard). A white kids pulls a shotgun out on some black students at a mini mart. The black kids disarm the white student and run, the black kids are charged with theft. And then a group of black kids beat up a white student and it is attempted murder??? When the white student was well enough to go to some school shindig??? Seriously..

The DA said that people are forgetting about the innocent victim in all this and the harm done to him. Everytime I hear “Jena 6” I think about that boy the beat up. But you see, we are not arguing whether or not a fight took place. We are arguing do the charges and punishment fit the crime.

“It is the outsiders bringing this here.”

This is statement I heard time and again from the white residents of Jena. Here is a newsflash for those folks: Outsiders did not hang nooses in the courtyard. Outsiders did not ignore the crimes of one set of people only to over charge another group of people. YOUR community did this. YOUR complacency in the matter did this. To be fair, there were those who did try to do the right thing, but when your own DA has his own agenda, well that is when the “outsiders” come in.

Here are some wonderful links about this case:



Washington Post


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Gerald White said,

    Why did those kids hang nooses in a tree? That seems to be the whole start of this mess. What made those kids think it would be funny to hang nooses in a tree to represent a lynching tree? There was something that made them do that and then this whole damned thing escalated into a media-hyped mess. The reality is the failures in the legal system are no longer just a black/white issue. It’s a wealth/non-wealth issue. If you have the money to buy the influence then you need not fear legal reprisal. But keep listening to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and all you’ll continue to have is pissed off, poor, whites/blacks sniping at each other and their ‘elected’ officials instead of joining forces against the real oppressors. There will be no equality for anyone as long as we’re all willing to abrogate control of our own lives to those in ‘authority’.

  2. 2

    Chris Roach said,

    These guys are not innocent even under their supporters’ account. They were provoked by words and responded with a six on one beat down. These are not good people and they don’t belong on the street. The murder charges have been dropped, so this whole thing is moot.

    PS It’s still legal under the First Amendment to show nooses on a tree. It might mean you can get suspended from school–which the offenders were–but that’s it. Maybe you should read the Constitution sometime.

  3. 3

    paul said,

    maybe its about time that jena had a couple of buses filled with WHITE folk that have had it up to here with reverse discrimination,i dont know ,call me crazy,but 6 law abiding citizens attack 1 youth, and the black folk are up in arms.what ever happened to one on one ,you got a problem with me lets TALK it out.evidently the old saying seems to hold true,you can take the hood out of the ghetto but you cant take the ghetto out of the hood!

  4. 4

    no…the start of this mess is more likely when some black students had to ask permission to sit under a tree.

    I’m not condoning the outcome, but making an issue of these kids being punished instead of making an issue that the others were not drives me nuts.

  5. 5

    oneofthree said,

    I agree with Roach that the hanging of nooses, while horrifing, is protected speech. While I also agree that the upturned eyebrow at the charge of theft, I do not agree that the 6 kids who attacked the one should get off b/c the white kid was hurling racial remarks. That is not a legal defense to battery. Now – should the police have arrested them on attempted murder? no, but what the police charge someone with, is not what sticks. In fact, the prosecutor decided (and that’s what matters) to charge them with aggravated battery. Whether or not that sticks (as they are claiming a shoe is a deadly weapon, while it may be, I don’t see many juries buying that) is not the question in my mind. My question is why should these kids get off of battery simply b/c of racial slurs.
    Please understand I am not trying to deminish the pain and outrage that racial slurs cause, or that the reaction to the nooses was enough, I am saying that racial slurs is not a defense to the charge of battery. It should be used in sentenceing, not in the actual trial.
    Should the other white kids who beat up black students be charged? Absolutely. Should the black students have been charged with theft of the shotgun? No – not if the other wasn’t charged.
    The law is supposed to be color blind. That cuts both ways.

  6. 6

    Chris Roach said,

    Black people live in a world where if you are provoked with words you can respond with a six on one beatdown. My God, they defend OJ for God’s sake. These people have no standards and no morality, at least when it comes to dealing with people outside the black “community.” They’ll forgive any crime, so long as the victim is white.

  7. 7

    Sweet Peony said,

    Do you really think that is true?
    Or are you just being antagonizing?
    I think it is fair to say that you only know of the world YOU live in.
    Don’t think you can speak for an entire race. I guarantee, a majority of black people do not think violence is an acceptable response to words or any situation for that matter.

    It is shame you feel that way.
    Your world must be very small and lonely.
    Why are you ignoring the basic questions:
    Does the charge fit the crime? Is justice being applied equally? Do you think that all those involved in the various events since the noose hanging have been treated fairly by the law?

    And while true, the hanging of a noose is protected speech, most school systems are mixed as to how the Constitution fits within the school. There have been cases where judges have agreed that searches of lockers without permission is unconstitutional while others have said schools are exempt. Do you think that hanging a noose in a tree is a prank? If you think that the use of such a symbol of hate and intimidation is funny, then you have serious issues.

    Those who shout “Free the Jena 6” clearly do not know the details.
    But, if those white students who beat up the black student (does anyone know of his injuries or if white students were charged?) are free after an assault, then why are those black students being held? What of the one black student who wasn’t even involved in the beating and was arrested after the fact (actually I believe he did get out and his parents sent him to Houston until his trial)…shouldn’t he be free?? Certainly, if the one black student that has a criminal history then if the law says he stays behind bars…so be it.

    I stick by my original assertion that Jena lost a golden opportunity to teach the student body something about the civil rights movement and the historical significance of the noose and about civility in general. I truly believe that had that been done (instead of threatening students with ending their lives with the stroke of a pen) then there would be no Jena 6. Don’t you agree that the school board in Jena lost an opportunity to teach and expand minds?

    And finally did anyone watch the CNN presentation on Jena?
    What are your thoughts?

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