The Jena 6 and Iraq

Imagine you are an Iraqi who knows something of American history, and admires it. You have read John Winthrop’s famous … Continued

Imagine you are an Iraqi who knows something of American history, and admires it.

You have read John Winthrop’s famous City on a Hill speech, about America as a community where people labor, suffer and rejoice together. You are familiar with the bold statements about human equality and the guarantees of due process in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. You have heard about Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and others who fought to extend the American promise to all people regardless of background.

You believe America is a place where people from the four corners of the world live in equal dignity and mutual loyalty. And America – although she makes mistakes, and sometimes acts narrowly and selfishly – can help other places build democracy and pluralism as well.

Now imagine that you are watching and reading recent news reports of the Jena 6 (this is assuming, of course, that your electricity is working).

You must be asking yourself: What is a “white tree”? Aren’t nooses the ugliest symbols of a past that America is proud to be beyond? What of excessive criminal charges based on race? Aren’t American prosecutors and American judges impartial?

You see leaders from the Civil Rights era marching in support of the Jena 6, but you remember that part of what made the Civil Rights Movement great was that people responded peacefully to police dogs and water cannons. Didn’t these six kids from Jena stomp another kid unconscious?

You start to watch the various videos on You Tube related to this incident: the Neo-Nazis organizing and threatening, whites and blacks calling each other vile names, the promises of violence and the plots of revenge.

You think about Iraq. There are roving bands of young men from both sides looking for people to stomp (and worse). There are police and prosecutors and judges who are so partial that people from a different community don’t even hope for fair treatment. There are Sunni and Shia neighborhoods.

You wonder if there are Sunni and Shia trees.

“Isn’t America trying to build pluralism in Iraq?” somebody asked me hopefully at a talk I gave at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs last week.

What might our imaginary Iraqi think of such a question?

Perhaps he would suggest that we build pluralism at home.

Written by

  • Blair

    Jena High School administrators, teachers and students, according to ABC News, say virtually all students—black as well as white—congregated beneath the “white tree” from time to time. According to local reporters, the black student who asked permission during a school assembly to sit beneath the tree did so in jest; the entire auditorium erupted in laughter. The three white students who hung nooses from the tree claim they were they did as a continuation of the joke. This sounds hard to believe, but federal agents from the Justice Department investigated and determined there were not grounds to file hate crimes charges. The three students were not simply suspended for three days. They were forced to attend an alternative school for one month and then were given an in-school suspension. Federal investigators looked into the incident and determined there were no grounds to charge the three with a hate crime. The other incidents in Jena were not connected to the noose-handing incident. They stemmed from a fight at a private party. Both black and white students attended the party, but trouble started when a group of uninvited black athletes attempted to crash the party. Rather than call police, one white teenager, who was not a student, beat up one of the students (Robert Bailey) who were attempting to crash the party. Similar fights take place all the time across the Untied States when groups of uninvited teenagers, regardless of race, attempt to crash private parties. The white non-student was charged with assault.Witnesses support the white student’s testimony in the convenience store incident. The same group of black students who attempted to crash the private party confronted the white teenager—who had attended the party—inside the convenience store and chased him to his truck in the parking lot. He pulled the shotgun to defend himself. His fears seem well-founded since the black students were the same ones who would later beat Justin Barker at Jena High School.The black students involved in the Barker beating say they were angered because Barker taunted Bailey about losing the fight at the private party. Barker denies he taunted Bailey but claims he was attacked simply because he was at the party. Barker was not one of the students who hung the nooses, and none of the black students involved claimed they were motivated by the noose hanging incidence. The black students followed the white student from the locker room to the school ground. One of the black students hit Barker from behind and knocked him unconscious. As he lay unconscious, one of the black students stood on his head while the others kicked him in the head and body. (It was more than a schoolyard fight. Imagine the outcry if the six attackers had been white and the victim black.) The attack probably doesn’t qualify as a hate crime, because the black students didn’t single out the victim merely because he was white but because, they claim, he taunted Bailey about loosing the fight at the party.The original charges of attempted murder were dropped before 16-year-old Mychal Bell’s went to trail. The probably reason the local prosecutor want to charge Bell with attempted murder was so that he could be tried as an adult. His conviction on aggravated assault was overturned because the court ruled he should not have been tried as an adult under the lesser charges. He remains in jail because he was on parole from previous convictions, including two cases of battery and two conviction of criminal damage to property. He beat his 17-year-old girlfriend so severely her eye was dislocated from its socket. He was placed on probation until his 18th birthday. All the other defendants also have prior criminal records.

