Friday, September 28, 2007

Mychal Bell Released

JENA, La. -- A black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate prompted a massive civil rights protest here walked out of a courthouse Thursday after a judge ordered him freed.

Mychal Bell's release on $45,000 bail came hours after a prosecutor confirmed he would no longer seek an adult trial for the 17-year-old. Bell, one of the teenagers known as the Jena Six, still faces trial as a juvenile in the December beating in this small central Louisiana town.[1]

Today is a testament to a lot of things about America, some good and some not so good. Because I am a positive person I will start with the good, the first thing is that today in America there are enough voices of reason and right that a young black man who not long ago would have been lynched was able to walk out of a jail cell, a jail cell that if he had been lucky enough to have reached a few years ago would have been his home for the rest of his life. Let’s be honest there are many Mychal Bell’s buried in the history of America, who because they were black were murdered for less serious accusations than these.

It is a testament to those in the Black blogosphere and media who took up the mantle of these young men and kept it held high until others were able to rally. There were many who would have liked for this story to not have risen to the level that it did and that is due in large part to the pressure put on by the black bloggers. Congratulations, you all deserve a shout-out. While, I still believe that the power of organization through the internet is limited; I do think this is one of the circumstances when it can be utilized to its potential.

It is a testament of hope for all Americans who seek equal justice for all and who were willing to leave their homes and jobs and go to Jena, La and show that we will not stand for this treatment in 2007. There are a lot of things that we have to put up with as Black Americans, but this ain’t going to be one of them. This was not about just those boys; this was about justice for all of us. Whether we live in Boston, Dallas, LA, or any other place in America, we know that this is not an isolated incident and it could have been any of us.

Now, for the not so good. First of all, how those young men responded to the situation was wrong. I am not saying that they shouldn’t have stood up for what they believed in, but six against one that wasn’t justice that was just senseless violence and we have to know the difference. We, just as the D.A. have to acknowledge when we are wrong, if not our indictments of other people’s wrongs ring hollow.

The other is the response of the D.A. Reed Walters to the demonstration held in Jena; this guy has got to be the instructor for sensitivity training for the city of Jena. His comments demonstrate why the divide between black and white is so wide in America. He makes these insensitive remarks and then doesn’t understand how they could be taken offensively. Here is what he said.

An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 protesters marched in Jena last week in a scene that evoked the early years of the civil rights movement.

Walters said the demonstration had no influence on his decision not to press the adult charges, and ended his news conference by saying that only God kept the protest peaceful.

"The only way _ let me stress that _ the only way that I believe that me or this community has been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community," Walters said.

"I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that."

The Rev. Donald Sibley, a black Jena pastor, called it a "shame" that Walters credited divine intervention for the protesters acting responsibly.
"What I'm saying is, the Lord Jesus Christ put his influence on those people, and they responded accordingly," Walters responded

So here we have another white man expecting to see “negroes behaving badly”, in this case the only thing that prevented them from acting like Negroes was the power of God brought down by the prayers of all those good white folks. How can he not see how condescending this is? These good Christian folks are so righteous they live in a town that has black and white trees. Thank you God for the prayers of these good Christian white folks, no telling what those “black savages” might have done to our town and of course our womenfolk.

This is like the survey done during the OJ trial; it appears that being a racist is not considered by the majority of whites to be a hindrance to being a good cop; however blacks on the other hand definitely believed that it would impact someone’s job performance in a negative way to be a racist. Being a racist I guess will not interfere with one’s journey to meet their maker, who just so happens to be the maker of those same people you lynch and segregate from. Their God must be really proud of them. How can you be expected to worship God together in heaven, if you can’t worship him together on earth? Do they think there will be some cosmic transformation that will make everyone white in heaven, that we are made black on earth as some karmic backlash from God? I know the hymns say we will made white as snow, but I don’t think this is what they had in mind.


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