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Racism in the Dirty South

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September 1, 2007


While we are constantly distracted by the corporate media to believe that things like the Don Imus stupidity amounts to proof that racism is alive and well in America, real racism goes on unmolested and unreported. It is a shame that in 21st century America, we have made very little progress on matter of equality and race. Hundreds of years have produced many positive changes in the country and precious little change in the hearts of people who harbor hate toward other human beings because they are simply different.


If you want to see true racism, I direct you to Jena, Louisiana. In Jena, things like Don Imus are just silly things folks up north banter about while the true practice of racism is continually perfected. In a community that is 85% white there exists a High School where a popular shade tree had an unwritten “whites only” rule. That’s right America, at a public high school in Jena, Louisiana there was a shade tree that blacks were not allowed to sit under. Not a school code, just a communal understanding that whites have preference over blacks. So much was this an understanding at the school that a black student asked permission from the school to sit under the tree. The response the next day were three nooses, in the school colors, were hanging from the tree to greet the student who dared to question racism. Undeterred, black students went and sat under the tree. The students who hung the nooses were suspended and the administration chalked it up to a prank. That is what hanging nooses amounts to in the dirty south, a prank. Never mind the history of those who died at the end of nooses fighting for the freedoms that we are all supposed to be endowed with by our Creator. A prank.


What ensued was an outbreak of fights and unrest at the high school and quite frankly, understandably so. The community responded by sending the District Attorney out to the school, to address the black students. Not to talk to the white students, just the black students. As if that was not offensive enough the direct quote being attributed to the District Attorney toward the black students at this meeting was; “I can end your lives with a stroke of the pen.” Things continued to escalate in Jena as both sides continued their aggression. Black students were assaulted at white parties and three black teens accused a white man of pulling a shotgun on them in the parking lot of a convenience store. This all culminated with an assault by six black teens on a white teen as the result of a fight. The community’s response was to charge the six teens with attempted murder.


Never mind that the “assaulted” white teen was released from the hospital the same day and was seen at a social event later that day having no ill effects from the “attack.” Never mind that a few nights earlier a friend of one of the black teens had his skull opened by a broken bottle and the white assailant in that case was merely charged with “simple battery”; a misdemeanor. No, these six were charged with attempted murder. The first of the “Jena Six” went to trial where the charges were reduced to “aggravated battery”. In order for that to be the charge there needed to be a weapon. The weapon in this case? Tennis shoes. I kid you not. The black youth was defended by a public defender who called no witnesses on his behalf and the all-white jury convicted 17-year old Mychal Bell, who now awaits sentencing where he faces 22 years in jail for fighting with the deadly weapon of tennis shoes.

 There are five more of the “Jena Six” awaiting trial, rotting away in prison. They are still charged with attempted murder, so the bails could be set to a level that the families could not bail them out. Jordan Flaherty, the independent journalist who brought this story to the national stage understands what is really going on in Jena, “I don't think there is anyone around that would doubt that if this had been a fight between black students or a fight of white students beating up a black student, you would never be seeing this. It's completely about race. It's completely about two systems of justice." 

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I do not like using terms like the “dirty south” but this story is simply filthy. It speaks to our souls about who we are as a people. We like to think that we have advanced and progressed but every now and again there is a story like this one that should make you sick to your stomach. I know there is little we can do about bigots and racists. They will always be with us no matter how much we think we have grown as a people. What needs to be absolutely intolerable however is to have that bigotry and racism pervade our governmental systems. Justice is supposed to be blind and that includes color blind. The people of Jena should be ashamed of the taint they have brought to the national landscape. The larger issue remains though the people in positions of power who apparently not only support the inherent racism and bigotry but also drive it. The higher levels of government need to step in and correct this situation immediately. The District Attorney should be fired just for the threat he made to the high school students. Instead, he has kept to his word and is trying to end the lives of six youth with the stroke of his pen. The Public Defender should be fired and disbarred for not representing his client appropriately. Hopefully the judge will come to his senses before sentencing and begins to reverse this horrific trend of injustice.  

