more on the Jena six
I really like this article in the Financial Times today about the Jena six – the author captures my personal opinion about the matter pretty well. Read the whole thing here or just read the last two paragraphs below:
“Civil rights groups have been demonstrating in solidarity, accusing the town, the state and the country as a whole of allowing a racist system of justice to persist. The issue arose in the first place, they say, because of white bigotry. As events unfolded and escalated, white offenders were treated mildly, they argue, while black offenders faced all the punitive savagery that America’s criminal justice system is capable of. Shamefully, the facts appear to bear this out.
The black youths appear to have committed a nasty assault. This was more than a schoolyard brawl, and could have ended in serious injury. It warranted police intervention. The young men need to be punished and should command no respect. Campaigners who hold up the “Jena Six” as something close to heroes, as some do, are not helping the cause of racial equality. Nor was Jesse Jackson, when he characterised Barack Obama’s measured and sensible comments on the issue as “talking like a white man” – a racist provocation of another kind. But none of this diminishes the scandal of the wider circumstances: first, the school’s apparent tolerance of bigotry, and then the authorities’ zeal to punish blacks, though not the white racists who provoked them, to the fullest extent of the law. The president’s “sadness” is a sadly inadequate response.”