As I was watching the CNN’s Special Investigations Unit episode called “Judgement in Jena”, one of the women interviewed said she felt the Jena community should have pulled the white students who placed nooses from a “white only tree” and told them that nooses are of the past and “we’ve got to be careful about that. People can’t do that anymore.”
As if it were acceptable any other time. As if it’s just a matter of not publicly displaying nooses. Keep them inside your minds and everything is okay.
Prior to SIU, I saw a round table news program on which a journalist from The Washington Post suggested that this was not the best case to reignite the civil rights movement. She commented on the fact that Mychal Bell, one of the members of the Jena Six, has had a previous record. She also said that the Jena Six kids were violent, which is contrary to the original civil rights movement.
And she is right that a fight occured. And she is right that Mychal Bell had a previous record (his mother claims he was defending himself against an older, drunk man). But what the journalist ignores is that this isn’t about whether or not a fight occured (last I checked, no one claimed a fight didn’t occur). This is about the charges of second degree attempted murder. This is about claiming one of the defendant’s shoe was a weapon (because a weapon must be involved to charge someone with second degree attempted murder).
Meanwhile, in December, a white man pulls a shotgun on three black students. The students wrestle the man to the ground and take the shotgun away from him. His charge: nothing. Their charge: assault and theft (of the shotgun).
That is what this is about. Equal justice under the law. Mychal Bell could have murdered someone but he would still deserve equal justice under the law. The charges brought against him and his fellow students are not equal to the lack of charges brought against all of the white people who have been committing crimes toward blacks since the nooses were first hung from the tree.
And the nooses were a hate crime. Plain and simple. Not something “to be careful about.”
Nevertheless, the woman from SIU better head to North Carolina. Some kids aren’t being careful there, either:
UPDATED 9/23/07: 9:28 PM
Because people think we’re crazy when we say racism is still a real threat in America, you must read this story:
UPDATED 9/26/07: 5:42 PM
Congress may soon be looking closely at the Jena Six case. Read all about it: