I won’t be turning in my “black card.”

I didn’t write about the Jena 6.

In all honesty I just didn’t and don’t know exactly how I feel about it. No need to rehash the details because by now, unless you live under a rock, you know the story the media has given and CAN give us. I’m a journalist but I can agree that everything seemed to really escalate with all the coverage. That said, reporters just do their jobs. It’s a hot topic and if your media outlet isn’t covering it, there went their ratings. 

Let me just get some things straight though — I don’t think the original charges fit the crime, which have since been reduced. I feel that such charges were too harsh for clobbering a guy who ended up at a school function later that day. But if that doesn’t convince you, think of the possible scenario if the charges had stuck. Young men in jail for 20 years is asking for trouble. Not only for the families but our communities. When a guy sits in the hole for 20 years at an early age, many times they aren’t thinking about reforming while there and even if they do reform, a lot of times they come out bitter, angry, confused and have a horrible time finding work. Then they become a problem financially for all of us when they can’t get a job because of their record. 

But I also know racism still exists. I write about it here quite a bit because sadly the topic keeps coming up. And I know those three nooses hanging from that tree were more than just freedom of speech. They hung there as a message of hatred and ignorance. However violence only feeds the ignorance and beating up that white kid was the worse thing those boys allegedly did.

I still will not hang my hat on what I’ve been told happened but the end result doesn’t change: Someone got severely injured at the hands of sheer violence and that’s  a crime. These are all reasons why I didn’t write about this topic. It was one time out of a few that shooting from the hip gave me pause. Because to most people who support The Jena 6, I might as well turn in my “black card.”

But here is something interesting. Now we are being told that one of the 6 allegedly had myspace pics up with him brandishing money. The opposing side is surely going to use them for their case and there is even a Neo-Nazi site (I’m not posting that link obviously) who has them up. The myspace has since been deleted.

There is speculation that the money came from donations to support legal fees for the 6. But I’m not going to assume anything. You be the judge and we will all wait to find out the truth eventually. But you know young teen boys. Teenagers are real do now, suffer the consequences later types (you know that if you’ve got young ones at home) and all this publicity has just GOT to have those kids feeling kind of invincible. I mean wouldn’t you?? If people from all of the country along with Mr. Al Sharpton came to march just for you?And if the news has been talking about you for weeks. There are Jena 6 shirts, Web sites, petitions — wouldn’t you feel pretty puffed up by all the attention if you were a teenager?

Bottom line: I won’t turn in my “black card” for my above statements. Just because I’m black, DOES NOT mean I will fall in line.

12 responses to this post.

  1. I didn’t tune into the whole story of the Jena 6, but it seemed awfully hyped up from the details I absorbed. That said, I have some very definite opinions on the subject of race and entitlement: I run into the whole white guy mentality so much these days and have come to the conclusion that the while male in general (please note I’m talking generalities here, not about specific people – there are enlightened white men out there) – who is at the top of the food chain as far as rights, income, power, social status, etc – either cannot or will not put themselves into anyone else’s shoes to try to imagine what it’s like NOT to be them. Hanging nooses from a tree is a prime example of that type of arrogance. Shameful behavior, just shameful.


  2. Posted by loudmouthprotestant on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 10:48 am

    I am so very glad that you wrote this. I have been struggling to trying to figure out if I should write about it, but I know what I had to say would be comparable to my thinking OJ was guilty back in the day–in other words “turning in my black card.” I actually have no thoughts about the situation at hand and it took me a while to even pay attention to it because for some reason it just didn’t phase me. Then the other day I read a very interesting commentary that gave me pause. Check it out here: http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2007-09-24hm.html. It’s entitled “The Jena Dodge” and addresses the fact that all the media coverage is eclipsing the heart of the problem–the perpetuation of violence in the black community. And actually as I write this now my creative juices are starting to boil with an idea for a post. But I am just so thankful I am not the only black person not ready to join the march so quickly and cry bloody murder. It’s not that I don’t believe the situation is an injustice, it is, but sometimes it’s better to be quiet.


  3. Thanks LMP! I’m glad to hear as well that another black person feels this way! And OJ?! I stayed quiet on that one when I was in school. It just seemed like EVERYONE was all like “Free the Juice!” I was a minority in more ways than one! I’m going to head over to your blog and see your thoughts.


  4. J –

    As you know I have written several times about the Jena 6 and I’ve done this for several reasons.

    1 – As you stated, the charges and possible punishment for the six boys are extreme for a schoolyard brawl. There was no attempted murder as I don’t believe that was the intent, it was a schoolyard brawl, and the “victim” was injured but was released in time for him to attend a function later that evening.

    2 – There has never been proof that all six young men were involved in the incident, and I’m sure that is the reason that 5 have not been brought to trial.

    3- The DA is out to make a name for himself – unfortunately the name is not a good one. I don’t feel bad calling the man a bigot.

    4 – Noose hanging is not a schoolboy prank. That behavior is learned and engrained, and is a mindset of a certain type of southern person.

    5 – A white student pulled a gun on a couple of black kids and he was never arrested. `

    6 – The white only tree in 2006 bothers me. It may not have been a written thing, but the blacks in the south know their place and when they forget, they are soon shown. We are too many years past the civil rights movement to even have such a thing as a white only tree, or a barber in the town that refuses to service the local black men.

    This story only solidifies my impression of the south and southerner whites. Extreme racisms still exists and thrives.

    I’m outraged at the people of Jena who continue to say the noose hanging was a prank and do not see the historical implications.

    J – You know I how I feel about all of this….AHHHHHH – you know I could go on and on


  5. Chris: All of your points are well taken and very true. However, even though I don’t see the noose situation as a “prank” and is surely more serious, I still feel that the boys should not have started a brawl–UNLESS the boy who got beat up hit them first. I have always had that rule. But how do you feel about the alleged myspace pics? A bit poor taste I think, if they truly belong to one of the six.

    I don’t support the ignorance some free speech can bring, but I also don’t support violence to prove a point. Not to sound cliché, but Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t raise a hand to prove a point. And those were times of TRUE oppression.


  6. BTW observantbystander: You don’t have to follow it too much to know that there are a LOT of factors involved in such a tiny town. I have no doubt the assault was provoked. But the answer can’t always be violence.


  7. I agree with that violence isn’t the answer. The only thing that bothered me about the whole situation is the fact that the judge was so quick to put attempted murder over these kids heads and complete disregarded the threat the white kids made with the whole noose hanging situations. And that kid’s myspace pic is disgusting if the story is true. If that ends up being used against him, he deserves it.


  8. That is so true AJ…


  9. I thought there was plenty enough racism, stupidity and idiocy on all sides.


  10. Why don’t someone look in recent yearbooks and find the white only tree as it is called there are blacks and whites sitting under it. All of this is bull. It is a ploy to start trouble. I think the parents are the ones to blame for making so much out of nothing. So thank yourselfs if your sons go to jail. Racism in Jena, La yes there is black against whites yes and that is the truth.


  11. I’m sorry Susan, but that didn’t make a lick of sense.


  12. I tried to get accepted for the black card but it didn’t work so I just ordered a blackcardkit from blackcardkit.com . It worked pretty good.


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