  • caesar

    What it comes down to is severity of brainwashing done unto individuals as nations,though in Islam terms of brainwashing done in relative genuine difference’s not depths of cunning as deceit.The present division in IRAQ brought about during the initial parting of tribe’s there was none strong enough in ALLAH’S favour to bring unity holding all sides together with a few words that opened the heart as communicating in ALLAH’S name..of course when division goes on for years decades then unto hundreds of years,then you have real problems,of course the solution then is the same as today for IRAQ’S people there need to be one whom speaks with the authority of ALLAH, WIPING AWAY HATE AS MALICE FROM THE HEART THAT ALL IN FREEDOM AS ONE VOICE CRY…ALLAH BE PRAISED…THE LOVE POWER OF ALLAH,SO GREAT IT BUT NEED COME AS A GENTLE WHISPER ON THE BREEZE,FREEING EACH HEART FROM ITS TORMENT OF BEING IN SATAN’S CLUTHCHES. SUCH THE MESSAGE FROM ALLAH..AS CARRIED TO ALL THE PEOPLE’S OF IRAQ….IT BE NOT ENOUGH BOWING BEFORE ME WITH EMPTY HEART,GIVING PRAISE OF MOUTH,IN EMPTY MEANINGLESS WORDS.GO,FIRST SEEK OUT,ALL BROTHERS SISTERS,MAKE PEACE WITH THEM.

  • issa

    Mr. Patel,”In the past, Ramadan in Kashmir has been marked by increased violence as Muslim militants believe those who die fighting during the holy month gain more heavenly rewards.”Please address this concerns. As long as death as martyr is sought -there is increasing violence for Islam.

  • meldupree

    The Bush administration went to “export” democracy to the known world when it cannot get its own domestic house in order. Hypocrisy of the highest stench.

  • jordan

    Point taken…which is why the troops in Iraq should pack up their lies (aka: objectives for occupation) & return to their barracks in North Carolina, and other military bases throughout the un-United States. Surely, the issues of Louisiana residents in New Orleans (Katrina- broken levees & “refuge” status) & Jena (glaring disparities in criminal prosecutions) are serious concerns that need remedy. Certainly, the solutions in the US will not include the partitioning of people and territory experienced in India & Pakistan– Kashmir (1947) or suggested of the Sunni & Shia population. hmm….then again, that may be a thought after-all. Leave Washington, D.C as Kashmir and let the two groups settle it amongst themselves.

  • Telling_It_Like_It_Is

    As to the authors statement: “You see leaders from the Civil Rights era marching in support of the Jena 6, but you remember that part of what made the Civil Rights Movement great was that people responded peacefully to police dogs and water cannons. Didn’t these six kids from Jena stomp another kid unconscious? “There were NUMEROUS INCIDENTS and MONTHS that passed by before the actual fight that led to the Jena 6 arrest. One that involved a white kid pulling a GUN on some black kids. So please make sure all the events are given and reported correctly, so not to sound as if these 6 kids from Jena were acting irrationally. One thing most people seem to forget or not acknowledge, including yourself, is that SEVERAL MONTHS had gone on since the initial NOOSE incident occured and several incidents involving racial fights where NO WHITE people were charged with ANY SERIOUS crime. After the NOOSE incident the black community tried to RESOLVE the matter through the school and principal in a PEACEFUL manner, however they were not heard and told to buzz off. (See in a democratic society the citizens are supposed to be heard when there is a situation, that’s what causes the decrease in violence. However, if they are not heard you get undersirable outcomes.) You see this is 2007, supposedly several years after blacks were supposed to get their rights and be heard. What is disturbing is to see that such is not true. There still exists an UNFAIR level of whites over black, which main stream America tries to ignore. Just ask yourself, when was the LAST BLACK FEMALE you’ve seen the MEDIA trying to locate because she is missing??? Just ask how many blacks in CONGRESS??? Just ask how many black Presidents we have had??? All the way up the ladder there is an unfair treatment of blacks, even though no one wants to admit it.And yes that does make it more difficult for the U.S. to fight terrorism’s evil belief system. Because it shows how hypocritical people can be. We must understand that all have sinned and there are NO PERFECT people in this world. The U.S. has the best system setup and I would not trade it for anything else on this world. However, I still can acknowledge that the people running the system don’t always do the best in enforcing the rules. You see if the principal had addressed the issue originally and heard the black community out, this could have been kept peaceful. Furthermore, if the initial NOOSE incident had been met with justice and those kids were thrown out of school, you would not have the built up hostility and the events that occured later, could have been avoided. So like I started off in the beggining, let’s please make sure all events are reported correctly to make sure people get a fair shake.

