Thursday, October 4, 2007

Dr. Phil, Jena Six Program Video

Episode 1 - Friday September 29

Episode 2 - Monday October 1

I just watched the first episode, haven't watched the second one yet. I decided to go ahead and post this because I don't know when I'll have time to do in-depth commentary on it, so I think y'all should go ahead and see it.

One piece of commentary, the white woman from Jena in the episodes, who is the school assistant teacher, Bobbi Cornett, is the white woman I spoke about in this piece who tried to justify Reed Walters threat to the Black students, as just a friendly warning to help them; when I was in Jena.

I didn't bother to name her in the piece because she didn't deserve the recognition, but since she's going national, I need expose her frame of mind. At first I thought she might be a reasonable white person, since she started off talking about how "they have a right to be here, they can march, that's their constitutional right". But then she went on to show her true colors with that ridiculous Reed Walters comment, and I moved on.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Claimed Facts, Are Not Necessarily the Facts In Jena 6 Case

On the day of the march, CNN aired an interview with Tina Jones, mother of Jena 6 defendent Bryant Purvis(and aunt of defendent Carwin Jones), says her son wasn't even in the fight. I watched this interview from a bar in Alexandria Louisiana where all the marchers who didn't go straight home went to decelerate after leaving Jena.

Purvis wasn't even arrested on the spot after the fight, because he wasn't on the spot. He wasn't arrested until the next day. He wasn't at the fight, but he was one of the leaders of the silent protest under the tree where the nooses were hung; in response to the noose hangers getting the light punishment of in-school suspension. The protest that lead D.A. Walters to comeout to the school and threaten the Black students that if they didn't knock it off and stop making trouble, that he would "end your lives with the stroke of my pen".

Hmmm, not at the fight and not arrested, but was one of the leaders of the protest where he was threatened to have his life ended.

Rober Bailey, Jr told CNN that by the time he arrived at the fight, students and coaches had broken it up.

"When a fight breaks out, all the kids just run to see a fight. That's just how it was," he said. "You really couldn't see nothing. So when I'm running to see what's going on, I got down there to the fight, it was over."

Anybody who's been in high school at least during my life time (I'm 29), knows this good and well. I went to Junior High and High School in Bossier Louisiana, and anytime there was a fight there was a big croud around it, because everyone would run to see what was happening.

Other so-called facts taken for grant by those who have no interest in actually investigating the claims, nor an interest in dealing with the issue of the obvious racially intimidating environment that was fostered in Jena for months leading up to the fight:

1. Just becasue the big white man at the district attorney's office with the pen says that Justin Barker was attacked from behind for no reason, doesn't make it so. Where's the evidence of this? Many students have claimed that he was slanging racial insults while taunting the black kid that had been beat by whites and hit with beer bottles. (by the way, only one white person was charged in that attack and offered probation; not 80 years in prison)

As noted here, the story of a no reason attack makes no sense; and to believe that, you first have to believe that these boys are just natural born black savages who picked out a totally innocent white boy at random, to beat him up for kicks.

2. Just becasue D.A. Walter and U.S. Attorney Donald Washington claim that the nooses hangings had nothing to do with the fight, doesn't make it so. That's his opinion, and a self serving one for both, because neither of them did anything about that threat; which started the build up of tension that lead to the school fight. In Washington case, even thought the FBI investigated and recommended it the noose hangings be prosecuted as a hate crime; which Washington refuses to do just because the noose hangers don't have a prior record.

3. Further, Justin Barker was doing this taunting with one of the noose hangers. How do we know, because, besides the students who were there saying so; he testified in court against Mychael Bell as a witness to the fight.

There are other points that I may add as I think of them

How Representative Is Jena of the South

Certainly the South has a special brand of racial disharmony, that being, that the color lines are a little more obvious than most elsewhere; particularly in the rural South. It’s more apart of the ingrained culture of things, yet; racial disparity and tension is all throughout the United States and always has been. North and Mid-western states owned slaves too; and as Malcolm X said, "the South is South of the Canadian border". And must we go into all the police brutality, unjustified police shootings of blacks, or the likes of white Boston adults throwing rocks at Black children going to school.

The Jena situation is definitely born out of Southern segregation that was never fully resolved, and Jim Crow ideals of justice that have persisted. I fear though, that non-southerners, when reading about something like this, think this is really representative of the South; i.e. that Black people are walking around down here bowing to white folk, or that we live in tolerance of obvious signs seen on a daily basis.

