Monday, September 17, 2007
Jena 6 is a group of 6 black students who have been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault for beating up a white student. The racial tension that led to this incident started early September when a black student asked for permission to sit under what was commonly known as a "whites only" tree. The next morning three nooses were seen to be hanging on the branches of the tree in the school colors. Racial tension heightened when a white student's father pulled out his gun at two black teens in a store. The teens snatched the gun and ran away to protect themselves but were charged with theft. In soon became common for black kids to be beaten up at parties and mocked at school. These incidents reached a peak when in December, a group of six African - American kids beat up a white kid. He was knocked unconscious and taken to a hospital with several bruises. Three hours later he was discharged and went to attend a social event. The 6 kids however were imprisoned and the first of the 6, Mychal Bell, age 17, was sentenced to 22 years in prison. The rest still await trial. Mychal was tried near a white judge and full white jury in a town that is known for its racial tension. The DA says the fate of these kids lie in a swish of his pen and he has full authority to make their punishment more severe. This is clearly a case of racial discrimination. Would the punishment have been as severe had the 6 students been white? If so, why were the white students who routinely beat up the black students not met with similar punishments? How come the school decided to suspend the students who hung the nooses instead of expelling them as was planned earlier? What can be done to stop such injustice?