Friday, September 21, 2007

Jena 6: Should They Be Punished for What They Did?

Although I am not naive enough to believe that racism is gone from our society, I am saddened to know that it can still be dispalyed in such a blatant manner. I personally have never been the recipient of overt racism, however, indirectly I see on a regular basis.

It has been said that Jena 6 could be the new "civil rights" movement. Unfortunately for me, I'm not sure if this is the case. I wonder where our "leaders" were when the nooses were being hung on the tree? Perhaps if they had been around, there would not have been a need for these six african american boys to take matters into their own hands. Futhermore, where will these "leaders" be when the smoke clears? Somehow it seems that they only become visible when there is an opportunity for press coverage.

I then wonder about us as a people. Have we become too complacent? Are we allowing other cultures to believe that since they have thrown us some bones, (a little money, fame, etc.), that we are happy with the status quo. I suppose to that end, we should not only rely on our "leaders" to make change. Rather, we as a people should rise to the occassion and tell society enough is enough.

Lastly, what of the Jena 6? Should they be punished for what they have done?


Wilson C said...

not sure what would have happened if they had lost the fight.

Derrick said...

I hope Jena 6 awakes everyone about injustice and i
pray this is a new civil rights movement and we as
black people should put the pressure on the politians
and our black leaders to continue to fight for us.

rhondajjoseph said...

I think they should be punished only with the punishment normally issued for that infraction. All the students who did anything that usually brings punishment should be subject to those rules.

The major frustration this case brings for me is in knowing that race relations are still so shabby in this country after all this time. I mean, teenagers get in trouble all the time. They fight over any number of things,and in this case the issue was race related. In a horrid extension of the race relations in that town and many other parts of this country, their punishment was grossly exaggerated and unjust. Such punishments have become the new weapons of choice for fighting racial equality in this society.

If the Jena 6 become the catalysts for a new civil rights movement, I pray the movement is towards eliminating the judicial system's ability to exact unfair punishments in lieu of the historical lynchings that previously served the same purpose.

Shelia said...

The punishment should be the same as the punishment that was given to the white students who hung the noose; who ganged up and beat up a black kid; who pulled out a gun and had he not been tackled probably would have shot someone...their punishment was a "slap on the wrist" to me that would have been fair...anything else is injustice.

sydney molare said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Sheila. If a slap on the wrist was good for the others, it should be good enough for these kids also.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with Shelia. Yes, they should be punished for their wrongdoing, BUT so should all the whites who have done wrong, in this case.

If the adults, both black and white, had what they should have done years ago, when it was an accepted fact that the only the white students could sit under the tree, this would have been nipped in the bud, long ago. The teachers shouldn't have let the tree be only for a segment of the students. The tree was on school property, so the black students shouldn't have even had to ask, if they could sit under the tree. All students can go into the gym, the cafeteria, etc., so why was that tree so different or sacred. Yes, I know, it was what it represented.

Lastly, it's not just the so-called leaders, who make to be easy scapegoats, who have failed our children, it's all adults.

tanya said...

I believe that both sides of the responsible parties should be punished for the incidents that occurred before the African American teenagers were jailed. I can't help but see that the song "We Shall Overcome" has passed over in some of our mindsets as finally arriving to the point of being treated fair and equal by 'society.' This is light years from being the case. I believe all parties should have been handled as teenagers and the law 'should have' protected all the teens in this light. But of course, the harsh reality sets in that the racial divide is still alive and kicking. What's worse is that I actually teach teenagers around the same ages as the Jena 6 young gentlemen, and some of my students stated that this case didn't affect them because they (my students) weren't directly involved. This disturbed me, but also, gave me a quasi-grim reality into the future of African Americans as a whole. If this incident does not spark some type of concern or interest in 'our future', what WILL our future look like?....
And, as for 'our leaders...'
if you compare the demonstration from a few days ago to those demonstrations during the 'Pure Civil Rights Era,' there are a multitude of differences. For one, everyone hopped on buses, and went to quietly demonstrate in support of the injustice of the Jena 6, and then, they turned around and went back home, to their freedom and normal way of life. But, in the 'Pure Civil Rights Era,' those same buses would have still been in Jena, the people who were down there to demonstrate, would have never left until they were given the word that the young men were set free. We have to be careful not assume that we have 'arrived to a destination' as a people, when actually, (and the Jena 6 case, along with some other high profile-media cases have shown that we, as a people still have a lot more buses to ride before we can do more than just have basic civil rights) we've only made it as far as another 'bus stop.'

Janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet said...

The punishment should be consistent with the crime. It also should be consistent with what is typically given in similar circumstances involving similiarly situated individuals, irrespective of their color, class, etc. Unfortunately, color and class have more to do with what type of charge or sentence an individual receives than the actual crime.

We have to be vigilant with respect to the people we elect in our local public offices. City attorneys, mayors, council people, all these positions deserve our attention as much as a presidential election because these people have a direct impact on our lives.

We also need to hold the white male dominated media accountable for the images the portray of black and brown people. Surely these images contribute to the proliferation of stereotypes associated with black and brown people. These stereotypes rear their ugly heads in how people are treated, whether or not they're hired, what type of service they receive, etc.

We need to challenge the status quo. We need to expose the white male dominated media moguls who make billions off of exploiting black male rappers. If 50 Cent is making 20M, you better believe some white guy is making 10 times that. Let's not be used and let's not let our children be used. The Jena 6 issue is not over, but it is a watershed moment in our history. Let's keep it moving!