Saturday, September 22, 2007

Jena Six

The Wikipedia page discussing the Jena Six contains the "weasel words" (a Wikipedia term used to denote misleading language):

Some residents of the town - both white and black - have expressed the view that the current problem is more the fault of outsiders using racial politics to influence the justice system
As if, in a town with thousands of people, it matters what an unknown, unquantified "some" believe, so much so that it should be the fourth sentence in the article that will probably turn up within the first five hits most people will see on a Google search for "Jena Six."

Indeed, some are trying to influence racial politics, but they're not keeping it in small towns where they won't let Blacks be equal with Whites. They're on the Internet, where they're trying to affect how you and I perceive the development of integration and racial harmony in this country which you and I and all of us have a stake in.

"Some" would apparently have us believe that one thing this whole chain of events in Jena is about is a lot of young people's inability to respect the law. An occurrence from early on in the chain of events that comprise the total controversy and ultimately led to the assault that is the subject of the "Jena Six" trial was the local DA's statement to a group of students that "[w]ith one stroke of my pen, I can make your life disappear." I don't think the inability of young black people to understand the proscriptions of the law or what a DA can do to them is really what this controversy is all about. I think real lesson for the country of the Jena Six controversy is that one small town in Louisiana was not able to avoid a hell of a lot of trouble because it was not willing to let a few kids sit under a tree. This chain of events is the fault of adults as much as it is of kids.