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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jena 6: Want the bad news first ... or the good news?

I inherited a dominant worry gene from my mum. My niece did too. So, all day I worried about the folks in Jena, Louisiana - the black folks and their allies. I read in the Oakland Tribune this morning that white supremacists are now targeting Jena.

It reported that a white supremacist listed on his web site the names and addresses of the families of the six black teenagers that have been arrested and suggested that white folks take power back and go get them. As a result the families have reported getting lots of harassing phone calls and threats.

The power was plugged on the racist web site. But Associated Press reported that the web site was moved to a different server and restored.

What must it be like to be black in Jena right now? I stop and imagine. I don’t know that kind of fear.

I do know what it’s like to be harassed, men shouting epithets at you as you walk down the street: “DYKE!!!” or “UGLY DYKE!!!”.

I know what it’s like to be surrounded by men who hate you and shout at you. I was part of the first marches of gay people in Provincetown. And the first time that lesbians marched together with other feminists in Boston. And the men shouted their hatred. Oh, yes! I’ve had that kind of venomous energy directed at me. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Would it turn even uglier? Would I get hurt? Killed?

So, I can relate. But the situation is not really the same. It’s your whole community under seige. And no hiding.

I think we must help. Even if we’re far away.

Do I want special treatment of the teenagers? No. I want fair treatment. And so far it hasn’t seemed fair at all to me. For one thing, the white teenagers who committed a hate crime by hanging nooses from the tree (black teenagers dared to sit under this tree!) were not charged at all. Maybe Louisiana doesn’t have hate crimes on the books? Well, that’s an injustice right there. Then when the black teenagers were originally charged, they were charged with attempted murder.

Some good news on the case: The prosecution has decided to go along with the latest ruling and try Mychal Bell as a juvenile. The community is also hoping that the prosecution will lower bail so that Mychal can get out of jail.

Stumble It!


At 11:21 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Dear, the prosecution doesn't have a choice. The case was appealed, and a higher court sent it back to the trial court with instructions to retry because they violated Bell's rights by trying him as an adult. There's other stuff happening too, but I'm too furious to blog it right now. Maybe tomorrow, when I've chilled out a bit.


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