Sep 20 2007
07:13 am

In search of the facts surrounding what has now become a media circus involving what no one disputes is an ugly situation in Jena Louisiana, I found there are many differing and obviously biased reports coming from both camps.

Googling through the usual variety of articles, I came upon a Snopes' report of the issue. (link...) I usually like Snopes because so much of what we get through the media turns out to crap, but I was sort of surprised that they decided to include the Jena 6 issue as an urban myth based on what appeared to be (from reading the Snopes' commentary) only two challenged facts. Does that put the Jena 6 incident into the urban myth catagory?

It seemed the "facts" that Snopes disputed were the seriousness of the white kid's injuries and the presumed good reputation of the Mychal Bell, the black kid who was charged and convicted of the assault on Barker.

The Snopes report pointed out that Barker spent 3 hours in the emergency room. The way this was set in the piece it appeared to dispute "the fact" that Barker had only minor injuries. Three hours is of course not a very long time to anyone who has ever gone to an emergency room for treatment. My last visit to an emergency room was much longer and that was for a very minor injury. They also did not choose to add that the Barker proceeded to go out and party that night. The one quote they chose to use in their commentary said that the black kids proceeded after the fight to stomp and kick Barker's "lifeless" body. They never said who made that statement though, so it's hard to count it as a verified fact. If it's not verifed by naming the person who said it, isn't it just another urban myth?

I did appreciate learning that Mychal Bell the black kid who is at the center of the controversy had been charged with several crimes before the noose incident, including assault charges. That gave me some food for thought.

After reading Snopes' comments, I searched for something to represent the other side and settled on the Malcom X Grassroots Movement site. (link...) Obviously showing its own bias, that site gave their own review of the events leading up to and after the noose incident. When I got down to their "Survey of Relevant Events", I was surprised to find information I hadn't been aware of at all. More food for thought. Many more details about the events leading up to the brawl at the school. Though they might not be accurate at all, they do suggest it's possible that many racist events prior to the noose hanging had tempers and fears flaring.

Truth is tricky. It takes a lot of effort sometimes to get the real story from the patchwork of commentaries and reports in the media. I support the Jena 6 because I know how frustrated and scared these minority kids must have been in a town that could produce children capable of hanging nooses from a tree. I think everyone would agree---that's about as ignorant as it gets. The biased treatment of the school officals also seems obvious. If they had acted more appropriately this whole thing would most likely have been far less serious. The school officals ought to be fired for calling the hanging of nooses in the tree "a prank". What kind of idocy is that?

No, the African American kids in Jena were not angels, but the sight of the those nooses hanging from a tree and the refusal of school administrators and town offcials to offer the kids protection from the ongoing harassment they were suffering had to have made them fear for their lives.

If the nooses had been swastikas hung in a Jewish neighborhood, horror and outrage would have been the only response. No one would have considered it a prank and the Jewish Defamation League would have been speaking out loudly.

I'm not wild about some of the black "celebrity" figures who have attached themselves to this cause, but I think without them this small town that had taken a backward step into blatant and community supported racism would never have come to light.

All the facts still aren't in, but in a world where facism seems to be growing, it does make those who want justice to prevail in our land a little nervous to find biased reporting at every turn. When even the urban myth people are creating myths, it does seem to be getting pretty creepy out there.

Carole Borges's picture

Dear, dear metulji get a grip...this is your second snipe...

Try using your finger in a novel new way..just don't click past the break tags if you don't want to read farther.

Hammersmith's picture

Thank god...

OJ was not tried down there!

SammySkull's picture

I support the Jena 6 because

I support the Jena 6 because I know how frustrated and scared these minority kids must have been in a town that could produce children capable of hanging nooses from a tree

Those poor minority kids? Are you serious? And let me know when you find a teen of any color who isn't capable of doing some seriously stupid things. I'm thinking that's sort of the nature of the teen years.

It sounds to me like both the school and the parents of ALL the kids involved have failed these children. That doesn't excuse the behavior, but to suggest that a couple of nooses in a tree is justification for knocking someone out from behind and then kicking and stomping the shit of him is just ludicrous, not to mention the fact that the two events are apparently not related.

This whole situation sounds to me as if someone from outside the community needs to step in and start all over from the beginning. It certainly seems as if the kids already tried have not gotten a fair trial, and regardless of what they've done or not done, at the very least they still deserve fairness. Sharpton and Jackson should be put in jail indefinitely for being arrogant windbags with no desire to see anything fixed except their egos and bank accounts. I'd just as soon pick up Jackson by his ankles and beat the crap out of Sharpton with him.

Anonymous's picture

You support the Jena 6? Madam, you are a racist.

There is no, repeat, NO excuse for six strapping young men to attack, knock unconscious, and then continue to kick and beat another young man. Skin color is NOT a mitigating factor.

My wife and a friend have been accosted by black teenagers at a local shopping mall for no other reason than that they were white. We live in a predominantly black and hispanic neighborhood, and we have been harassed and our home vandalized... again, from racial motives. There is no excuse for behavior such as this.

As long as clergymen and politicians continue to use race as a means of getting people to react and not think (for whatever reasons they have), we are going to see violence and other maltreatment of whites by blacks escalate. And there is no excuse for that, either. Racism is racism.

The Jena 6 didn't get a tenth of what they had coming. They should be in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, which is generally where violent felons are incarcerated in that state.

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