I do not hold out much hope though for justice in Jena. Somewhere six kids are in jail facing the obliteration of their lives for having a schoolyard fight, where no one was hurt. Somewhere there is a white community that is embracing this instead of being repulsed. Somewhere in America, racism is alive and well. 

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Anthony Wade, a contributing writer to opednews.com, is dedicated to educating the populace to the lies and abuses of the government. He is a 46-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple (more...)

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Where is the lamestream media on cases like this? ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 3:45:32 PM
I live here in the South and it's never going ... by C.Bid on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 5:14:14 PM
I am not sure where your facts are coming from but... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 5:24:36 PM
anthony asks a question, "where's the med... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:01:06 PM
I was not there so i can only go by what is being ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:41:33 PM
I NEVER CLAIMED THE KID WAS ALMOST DEAD...  A... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 1:58:05 AM
thank you, Anthony.  I've been follo... by Jan Baumgartner on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:58:52 PM
Unfortunately, i have not heard of the other cases... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:03:45 PM
jan makes a good point that it is not just limited... by Cheryl Biren on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:26:52 PM
JENA, LA - August 29Jena High School bans 'Fre... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 2:24:07 AM
...the media is currently engaged in telling us th... by Pappy on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 2:54:12 AM
Right wingers, racism, injustice... they're al... by Rob Kall on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 4:15:10 AM
"These redneck neanderthals are hereditary ab... by Richard Mathis on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 7:29:28 PM
for broaching something that i have noticed here o... by k kelly on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 5:48:33 AM
As far as I know, nobody has claimed that there wa... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 10:50:04 PM
"Right wingers, racism, injustice... they'... by J D on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 12:14:58 AM
Get lost.You're an idiot.What in f*ck's na... by C.Bid on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 6:37:14 AM
Even if the Black 16 year old participated in an a... by rhalfhill on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 7:10:04 AM
But there is a standard the courts go by and that ... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 11:56:13 AM
an article the other day discussing ecology vs cap... by tanya on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 8:01:11 AM
Pappy - i never said it was only in the south, thi... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 5:59:30 PM
I just read the Truthout piece. It is even worse t... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 6:13:49 PM
As I already said, I thought it was a good article... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 7:32:25 PM
We're probably not going to change either one&... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 8:46:54 PM
Pappy - i never said it was only in the south, thi... by Pappy on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 9:29:00 PM
I am from the south but have lived elsewhere. I ne... by Richard Mathis on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 9:01:05 AM
I feel very much the same way.And you made the poi... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 11:18:28 PM
The author of this piece is right about racism bei... by J D on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 11:53:54 PM
There's some truth to what you're saying -... by C.Bid on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 6:29:03 AM
Cagey,You're still an idiot.Don't you have... by C.Bid on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 6:47:52 AM
I missed alot of the end here. I will only say thi... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 8:12:29 PM
Pappy, whatever your issue with me is, you make it... by Pappy on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 2:37:59 AM
I will try and keep it short because i know that t... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Wednesday, Sep 5, 2007 at 10:19:31 AM
While the "attacks" were not ad hominem,... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Wednesday, Sep 5, 2007 at 12:17:18 PM
Residents: Nooses spark school violence, divide to... by J D on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 11:26:01 AM
Sir or Ma'am I want to know why this story is ... by EARL DIXON on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 1:27:03 PM
Hmmmm....Some new and interesting info is coming f... by J D on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 4:54:15 PM
or at least that's what their website said.How... by C.Bid on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 5:10:12 PM
If you would go to THIS article...go to your reply... by Pappy on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 at 3:54:14 AM
...it is fantastic that this particular news item ... by Pappy on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 at 4:00:02 AM
I will not allow you to dodge the point again. You... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 at 10:08:36 AM
...you wait for nothing.I still wait for the apolo... by Pappy on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 at 1:37:50 PM
who knows?  You may be elevated from just bei... by C.Bid on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 at 9:23:40 PM
I didn't think you were a man with any honor, ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Sep 14, 2007 at 5:35:13 AM