The Jena Six Should Be Trumping O.J.’s Junk

In an article about a piece of history in the process of writing itself, Sally Kohn over at the Huffington Post asks a really good question:

Why is it that mainstream white media and white folks in general are so obsessed (once again) with OJ’s guilt but paying little or no attention to the innocence of the Jena Six?

Don’t know about the Jena Six? Thanks to the media, you aren’t alone. Here’s Kohn’s synopsis:

In the small town of Jena [Louisiana] last fall, two black high school students sat in a schoolyard under a tree. The tree was known as the “white tree” because only white kids are allowed to sit under it. The day after the two black students defied this unspoken rule, nooses were hung from the tree. The school principle dismissed it as a “prank”. Black students protested by sitting under the tree, in growing numbers. The District Attorney came to the school and threatened them, saying, “I can take away your lives with the stroke of a pen.”

There was a series of violent incidents were white students attacked black students. The government and school administrators ignored those. But when a white student was beaten up by six black students in a schoolyard fight — after provoking the black students with racist taunts — the District Attorney charged the black students with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were charged in adult court. Meanwhile, the white student they beat up suffered only minor cuts and bruises.

One of the black students, Mychal Bell — age 16 — has been in prison since December. Last month, an all-white jury decided that Bell was guilty — not guilty of beating up a student who racially taunted him, but guilty of attempted murder.

Welcome to the new Jim Crow. While institutionalized racisim rears its head for months in such a profound way that thousands of people marched on the little town of Jena today, the mainstream media focuses on what? The trifling and thuggy antics of a two-bit former athlete in a nice suit. If you think I’m implying that the media has a racial bias you’re right.

I was happy that the Human Rights Campaign was at the march today. HRC’s Donna Payne writes a touching wrap-up here.

This piece of info popped up at HRC as I was writing: The Lafayette Daily Advertiser says a Louisiana circuit court of appeals wants to know why Bell is still in jail even though his conviction was overturned last week. Hopefully accountability is on the way.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Human Rights Campaign, Jena Six, O.J. Simpson, Uncategorized

9 Comments on “The Jena Six Should Be Trumping O.J.’s Junk”

  1. catch Says:

    here is my take on the whole thing:

    why in the *BEEP* does it *BEEP*-ing matter what *BEEP*-ing color someone’s skin is and ultimately why in the *BEEP*-ing world, here in 2007, are we still *BEEP*-ing hung up on a “white” tree, a”black” area, etc?

    Everyone should just grow the *BEEP* up, get over their insecurities by visiting a *BEEP*-ing shrink, and stop with the whole “I hate you because you are different than me”. I am sick and *BEEP*-ing tired of this *BEEP* – ity, *BEEP*-ing crap. I learned long ago that if someone is an *BEEP* hole, then they are an *BEEP* hole, and they just tie their *BEEP*-holery to something stupid like a tree, or racial slur, or some other phobia.

    Everyone hear me…this crap isn’t cool, it isn’t funny and it certainly isn’t your place to “take someone’s life away with the stroke of a pen” because your idiot client was taunting them with slurs and who knows what else.

    Go seek professional help, get on some medication, get a life and, not that it is in the least bit possible, but give that poor kid who has been (wrongly) put in jail since December HIS life back too. *BEEP* – ing jerks.

    Sorry T, but this kind of crap pisses me the *BEEP* off and I know that it is not my place to write my own blog in your comments section, but I had to let that out

    -passive aggressive man has spoken.

    *goes to get first cup of coffee for the morning*

  2. Susan Says:

    This story made my stomach turn and made me want to cry. The kid in jail for no reason will never be the same…*sighs*…I hope his spirit isn’t broken.
    And I am sooooo with Catch on his comments.

  3. Chuck Says:

    Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock addressed this very issue 9/8/07, article here:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/7170510

    he has extra info that is not always contained in a 30 second news bite.

  4. Troy Says:

    No need to apologize J. I feel the same way. I can’t believe these kinds of things still happen.

    Glad to see the sports community gets it, Chuck.

  5. Citizen D Says:

    There was a great feature on NPR yesterday about this. I think it was during Talk of the Nation. If you didn’t catch it, it may be able to hear it on their interwebs site. The saddest part was an interview with the parent of the white student who was beaten by the 6 black students. He said something like, “I just don’t know why this happened. My son was at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Right.

  6. Chris Roach Says:

    I think the NBA is guilty of institutional racism. I mean, where are all the Asian and White players. Trust me, whenever two races have different outcomes someone somewhere is guilty of institutional racism. We need affirmative action in the NFL, NBA, and other pro sports.

  7. Troy Says:

    Chris, Re: affirmative action, I’m not in the recruiting business, but I can see how finding people who make a difference takes a variety of approaches. Let me know how things go with implementing your strategy.

  8. Troy Says:

    Chuck,
    Whitlock’s article does create a more nuanced telling of the Jena story, and in the process I think reveals even more institutionalized racism, including the more subtle kind that relates to low expectations and exploitation. I wonder what bearing Bell’s prior criminal history has on this case though.

  9. crystal Says:

    no need for me to comment, i just wanted you to know I read this article and am still in awe over all that is going on. And not in a good way.
    Sadly Troy, we as brown folks do a lot of low expectation and exploiting of ourselves.
    I get a weekly dose of this bullshit when I go get my hair done. By the time I come out of that racist venue, I feel like I need a bath.
    These are the same people (excluding my hairdresser) who had zero problem telling me from day one “you talk like a white girl”.
    Caused me to disrespect 2 elder women, but I be damned! Because I can use english correctly, (even if written it looks a hot mess) all of a sudden I am white? How crazy are you?


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