Monday, September 17, 2007

Jena 6

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?

16 comments:

MadMax said...

The racism cry is just another tired example of blacks overplaying the race card. But even more disturbing is the refusal of black leaders to open their mouths and condemn them for it.
This leaves blacks prone to the charge that they breed double standards on racism. When a white person commits a racially offensive act, they rush to condemn it, but are silent when a black person does the same thing. This swings open the door for blacks who commit crimes or other inappropriate acts to finger-point whites for their misdeeds, thereby deflecting attention from their acts – you know the old saying “the best defense is a good offense”.
I don’t think that anyone is clean in the Jena 6 case. Everyone involved seems unwilling to accept their share of responsibility for the shameful events that took place.

Lusmaia212 said...

The Jena 6 dispute has been very unsetteling for me. For 6 black students to be awaiting a 100 year sentence for beating a white student is utterly ridiculous. Yes, they did commit a crime, but its obvious that this wasn't an intentional attempt to murder. Where was the school when the nosses were hung up on this tree? Why wasn't anything done while all the racial tension was building? This could of definitely have been avoided. I believe this goes back to our much discussed topic of situational evil. Most of these students lives have been spent segregated within the school, constructing the "us and them" concept. They have been raised with stereotypical misconception of one another, which escalates to hate. For my spring break this past semester I traveled to Kentucky, where I did community service in the Appalachian area. I was in the supermarket in the nearest town, and an older white women called me the "N" word while she passed by me in an aisle. I was very upset, angry, and confused. All I could think at that point is how ignorant and unfortunate this woman's live has been assuming this taught hate towards individuals she doesn't even know. The strict dichotomy within communities in the south ultimately affects the fostering of undersirable igonorance that still lives.

Nipun said...

It is just inhumane to try a boy for 22 years for beating up another fellow student. I cannot believe the fact that such social atrocities still occur in the world.
This is just an interpretation of a minor fight in such a manner that it charged the black students of 'attempt to murder.'

prsjr said...

Madmax, seriously? Seriously??? This is an example of a socially sequestered town whose residents have been isolated in a racial time warp. All that's being requested by parents of the Jena 6 is that equal justice is served. White students hung nooses on a tree to stimulate fear and hate in the school community, but were simply suspended rather than expelled. This is a means of terrorizing black students. Frankly, we are lucky that a few bruises are the only physical ramifications of the tense racial clash that has plagued Jena.

The problem is in stereotyping or typecasting. Madmax is stereotyping blacks by claiming "When a white person commits a racially offensive act, they rush to condemn it, but are silent when a black person does the same thing." This mentality of stereotyping and perpetuating existing stereotypes is exactly the reason, albeit to a greater degree, why the racial clash in Jena occurred in the first place: Simple-minded racial turpitude.

Austin said...

It is unfortunate that things like this still go on in many racist backwaters in the south, and it is a problem not easily solved. While the black students did break the law, it's clear that their actions were provoked and that they did not have intentions of murder, only of retaliation. What is most clear is that if the situation were reversed, the consequences wouldn't even be remotely similar. Six white kids beat up a black kid? I highly doubt they're looking at twenty years... Maybe a slap on the wrist and some probation, at most. It seems to me the only solution is intervention from the federal government, because I don't see change coming from the states where these injustices are occuring.

aditi said...

ok madmax maybe you should read what I’ve written on the post before giving your opinion. I mentioned how a white kid's father drew his gun on the black kids and how THEY WERE CHARGED with theft for trying to protect themselves. Also, at parties, white kids repeatedly beat up the black kids and I don't hear anything about them being tried for 'attempted murder' or 'aggravated assault'. So in this case they were silent (as opposed to what you mentioned) when the black kids were harassed and only created a scene when the white kid was beaten up. It would be nice if you actually read all the facts before saying what you do in a mere attempt to oppose everyone else.

smg22 said...
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aditi said...
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aditi said...
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smg22 said...

