Friday, June 29, 2007

Black high school students in Louisiana threatened with lynching | Campaign for America's Future

Black high school students in Louisiana threatened with lynching Campaign for America's Future

In September 2006, a group of African American high school students in Jena, Louisiana, asked the school for permission to sit beneath a "whites only" shade tree. There was an unwritten rule that blacks couldn't sit beneath the tree. The school said they didn't care where students sat. The next day, students arrived at school to see three nooses (in school colors) hanging from the tree....
The boys who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The school administration chalked it up as a harmless prank, but Jena's black population didn't take it so lightly. Fights and unrest started breaking out at school. The District Attorney, Reed Walters, was called in to directly address black students at the school and told them all he could "end their life with a stroke of the pen."
Black students were assaulted at white parties. A white man drew a loaded rifle on three black teens at a local convenience store. (They wrestled it from him and ran away.) Someone tried to burn down the school, and on December 4th, a fight broke out that led to six black students being charged with attempted murder. To his word, the D.A. pushed for maximum charges, which carry sentences of eighty years. Four of the six are being tried as adults (ages 17 & 18) and two are juveniles....

Um, wow. Let me digest this. A 'whites only' shade tree. Three nooses in school colors hanging from said tree. A D.A. that tells black kids he could end their lives, and then tries his best to do so.

I live in Kitchener, Ontario. My community, for its size, has a surprisingly varied population, from Eastern Europeans to Jamaicans, from Christians to Muslims. We are not immune from hate crimes; recently a black man was assaulted by a couple of white teenagers in a city park for the stated reason that he was black. Generally, though, the various races and cultures get along around here in relative harmony. Perhaps that is because the standard of living isn't that bad, or because we're all too busy working and living to care much about the color of a neighbor's skin. I have known blacks, whites, Asians, Muslims, and Newfies, and what I know for sure is that each person, despite whatever cultural influences they might have, is their own person, and cannot be safely defined by their host culture. The biggest asshole I've ever known was a white guy. In fact, the top five assholes I've known were all white. I have met good and bad people from many cultural backgrounds, and there are no guarantees that one culture will produce better people than other cultures.

But damn if black people don't scare the hell out of white southerners.


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