I've lived in the South most of my life and have never experienced anything remotely like what has transpired in Jena the last year. I was just telling a friend before the march, who is from Iowa (though she's lived in Nashville for a while), that I've never seen the Klan in my life, accept on television. I grew up in Louisiana (in Bossier City, about 2.5 hours from Jena)and she's asking me what was it like...and I'm like, hell if I know what living in a place like Jena is like; I've always lived in cities, not backwoods towns. Even with Bossier being the smallest one, I still don't relate to that stuff; at least certainly not on that level.

People outside the South have this ideal that we live like the television show In The Heat of the Night or some Eyes on the Prize documentary -- It's 2007; come on. The actuality is, whites often move over on the sidewalk and look down when we walk by. Some think that Jena stuff is prevalent even in big cities. I know because folks from up north have told me so; as if there's Klan riding their horses down the street in front of our 250 million dollar football stadiums.

Sista Souljah, who's from New Jersey spoke at Tennessee State a few years ago, and I was talking to her after the event. She had never been to the South before and was talking about she was worried about coming down here and that she didn't know if the KKK would be out in the streets - LOL. Again, I've never seen the Klan accept on t.v. Them fuckers would get they ass lynched; they don't want to see us.

I'm not saying there isn't all kinds of racist stuff, but in the vast majority of places it's nothing as overt or physical as what has transpired in Jena.

Though all around the country, to me it seems it’s starting to be become more overt; like beating up “Nappy Headed” Black girls over cake crumbs .

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Nooses Are Not A Prank

Nooses from a truck in Alexandria Louisiana after the march
As I posted about Here; this happened to my group from Nashville.

Chief Coutee calls it a prank. I'm disappointed by this. As I talked about in that post linked above, I met the chief at a bar in Alexandria about two hours before this happened; and though he seemed like a good ol' boy culturally, he seemed pretty cool, and was very cordial with us marchers , 3 of us - he knew we were Marchers from out of town.

I usually don't give people the benefit of the doubt, and the one time I do, I'm remind why I don't.

Apparently there is a large portion of white America who thinks nooses are funny! They are bolstered by a few of their Black lackeys like Bush appointee, U.S. Attorney Donald Washington, who defends that position.

If swastikas were being bandied about I’m sure much more of white America, particularly Israel supporting conservative white America, would see no joke in it.

Hanging nooses, particularly directed at African Americans who were the subject of mass lynching in this country for at least a couple of centuries; even into the lifetime of millions of people still living; is at best a deep seeded insult, co-signing that history, and quite often is an outright death threat.

Either way it is easily harassment and racial intimidation. No wonder these kids go around hanging nooses; their parents think its funny, like a woopie cushion in a chair or toilet papering a tree.

As I’ve been saying, Black folks better wake up and see what we’re dealing with out here.

The atmosphere of racial intimidation against the Jena High School teens was allowed to build because the school board, Jena High teachers, and district attorney Reed Walters wrote off the first salvo, the hanging of nooses, as prank. After all that has happen, how do some not get it? Or the better question is, why do some not want to get it?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reed Walters Conflict of Interest In Jena

I was recently told by someone that Jena District Attorney, Reed Walters, is also the School Superintendent that overturned the expulsion recommend by Jena High's principle for the noose hangers. I told him I didn't think that was accurate, but he insisted, and I just didn't respond after that; because I've learned not to argue with people who are dead set on believing something no matter how impossible or lacking in evidence.

Though I was hard pressed to imagine that even in a place as small as Jena, that one-person would be allowed to hold two public positions like that, and having read tons of resources on this story, I couldn't see how this factoid would have escaped me; I thought due diligence required that I investigate the claim.

This is one of those cases of "when there's smoke, there's fire".

No, Walters is not the school superintendent, I was right about that; but he did serve as the School Boards lawyer regarding the Jena 6.

Now Public has the article here

An excerpt reads:

"La Salle Parish school board member William Fowler tells Amy Goodman of Democracy Now that the lawyer representing the school administration is none other than the district attorney in charge of the case. This revelation is telling in that no DA's office anywhere in the United States would allow such a conflict of interest no matter how serious the case. The following is a brief transcript of a most shocking interview."

That's right. The guy who didn't bother to prosecute the death threat of the nooses, let black kids get beat down with a beer bottle and threatened with shot guns, and offered a probation in one case and no prosecution in the other, and who wanted to put 6 kids in prison, effectively for life; provided the legal representation that would mold the decisions of the school board in dealing with the noose threat, racial segregation and racial animus at the school.

But I guess the Jim Crow defenders, including the netroots-progressives, will continue to claim the deck wasn’t stacked against the Jena 6. Never mind that whole collision of power/separation of powers thing.