I agree with the previous comments that this is another example of racism obstructing justice. Thankfully, a Louisiana appeals court overturned the conviction of Mychal Bell this past Friday. The judge of the original trial overlooked the fact that under Louisiana law, minors (such as Bell, who was 16 at the time of the incident) cannot be tried as adults in cases of aggravated second-degree battery. Prosecutors now can try Bell for attempted murder as an adult or for aggravated battery as a minor. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the Louisiana court system will continue to perpetuate its racist practices in Bell’s subsequent trial and in the trials of the other five of the Jena Six.

Source: Washington Post article
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/14/AR2007091402162.html?nav=rss_print/asection

Kiki L. said...

What seems most shocking to me is the fact that in our judicial system, which is suppose to be one of the most "fair and just" in the world, this could happen. Are some checks and balances missing that someone could end up in jail, regardless of race, for 22 years for beating someone up? Who knows what could be next! The death penalty for driving a car to a murder scene? Oh yeah… but all sarcasm aside, with the amount of attention this case is receiving it will hopefully make its way up in the courts in appeals in order for the Jena 6 to receive proper punishment which is on the same level of their crime.

Nikki M said...

This is so shameful. I would expect this story to come out of South Africa where apartheid has just recently ended, not the United States where the Civil Rights Movement happened almost 50 years ago. As a country we need to let the state of Louisiana know that this level of racism is unacceptable and we won't stand for it. Tomorrow there is a rally being held on Hartman Green to talk about the Jena 6 and sign petitions addressed to the govenor of Louisiana. As a community I hope F&M bands together and does their part to send the message.

terissa said...
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terissa said...

To be honest, I am a little surprised at how outraged people are about this incident. I mean, don't get me wrong, I understand that this is a terrible injustice, regardless of race, but why do we as Americans, as human beings, have to wait for an overt example of prejudice and racism before we take up arms to attack the beast of ignorance? Consider the disparity between the Civil Rights Movement and the Gay/Lesbian Movement. There has been no legislation on either side of the gay marriage fence since the supreme court ruling in 2003 - there HAS been legislation on the issue of civil rights - how would you assess attitudes of the general populous toward gays and lesbians in comparison to the way blacks in America are viewed? Just because prejudicial acts are illegal does not mean that the fundamentals behind them, the nature by which an individual is viewed as subhuman or unequal, do not persist. I'm not trying to offend anyone, but it is ridiculous to think about all of the subtle actions, or even inactions, we all make in our day to day lives that perpetuate racism and then choose to be upset only when we have ignored it enough that it has blossomed into something that needs to be checked, something that defends its independence with prejudicial ignorance. How can we genuinely expect change to occur when the first step starts at home - within ourselves lies the true demons we are trying to slay in the world, and as soon as everyone realizes that, we'll all be off to some kind of start in the right direction. It's time to stop the blame game and realize that we all have pieces on the racism board, and as long as we are all participating (whether actively or not) the cards are stacked against us.
What has happened in Jena, Louisiana is terrible, but it happens everyday. Just because it's not broadcast in the news or blogged about on the internet does not take away from pain and injustices incited by racism. It is fine to go up in arms about how wrong the Louisiana Governor is, or how maybe the boys should have sat under a different tree, and the arguments go on, but what does it amount to? An incident that may or may not be remembered some ten years from now as the time those boys sat under a tree and were then taken to court on murder charges just because they were black? Or is it enough that racism still exists (whether from whites to blacks or blacks to whites), that this case proves it, and that this case can be a catalyst for change? If all we are accomplishing is prodding the unlit candle of prejudice with a match of indignity and inquisition instead of lighting it and letting the flame of revolution spark and burn down the wax of racism, I don't really see the point.

Tigist said...

It is crazy that this is occurring nowadays. However, it is not surprising because racism still continues even when we think it doesn’t, but what are we going to do about it? We can just fret and say how horrible it is, but what happens next?

smilekejcc said...

The Jena 6 situation is astonishing to believe that in the day’s progression of technology and society that these types of incidents still occur. I feel that the local government and the school district could have prevented this incident.