Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Racing to the bottom

Consider this some updates and footnotes to the continuing story of the Jena 6, specifically aimed at those bozos and bigots who insist it had nothing to do with race and that racism is a dead issue in the country. The items are sort of old - ancient in blogtime, in fact - but they need to be noted and recorded. First up is this:
No sooner did tens of thousands of African-American demonstrators depart the racially tense town of Jena, La., last week after protesting perceived injustices than white supremacists flooded in behind them,
reported the Chicago Tribune on September 24. First a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses, and phone numbers of some of the Jena 6 and suggested people should "drag them out of the house."

Then Richard Barrett, the leader of the Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement, a white supremacist group, published interviews he conducted with Jena Mayor Murphy McMillin and Justin Barker. Told of Barrett's desire that the town "set aside some place for those opposing the colored folks," McMillin said he wouldn't endorse any demonstrations but "I do appreciate what you are trying to do. Your moral support means a lot." Barker, for his part, said white readers of the interview should "realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind." Barker's family claims they didn't know the nature of Barrett's group when they agreed to the interview; Barrett disputes that. In either event I don't know why that's supposed to make a difference in the meaning of what Barker said, especially as the family has not challenged the accuracy of the quote.

A couple of days later, Reed Walters, the DA prosecuting the 6, proved his own non-racist bona fides by declaring at a press conference on September 27 that
"I firmly believe that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened....

"The Lord Jesus Christ put his influence on those people, and they responded accordingly," he continued.
Because, as we all know, a group of black people can't be trusted to be, in fact they can't be, peaceful and dignified except as a result of divine intervention. And it is clearly, unquestionably, not racist to say that. No siree.

There was also nothing racial in the fact that Walters claimed he didn't prosecute the students who hung the nooses in the tree because he couldn't find a law that established "a crime that I could prosecute. There is none." That despite the fact that Louisiana Revised Statute 14:107.2 creates a hate crime for any institutional vandalism or criminal trespass motivated by race. That is, the man who turned a schoolyard assault into attempted murder and sneakers into "deadly weapons" couldn't figure a way to make hanging nooses in a tree on school property a case of vandalism. But there's no racism there. None. Couldn't be: Race was not an issue in the case. Walters and McMillin both said so.

What's more, there also was no racism on display in Palmdale, California, late last month, when a white security guard at the local high school attacked a 16-year old black girl after he claimed she didn't completely pick up a piece of birthday cake she accidentally dropped on the lunchroom floor during a lunch-hour birthday celebration for a friend.

He grabbed her, slammed her head against a table, twisted her arm behind her back so violently that he broke her wrist, handcuffed her, and called her a "nappy-head." When he realized he was being videoed, he tackled the student, a 14-year old black boy, doing it. When the boy's older sister tried to help him, she was also assaulted and handcuffed - and also suffered a broken wrist as a result. When the first girl's mother got to the school and demanded to see her daughter, she was accused of battering the school principal (who is white) and was arrested.

So here's the result: The first student, Pleajhia Mervin, has, again, a broken wrist. She has been expelled from school and will have to go to an expulsion hearing. She was ticketed for littering. She was accused of battering the guard - who, hilariously, claimed he felt "threatened" by her.

The boy, Joshua Lockett, was on probation for robbery and was held on suspicion of violating his probation, which, I take it, must have included requirements that he not document a case of brutality or get tackled by an out-of-control security guard.

Lockett's sister Kenngela, also with a broken wrist, was also arrested.

Mervin's mother, Latrisha Majors, spent the night in jail. She was suspended without pay from her job as a special-education instructional assistant pending the outcome of her criminal case.

Oh, and the guard? He has been placed on leave - not suspended, placed on leave - with pay pending an investigation by the school district. His name, unlike the others, was not publicly released.

There is, needless to say, no racial component to any of this.

I'm so glad racism is not a problem any more in the US. Just imagine what could happen if it was.

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