Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Update on the Jena Six

A while ago, I published a post about the Jena Six. To quickly recap the case, a black high school student asks permission to sit under the shade tree in front of the school, a place where the white students normally sit. The student plus a few more sit under the tree after being given permission. The next day, nooses are hanging from the tree in a clear allusion to the far-too-recent practice of lynching. This was written off as harmless. This event led to other black students been beaten by white students and harassed with shotguns. All of this happened without repercussion to the white students. Six black students beat up a white student leaving him with minimal injuries, so minimal that he could go out that night. These six students are being charged with ATTEMPTED MURDER.

The first one to go to trial was Mychal Bell. They tried to get him to plea, but Bell refused. His public defender was so outraged by Bell's rejection of the plea that he didn't even bother to launch a defense for him. Let that sink in for a minute. His lawyer sold him down the river because he was unwilling to listen to his client. As can be assumed by the outrage of the public defender, this was an almost-immediate conviction for Bell. So, think about that for a second, too. This guy jumped someone. This is, in pretty much everywhere else in America, a literal slap on the wrist. You pay some hospital costs and lawyer's fee, you are back to walking the street and getting wet with your friends by nightfall. You have to take a day off from work at most if you don't have a record, which none of these kids do. Even then, it's a year in jail at most. These kids could possibly spend the rest of their lives in jail for jumping someone. You need to finish reading about the rest of the new developments in this case over at the Black Agenda Report.

This case is only further proof that the American judicial system is horribly biased and in need of reform. I'm glad that Barack Obama feels that we are on the road to racial equality because I'm sure as hell not seeing it. Everywhere I look, I see laws and systems that are biased towards minorities, in particular Black Americans. I think this case is only further proof that Obama is seeing America through rose-colored glasses. His endless optimism is not well-suited for dealing with the realities that face Black America on a day-to-day basis.