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Friday, September 21, 2007

Turn it Around

Tens of thousands showed up in Jena, La. to protest for the "Jena 6"; six black high school being prosecuted for beating a white student unconscious at school.

The original problem was that some white students, who'd claimed a tree as their hang out (and evidently it had been a "white" hangout for decades) decided to hang nooses from it when black students decided they wanted some shade, too. The school suspended a few kids, but really didn't make a big deal of it. They probably should have made a bigger deal of that.

This caused some bad feelings; rightfully so; and led to an escalating group of fights between the students. When it was one on one, or groups against groups, it seems that all were treated equally, and given 3 days suspensions for the fights.

However, when 6 people beat one, and he was taken to the hospital, the police got involved, and the DA filed attempted murder charges against the six. Considering the kid was treated and released, it probably was a reach on the charges, and they were reduced to second degree battery.

That, apparently, is still too much for a lot of folks, since they came by the thousands to protest. Yet, when compared with other such crimes in other cities, the charges aren't that tough, and probably should have be prosecuted under hate crimes statues.

When you look at the facts, a racially motivated beating, six people of one race on one of another, who according to the evidence had nothing to do with the noose incident, it fits the bill of a hate crime.

Were the rolls reversed here, we'd still have had a protest in Jena. Had the DA let six white kids go back to school after putting a beating on a black student, the buses still would have rolled, complaining about the fact it wasn't prosecuted as a hate crime.

Six on one beatings aren't "boys will be boys" school yard fights, contrary to what some of the protesters believe. And, if they really want to "begin healing" Jena, as Rev. Jackson claimed yesterday, maybe they should put the shoes on the other feet for a few minutes, and see if they'd be satisfied if six white students were put back in class after such actions.

The only way to "racial healing" is to look at it through both sides of the glass. Yes, the kids who hung the nooses were treated too lightly, but that doesn't give carte blanche to others to go around beating folks based on their race, regardless of who is being beaten and who's doing the beating.

Technorati Tags: Jena 6, Racism, crime, punishment, Jesse Jackson, Hate crimes

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