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Friday, September 21, 2007 

My Take on the Jena 6 Situation

Ok. I’m gonna weigh in on the Jena 6 issue.

Fist, violence is bad. I don’t agree with the ‘Free the Jena 6’ stance. They should not be freed. They committed a crime (assault) and they need to be punished for their crime. That crime should be decided by a judge or jury or however it is decided by those elected and charged to issue punishment. However, the punishment should fit the crime. Ganging up 6-1 and sending a kid to the hospital does not constitute attempted murder, in my opinion. I think it’s more serious than a schoolyard fight, so some fine/probation should be applied to their actions. Because they’re juveniles, I don’t think jail time in necessary.

What I hate that no one is mentioning is that one of the Jena 6 had a gun pulled on him before the incident took place. This site gives a good indication of the chronology:

On Friday night, December 1, a black student who showed up at a white party was beaten by whites. On Saturday, December 2, a young white man pulled out a shotgun in a confrontation with young black men at the Gotta Go convenience store outside Jena before the men wrestled it away from him. The black men who took the shotgun away were later arrested, no charges were filed against the white man.

On Monday, December 4, at Jena High, a white student - who allegedly had been making racial taunts, including calling African American students "niggers" while supporting the students who hung the nooses and who beat up the black student at the off-campus party - was knocked down, punched and kicked by black students. The white victim was taken to the hospital treated and released. He attended a social function that evening.

Six black Jena students were arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. All six were expelled from school.

I think that the message was lost in the protesting. Instead of leaders calling for the release of the Jena 6, they should have been calling for the arrest of the others involved in the violence in Jena, as well as the equal punishments by those individuals involved in the violence.

I think a better argument is in what the Rev. Al Sharpton said in regards to there being a Jena in every state in this nation. I think Harry Shearer made a great observation when he likened the Jena incident to the incident in Paris, TX. In this instance, a white girl (teenager) burned down her parent’s home and she was sentenced to probation. While, in an unrelated incident, but I believe within the same timeframe, a black student shoved a school official because she was not allowed to go to the bathroom, and the black girl received a sentence of 7 years in jail. Now, I do not condone the black girl’s actions. There is never a case where it is ok to shove ANYONE, much less, your elder. No matter how much your elder may be making a fool of themselves. However, I don’t think a sentence of 7 years is appropriate for a shoving incident that occurred on school grounds. At the very least, the student should be expelled. At the most, maybe a minor battery charge. But when you look at the white girl who committee arson and the black girl who shoved a teacher, I think you can see where I’m getting with the disparity between punishments.

And I hate to say what I’m about to say next. Because I think it sets us (black people) back when I say it. But here goes: maybe if we stop doing stupid shit, we wouldn’t get mistreated. We can’t expect that people are going to treat us with kid gloves when we have honestly fucked up. I hate to institute a culture of fear, but maybe if you’re scared of whitey locking you up for life for spitting on the sidewalk, you probably should think twice before you hock a luggey.

But my previous statement isn’t meant to say that the white community shouldn’t take responsibility either. Yes, we’re all outraged that a kid was ganged up on and beat up, even if he did deserve it (and since he was out there calling people niggers, he was probably asking for it). However, I wish more white people would have stood up and said that the Jena 6’s punishment didn’t fit the crime. Instead of criticizing Sharpton and Jackson for actually taking a stand, I wish more of our white bothers and sisters would have stepped up and recognized what this protest and demonstration really should have been about: the disparity between sentencing for blacks and whites across the country. And NOT about freeing the Jena 6.


I wrote this big, long blog entry about the Jena 6, decided I hated it and erased it. But what you said in that second paragraph pretty much sums up how I feel about the situation - violence of any kind should be punished equally, regardless of race.

I blame the adults in this situation. If Jena High School had a zero tolerance policy toward hate speech and hate crimes, if the school superintendent had started expelling students once the noose-hanging began, and if the DA had administered justice equally and without bias from the beginning, starting with the incident at the Gotta Go, these six kids wouldn't have eventually been forced into the position of aggressors and vigilantes.

It's interesting that people are making the connection between the Jena 6 and the case of Shaquanda Cotton, because public outrage over both of these incidents basically began on the Internet. This is good, because it means that people are starting to pay attention to things such as the disparate punishments for crimes committed by blacks and by whites, and it's easier for information to get spread and disseminated when something like the Jena 6 incident occurs. I think it's the beginning of a new generation of grassroots campaigning.

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  • I'm young, single, got a great ass, a serial dater, a sometimes drunk, addicted to the gym, liable to make fat girls cry, have a mild ED, think Notre Dame is the greatest college and Texas is the greatest state. Currently at a standstill since moving from Detroit Area, Michigan (tons of yuppies) to Mason, MI (noted KKK presence). Come be a part of my random, shocking, and exciting world.
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