Thursday, September 20, 2007

On the Jena 6

Martin Luther King Jr. never advocated stomping your opponents to near death. And yet his image looms large over the protests in Jena, a small town in Louisiana, where the descision by an all-white jury to try six black teens as adults for the beating of a white classmate has brought kerosene and fire together under the leadership of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

The Lede blog at the New York Times sums it up: some racist white kids had a "whites only" tree, a black kid broke convention, and then nooses sprung up. No one can argue that that is brazen intimidation.

Implied violence, however, is one thing. Beating up a fellow student is another. And that's what six black students did.

This is not a civil rights issue. This is not a throwback to the Civil Rights Movement. This is tucked-under-the-rug ignorance that black and white politicians don't care about because these groups exist on the fringe of more developed, urban communities. None of these folks matter to us in the big city, nor do our laws of civility matter to them.

I grew up getting called "faggot" by every other guy on my block in Brooklyn. It hurt. And I remember wishing all sorts of horrible things on my tormentors, but it mostly revolved around me sentencing them all to decapitation on the set of the Oprah show. Alas, not every fairy's dreams come true.

My point is that violence is not the answer. And the "Jena 6" are not martyrs, they're messed up kids who need guidance, correction, and yes, jail time. True, the justice system in the South has condoned the killings of countless of innocent black people through the present day. Does that mean, then, that we just apply justice to the degree that the media is willing to investigate the actions of our lawmakers?

And does a history of botched justice set a precedent for lax laws for the descendants of people who have been wronged by the legal system? Is that why OJ Simpson continues to piss all over the law?

I think all of these kids are a bunch of punks that need correction. And shame on the politicians and talking heads that are playing the victimized colored people card for ratings. The Jena 6 belong in jail and so do the kids who hung the nooses from the trees.

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