Friday, September 21, 2007

The Jena Six: Learning to be Stupid

I’m late to the party with anything to say about the Jena 6. Though I can no longer handle crowds, I have to be grateful for the Louisiana demonstrations for bringing it to my attention. I did a little review of background, consequently. The first dumb thing I encountered was that some idiots hung up some hanging nooses under the “white tree” of the campus after an African-American youth sat under it on sunny day.

School officials get the Giant Dunce and Bigotry Award for treating the issue like a schoolboy prank. Their idea of discipline was ISS, or in-school suspension. Nooses hanging in the summer breeze of Louisiana isn’t my idea of a prank. Treating it as a prank creates the impression that psychological intimidation is okay in the Jena schools. If the “prank” can’t be prosecuted under the hate crimes laws, then school officials should have levied the harshest punishment they could inflict, which is to kick the offenders out of the mainstream school permanently.

In the shadow of that stupidity and others which followed the incident, young man Mychal Bell gets a heavy jail term for participating in the beating of a white student in an altercation. There’s no reason for anyone to be beating on anyone and that needs to be punished but it seems as if that’s the only punishment that was meted out for anyone involved in the Jena 6 fiasco. People in the Jena schools seem not to comprehend that they have a great responsibility in dealing with America’s kids. What they do can teach valuable lessons or it can do great harm.

In this case, it did great harm. There ain't no "white trees" in America.

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