Memo to Jena: Nooses Are More Than a Prank
by Elliott Petty, Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 02:20:15 PM EDT
And more blog coverage of Jena 6 worth checking out:
- Jack And Jill Politics have tirelessly covered the Jena 6 story.- Todd
- Join Color of Change's Support The Jena 6 campaign
- Matt Stoller has an interesting post over at Open Left about the influence of blogs in moving this story
- Elliott Petty has two other posts up at Courage Campaign about the Jena 6 that are well-worth reading.
- MissLaura writes at dailyKos about the inequality of justice that is at the heart of this story, inequality that is not unique to Jena, LA.
- And of course check out the posts by Pravin and rikyrah in the diaries as well.
Who gave Jena residents talking points? I couldn't make the voyage to Jena as I wanted to so I had to watch the march and rally on CNN, which gave plenty of airtime to white Jena residents. One after the other, and then another, they consistently thought the nooses were just a prank and felt we all had the wrong impression of the people of Jena.
Perhaps are impression of Jena is exactly what it should be. We cannot in the year of our lord, 2007 believe that hanging three nooses from a tree where two young black men sat the day before were just pranks.
In this case, the hanging of nooses is an aggressive act of racial intimidation, not a prank.
A prank is a joke on an unsuspecting person. There is no intent of actual or perceived physical, mental or emotional harm on the individual or group being pranked.
We cannot say the same about hanging nooses from a tree that was reserved for white students only until two brave young men sat under it as their forefathers sat at segregated lunch counters a generation before them.
Either the folk of Jena don't understand the intentions of the noose hangers, the real and perceived reaction to the hanging nooses or they privately support the action of hanging nooses.
Also, the talking point focus on the "hanging noose" prank completely ignores four months of racial incidents at the high school and elsewhere that involved physical attacks, guns and arson, mostly at the hand of white perpetrators who have gone largely unprosecuted.
Everyone pretends not to be racist. These things don't happen here, so on and so forth. I remember one CNN reporter on the scene in Jena, told viewers that she visited the home of one of the alleged white victims of this case. She reported being greeted at the door by two white men holding shotguns.
It wasn't on camera, but I believe that reaction to the march and rally in Jena tells us everything about the people there because we saw those same reactions in the 50s and 60s.
There was one white family who would acknowledge the racial strife that exists in Jena. They recently bought a home in a neighboring town because they're now afraid to send their children to a public school in Jena.
In the case of unequal justice in Jena, that is different standards for white attackers and black attackers, silence grants consent.