It’s a damn shame that there are places like Jena, LA where racial prejudice not only lives but thrives! Places where a black kid can get beat up by white kids because he choose to sit under the wrong tree, places where children have been brought up to hate based on the color of a person’s skin and where these children are taught that the hangman’s noose is a symbol of “white justice,” places where racism has infiltrated and corrupted the judicial system to the point where the prosecutors file (or refuse to file) criminal charges based primarily on race rather than on the circumstances surrounding the act.
Then again its just as much of a damn shame that there are racists on the other side, racists like Rev. Jessie Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, who care nothing about justice — unless its justice for blacks. I may be wrong, but I doubt if Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton have ever stood up for a white man, woman or child falsely or overly charged with a crime where the victim (or supposed victim) was black. Men like these are as much of a scourge on our civilization as are cities like Jena, LA.
This week, thousands of protesters came to Jena to rally against, to quote the Associated Press: “what they see as a double standard of justice for blacks and whites.” That by itself is a good thing because it seems apparent, according to almost all media accounts, that there is indeed a double standard in Jena — that was all but proven by the fact that five black teens were charged with attempted second-degree murder (because the sixth perpetrator is a juvenile, charges against him were never publicized) because they ganged up on a white teen and beat him into unconsciousness. That’s a brutally violent act but it apparently was a charge trumped up due to prejudice on the part of the white prosecutor and because of the public outcry those charges were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery — before the kids had their days in court.
What is perverse about the situation is that now that the charges have been lowered to a reasonable level, by all appearances, the protests have changed from outrage over injustice to support for six kids who clearly committed a criminal act. These kids should be considered outcasts — they are every bit as ignorant and evil as any member of the Klu Klux Klan. There was nothing noble or worthy of public support in what they did, regardless of why they think they did it. They should have justice applied as it should be applied to everyone else regardless of their race. If the protests in Jena accomplish that, they will have accomplished something notable — and perhaps, after this incident has ‘died down’ and after the protests end, the officials in the justice system in Jena will be a little more introspective about their prejudices and a lot more interested in justice, before creating another unwelcomed situation for the city.
As for the citizenry of Jena, it’s very likely the black citizens of Jena will listen and take to heart the negative messages spread by the likes of Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton, as the reverends stir their pot full of resentment. That’s what they do, everywhere they go and they always have lots of willing ears. What the citizens of Jena (both white and black) should be listening to, instead of race baiters on either side, are messages that make them aware that the only reason this situation started and is being perpetuated is because many of them have raised their children, as they were raised, to be ignorant brutes rather than thoughtful individuals.
It may be a damn shame but there will always be racists, black ones and white ones, who look at you and see nothing but the color of your skin. Racism is motivated by fear and a lack of understanding of a different culture and is complicated by the fact that it is a ‘learned’ attitude. Kids in kindergarten look around at kids of a different race and ignore the differences — what’s important to them is which kids are fun to play with. Wouldn’t it be a much better world if we didn’t teach those kids to hate and disrespect based on appearance?
Boston Globe Editorial: Long memories in Jena
From the Blogosphere:
The end of elite media empires and rise of citizen journalism: What do Hillary and Obama have to say about the Jena six?
Plantation Life: Jena Six and the Emasculating Nature of Society