Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"White Tree"

I am very angry and upset tonight and all of it stems from a "White Tree" in Louisiana.

I was reading my blog favorites today -one of which happens to belong to a cousin of mine and her husband who live down in Tennessee. It's on my favorites list then for obvious reasons - a means to keep in touch with them, see how much their little girl has grown, exchange a few family pleasantries now and then as well as show our mutual support of our favorite university and football team. Cousin Erika and I are both graduates of Penn State University and I think you all know by now I'm a big Nittany Lion fan.

Today, when reading Erika's husband's post, I noted in the comments section a reference to a website and a request to support the "Jena 6." I had no idea what this was about but being curious, I copied the url over and opened the site.

What I read there was this article about racial injustice that is alive, very well and kicking furiously down in Jena, Louisiana!

I'm not going to write the details here - you can go to this website and read the articles for yourself - all very well written, detailing what has transpired in this little town.

I will say this much about the situation - and somehow, referring to it as a "situation" makes is seem so much lighter, less important than this really is but I am at a loss for words how else to describe it. It is appalling, absolutely appalling to read about the gross miscarriage of justice taking place in that community in this day and age.

What is wrong with people -people who are in elected positions on school boards, holding high office like the district attorney, the general citizenry of the community at large that they can't comprehend the illegality of their actions? What on earth has to happen to make people understand racism is not just immoral, ethically wrong but carried out the way it was in this town by the legal system, it is illegal!

Please, take the time to read this piece and if you are in a position to step forward and help -even if it is just to make people aware of what happened and is continuing to happen to these people in Jena, Louisiana, maybe it will help in some small way.

To leave this type of treatment continue to be carried out in this country really shows the inhumane side of many people in our society today.

Peace. Please!


dr sardonicus said...

The old ways die hard in some parts of the South. Since I moved down here, I've found this paradox. Most Southerners do not condone racism of this sort. Yet native Southerners are also the most tradition-bound people I've ever encountered. The problem is that so much of the racism that persists down here is rooted in the very traditions native Southerners hold dear.

Living in an urban area, I rarely hear of this sort of thing being out in the open, but I'm also aware that there are places in the rural South where people still run around in white robes and hoods, and burn crosses.

Asoom said...

Interesting post! I'm a relatively new blogger, southerner arab, and just published a post on Jena 6 that I thought you might be interested in, check it out

Posolxstvo said...

Mrs. P is from Louisiana, and I can honestly say that I am often surprised while visiting down there to hear some of the things coming out of the mouths of seemingly well-adjusted, integrated people. Not that it excuses anything, but some things are very different in that part of the woods than they are here for sure. Read John Grisham's A Time To Kill, as I think he explains it in a rather interesting manner in that book.

But I think the point I would like to make is a response to a comment in the article you linked us to, wherein which someone stated that the nooses hanging from the tree were a "hate crime." While it is true that "hate" was involved, I want to know what the "crime" was.

And while I hate "hate" and agree that the act of hanging nooses from the "white tree" was a reprehensible act, I think that for something to be a hate crime, an actual crime has to be committed.

Further, when ideas are countered with physical actions, rather than counter-ideas, this sort of escalation can easily happen. And while it is easy to point back to the nooses and the white tree itself, every single link in the chain as described had some culpability in the outcome.

Hate naturally begets hate. It is hard to counter hate with something other than hate. But it is what we must all do in order to bring about an end to hate in our society.

At least, that's what I *think* has to happen. I don't have all the answers.

Gene Bach said...

Racism will be alive and well long after we are all dead. Just keep in mind that it's not always "whitey" that's in the wrong. While I will agree that the little morons who put the ropes in the tree should have their feet held to the fire I will not stand up and ralley for the other little morons who decided to try and beat a kid to death.

Wrong is wrong and should not be treated as matter what color you are.

Jeni said...

I do agree completely with what each of you here has said about this particular case.
Like you Gene, I certainly do not condone the actions of the six young men in assaulting the one guy and for that, they should be charged - yes - but charged accordingly too.

But in looking at the article and the events leading up to all this, the manner in which each set of circumstances was handled - well, certainly could and should have been done much, much differently right from the get-go -and in my mind, that would be from having a tree in the school yard labeled as the "White Tree" not being the center point. The rest is all a smoldering fire just waiting for the right blast of air to come into full force - which it did when the six took actions on their own. That's my take on that anyway.

Gene Bach said...

Agreed on the "white tree" excuse for that at all. Those days should be long gone. Rotten situation all the way around.

Linda said...

I agree with you on this one, Jeni. That particular keg of dynamite never should have been sitting there in the first place.

Sometimes even though we seem to have come so far, it's disheartening to find that we haven't moved at all.