Monday, February 11, 2008

Why I'm Proud To Defend the Jena Six, Model Citizens or Not

Concerning Bryant Purvis' recent arrest in Texas and the debate about defending those who are not model citizens, some valid points have been pointed out

In a list serve discussion another blogger states in part that "the way this issue was framed actually made it about individuals - You can't go back now and say well that really didn't matter."

She goes on to state

"Nothing wrong with standing up for people, but how you frame the issue is important. When you are dealing with cirminal defendants, you are almost always dealing with someone who exercised poor judgement at the very least and engaged in criminal behavior at the very worse. I mean as far back as two months ago, the CBC was attempting to get a FULL pardon for the six teens from Blanco.

It is almost as if people don't know how to disengage and will ride
this bad boy into the ground. You saved their youth. What other role
do you have to play now?"

Here's what I think in regards to these points.

Sure, we have to be careful about how a protest is framed, but some of how anything is framed is out of our hands, as the run-away media will say what it wants to it's echo chamber of whites (including liberals) who minimalism racism.

It was always a lie that Jena 6 supporters thought that the young men should receive no punishment; yet, that's the lie that was spread by mainstream media and white "progressive" blogs alike, from day one.

Calls for pardon were after they had all already spent months in prison, and the DA was digging his heels in on going forward on trumped up charges and illegal prosecutions and tactics. It was a response to the failure of the legal system to provide equal protection under the law, so at that point a pardon was right. They
had already been punished, and the legal system was showing itself ineffectual in responding to a malicious prosecution.

When we get down to deciding who's rights should be defended and who's shouldn't based on who they are, then we get to a point where it's going to be:

They came for the Jena 6, but I said nothing because I was a well behaved Negro, and not a criminal like they
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak up.*

That may seem dramatic, but it's really not. If they can trample criminals rights, then they can trample yours too; especially when they do so based on the criminal being Black, as this article shows that in Louisiana Black youth are sentenced 6 times more harshly than white criminals who commit the same crimes:

And when they get through with the Black "criminals", taking away their rights; you want to know who they're coming after next to feed the prison industrial complex; The rabble rousers, the protesters, the intellectuals; just as tyrannies always do.

So yeah, I've seen where some people have run out in defense of somebody Black who got tazered, and it turns out his black ass was in the wrong, and deserved to be tased; so we do have to be careful - get our facts first, and make our arguments based on good knowledge.

But at the same time we can't let the "good test case"/model citizen ideal be the determining factor in whether we defend against injustice being committed against someone. The "good test case" thing really only applies to challenging unjust laws, not in challenging unjust prosecutions, when the law itself isn't at question.

*This section of my exegesis is an allusion to a poem entitled First They Came


Anonymous said...

We live in a time when the society is frustrated about the country's quiet slide into a canyon of insoluble mud. Not that we can never emerge to be what we used to be, but in the mean time everyone is looking for a "Venting Cause", and race is such an easy cause that gets everyone (except me, a Nabab) excited, and they do not take the time to think about social cause and effect.

The Jena6 has not done anything to bring Blacks together, to sensitize young blacks to their need to learn the values self identity, self confidence, conflict management and transforming emotional anger into peaceful resolution and humor. And this where Black religion fails.

The symbol of a hangman's noose is very old and is used by all sailors from time immemorial. I would have hung two more nooses on the tree and put white faces in them, and wait to see what idiotic frenzy would show up. Humor is a good healing tool which can erase violence.

Feb 29 2008

Yobachi said...

I completely disagree that the Jena 6 situation didn't do anything to bring Blacks together.

Nonsubjective evidence proves otherwise. First, we phyiscally came together for the largest civil rights demonstration in a generation.

Secondly, I know for a fact that preparing for that march allowed orgainzers in Nashville to build appartus to organize mobilization that did not before existed. I'm sure the same could be said else where.

Also local to nationaly mobilization was strength.

The online and blogger Black activist community came together for collective action on an unprecidentened level.

It is unfair to ask Jena to be the begin all and end all of all things.

One action never has, and could never solve everything/