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March on DC

The National Action Network, led by Reverend Al Sharpton, is leading a march on the U.S. Justice Department in Washington today. This is in response to Jena-6 as well as to “hate crimes and noose hangings on the rise across the country”.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Sharpton said, “We feel that the federal government has failed to intervene in the cases of hate crimes — swastikas and nooses…Since the federal government won’t come to the people, we’re going to bring the people to the federal government.” The Reverend believes that the DOJ should have responded to the “hate crime” of nooses hanging in a tree at the school in Jena, Louisiana last December. The white students who did not want fellow black students to sit under the white students’ tree, hung nooses in it. Black students retaliated by attacking a white student. 5 of the six black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder. The white student is said to have been suspended prior to the attack. (Just in case you did not know what happened in Jena.)

Once again we find ourselves facing an issue that boils down to freedom of speech and expression. Should the Department of Justice charge the white students with a hate crime for hanging a noose in a tree? The black students had control of their actions, regardless of being provoked, but their freedom to sit under a tree was impeded by the white students. Should not then the white students be reprimanded for impeding on the freedom of another human being?

  1. Sean says:

    If you have anymore concerns regarding race issues, please refer to a splendid article written by my-brother-in-color Sho Ikeda, titled I Hate Whitey.

  2. Timothy says:

    And also keep in mind that La Salle Parish went, by a fast majority, to David Duke the last time he ran for office.

  3. Timothy says:

    Are there still racial problems in the deep south? Yes. Is this really the best case to trot out as an example? Probably not. Although it does sound like there’s a history of inequitable charges being brought by the DA, which is what I’ve gathered is more the issue in this particular case. Not that the kids had a good reason to beat a dude, but that the charges are probably more severe than is warranted.

  4. de lancie says:

    sounds similar to what i read on wikipedia…

    sean: that is why in quotes does the post include more generally what the march is about. i took it from the NAN’s website. i am not saying whether or not i think this is or is not an isolated incident. but i agree that al sharpton does not.

  5. Blair says:

    Justin Barker, the white student who was the victim in the Jena Six beating, was not one of the thee white students who hung the nooses. If the Jena Six say they retaliated against Barker because he is of the same race as the students who hung the noose, this makes the attack a hate crime. Actually, the attack had nothing to do with the noose-hanging incident, which occured months earlier. The Jena Six were angry at Barker because they overheard him discussing a fight at a private party that involved one of their members. (Barker was expelled from school for having a shotgun in his truck, which was parked in the school parking lot; however, this occured months after the beating incident.)

    Jena High School teachers and students say that students of both races congreated from time to time beneath the tree. Hanging stuff from the tree was a tradition, especially during football season. The three students who hung the nooses said they did it to poke fun at friends who were members of the school rodeo team, an idea they say they got from the movie “Lonesome Dove.” They say they were unaware that noose could be construed as racist symbols. Federal agents and local authorities are on the record saying they believe the three student;s explanation.

  6. Sean says:

    The thing is, it’s easy for us to look at what happened as an isolated incident. And it very well may be. But in the Deep South, with their history, it’s hard for them to look at what happened out of context.

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