x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
Having trouble collecting my thoughts. The sleep deficit I’ve been racking up the past week has rendered me cognitively insolvent. So, just a few quick Jena links, followed by some vids (and then, hopefully, a respite from perpetual somnolence):
As expected, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters will allow Mychal Bell to be retried as a juvenile. However:
It remained uncertain when or whether Bell — one of the group known as the Jena Six — might be released from jail.
His case remains in juvenile court and the prosecutor, District Attorney Reed Walters, said he did not know whether a judge would set bail. Pending a decision on bail, Bell would be transferred to a juvenile facility, Walters said.
[update: elle, phd reports that Bell has FINALLY been released on bail. About GODDAMN time. – mb]
Walters had said he would appeal that decision. On Thursday, he said he still believes there was legal merit to that decision but he decided it was in the best interest of the victim and his family to let the juvenile court handle the case.
“They are on board with what I decided,” Walters said of the Barkers.
Well, that’s certainly mighty white of y’all.
The New York Times and other news outlets of record refused to cover the story of nooses, unequal justice, unequal protection under the law and the beating of a high school student until these events sparked a protest so massive that they simply could not ignore it.
Now, the New York Times has given Jena district attorney Reed Walters a global platform to make his case without the slightest challenge.
PA: A lot of Southern people are getting nervous about the focus on the South again, and they are pointing out, I think correctly, that this isn’t just a Southern problem. Do you have a comment on that?
TW: Oh definitely. First of all, the last cases in which the attention of the nation and the world was focused on racist injustice in this country in such a dramatic way were Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima in New York City. They were the victims of terrible, genocidal violence, one shot down in a hail of 41 bullets, and the other sodomized in a police station by police officers. So this is not just the South. This is a nationwide problem, and we have to take action to stop it. It is absolutely crucial to turning this country around and turning it in a progressive direction – to fight back and defeat this creeping racist offensive we are seeing against Black youth. Of course, there is also the anti-immigrant movement, all the immigrant bashing, which is another form of this attempt to split and divide us. There were many people I interviewed there in Jena who were calling for unity against racism, and they really need white people to join in this fightback. I think it is our duty to respond to that call.
Wheeler includes some interesting examples that illustrate the diversity of those who felt obligated to answer the call in an article published in this weeks issue of PWW:
Curtis Nelson and 149 other members of a motorcycle club in Moss Point, Miss., joined by 72 bikers from Baton Rouge, roared into Jena on their Harley-Davidsons. “Penitentiary for six teenagers for a fist fight? That’s cruel!” Nelson told the World. “When I was in high school you got suspended for getting in fights. And what about the white student who brought a loaded gun to school? They confiscated his gun and hushed it up. That’s not equal justice.”
[A] word of advice to people who are discussing the Jena 6 case, when people try to frame the discussion around only the fight or only Jena, Louisiana, don’t let them. The case itself is much broader, and the issues of our criminal (in)justice system are way bigger than Jena, Louisiana.
Rachel also offers an up close and painfully personal glimpse at her own all-to-familiar (and familial) relationship with bigotry, noting that:
[r]acism is so insidious that it anesthetizes people to suffering of others (even others who they care about). It destroys empathetic reactions to human suffering. The victims of racism are expected to be the “bigger people” while the perpetrators get the “Get Out of Racism Free” card. Even when they know racist behavior is wrong and harmful, many white observers of racism suffer from moral paralysis. Rather than doing what is morally right, they do nothing.
Finally, after the fold, some music (both new and not so new) that has kept me from declaring mental bankruptcy this week. Wish me luck tonight, brethren.