10/6/07

Jena: Take your nooses down

Jena, a small town in Central Louisiana, exploded onto the headlines as the latest example of an undiminished American racism.

In the case of Jena--as in the many other Jenas of America--a virulent racism, suffered mostly quietly by its victims of color for eons, appears to be a prominent aspect of life. So much so that the local high school had a Tree for Whites Only on its grounds.

Yes, in this 21st Century there are still places in America reserved just for Whites--and the Whites Only Tree in Jena is just one of many such White preserves. It's American Apartheid.

The Tree Whites Only of Jena bore 3 nooses a year ago--and it was probably not the first time the lynching ropes hung there. They were a warning to Blacks to stay in their place, that is, the same place they've been put since they were owned.

The three nooses led to a fight, and in keeping with Jena's heritage, six Blacks teenagers were arrested and charged with attempted murder--a crime punishable in Louisiana with life in prison for Blacks.

Of course, the first of the six was found guilty of aggravated assault against a young white man by an all white jury despite conflicting testimony from witnesses.

White America can't figure out what all the fuss is about--Hannity and O'Reilly empathize, but only for the white dud who was made to pay for a tiny fraction of the sins committed by the good people of Jena.

Outrage broke out--but only in Black America. A march was called and instantly 20,000 young Blacks from across the nation turned out. The White response? Al Sharpton is to blame.

And rightwingers rush to uphold the law: The noose hanging was just boys being boys. The Black boys? They should all get life--'cause they broke the law.

Ya braak duh law, ya doo duh tyme, rot? Dat ders 'Merica!
Seems that the Jena racists and their co-conspirators don't take kindly to people calling them on their backwards ways.

Example?

Good Ole Boys around Jena and elsewhere have been spotted dragging nooses from their pick-ups.

And this week the mayor of Jena denounced John Mellencamp. Why? Because Mellencamp--a prominent white songwriter and performer--had the audacity of siding with justice for the Jena 6. He does so movingly in a song titled Jena .

The good thing is that finally many in America are now watching. No longer can Jena just be Jena--and that's a good thing.



Related:

Mellencamp song about Jena, La. upsets mayor; calls song's video inflammatory
The Case of the Jena Six: Black High School Students Charged with Attempted Murder for Schoolyard Fight After Nooses Are Hung from Tree
In La., a missed opportunity ignites a racial uproar
Two arrested in noose incident near Jena, Louisiana
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