  • Maha

    The Jena 6 seem to be getting quite a bit of extra attention because of this incident. I am surprised though because they have a pretty violent past. However, just because they have a violent streak does NOT mean its okay to be unfair to them – it just makes it easier. If these kids were just a few harmless children that got caught up in this mess – I would sympathize (and to a certain extent I still do) – but given their history I dont see many people taking their side. The reason why they are in jail is still unclear. Is it because they violated parole or this??? I see that some famous names out there are having a field day because of the Jena 6 though. They are making it seem like some poor innocent children who were suffering at the hands of some very vicious people are being persecuted for simply being black. People, that is not the case. This is simply an excuse to get everyone all riled up.I am all for Civil Rights and Equality – but this is just an example of how powerful our media is…nothing more then that.

  • Maha

    The Jena 6 seem to be getting quite a bit of extra attention because of this incident. I am surprised though because they have a pretty violent past. However, just because they have a violent streak does NOT mean its okay to be unfair to them – it just makes it easier. If these kids were just a few harmless children that got caught up in this mess – I would sympathize (and to a certain extent I still do) – but given their history I dont see many people taking their side. The reason why they are in jail is still unclear. Is it because they violated parole or this??? I see that some famous names out there are having a field day because of the Jena 6 though. They are making it seem like some poor innocent children who were suffering at the hands of some very vicious people are being persecuted for simply being black. People, that is not the case. This is simply an excuse to get everyone all riled up.I am all for Civil Rights and Equality – but this is just an example of how powerful our media is…nothing more then that.

  • Shemia

    Never is a noose a “plaything”. Maybe for those of you who believe that blacks should be hung from them, but for me, a black person living in a so-called free America, it is considered a threat on my life. How dare you pass this off as some sort of school yard prank. Attacking the young man was not right by any stretch of the imagination but neither was pulling a gun on someone. I am not saying that those students shouldn’t have been punished, I am just saying that the punishment was rather excessive.

  • rich

    yes, lets please put all the facts our there so everyone can see the truth. The Jena 6 are no angles and no symbols of racial problems except in the black community. Have you checked the rap sheet on Mychael? Yes there were problems on both sides of the fence prior to the 6 blacks beating a white kid unconscious. That was an assault no matter where it occurred. I love how some try to portray it as some school yard fight. Six people jumping someone is premedatated assault and they should be in jail. Now list the other problems and what was done and see if any rise to this and if they do they should be dealt with in the same manner as these six have been. These six black kids picking out some white kid to beat unconscious is not acting rationally as the person above seems to indicate. Also, why were they not charged with a hate crime?

  • Major Combat

    Mr Patel,you have hit the nail on the head. We should look in our own house before we try to nation build and conquer new lands. Flawed policies at home and abroad by this afdministration has set us back instead of moved us forward….. America deserves better and so does the world. In the past 6 1/2 years we have lost all Moral High Ground and have sunk to the gutter as our “leadership” took a 6 1/2 year vacation…. The lack of leadership and the bitter hate speak by the Neocons has moved our country back 40 years in time. I am embarrased to admit that the “terrorists” have succeeded in dragging us into their world or divisiveness and hate. Heckova Job Bushies!

  • Bill

    “Wondering if there are Shi’a trees”? How about Shi’a neighborhoods, cities, provinces, countries? Sorry, Mr. Patel, but I don’t think the average Iraqi would have a hard time figuring out what a “white tree” might mean. Nor do I think they have a very difficult time discerning the difference between the official line of government-issued propaganda and the facts on the ground. And, were I an Iraqi, the last American hypocrisy I’d be concerned about would be the symbolics of our national dialectic on race. Don’t know about you, but I’d be far less concerned about the gap between “inclusive” and “unfair” and far more concerned about the gap between “liberation” and “religious death squads”. And, frankly, I’d be insulted by insinuation that this mere mistrial of justice, no matter how symbolic, is anywhere near as vicious as the sectarian conflicts ripping Iraq apart.

  • Bill

    “Wondering if there are Shi’a trees”? How about Shi’a neighborhoods, cities, provinces, countries? Sorry, Mr. Patel, but I don’t think the average Iraqi would have a hard time figuring out what a “white tree” might mean. Nor do I think they have a very difficult time discerning the difference between the official line of government-issued propaganda and the facts on the ground. And, were I an Iraqi, the last American hypocrisy I’d be concerned about would be the symbolics of our national dialectic on race. Don’t know about you, but I’d be far less concerned about the gap between “inclusive” and “unfair” and far more concerned about the gap between “liberation” and “religious death squads”. And, frankly, I’d be insulted by insinuation that this mere mistrial of justice, no matter how symbolic, is anywhere near as vicious as the sectarian conflicts ripping Iraq apart.

  • Jody

    Jena 6 is just an example of how Americans can be manipulated by a few folks for their own agenda. Do a google search on Jena 6 and see how many reports there were putting up a false story of racial turmoil in Jena LA. The school and community has been falsely accused of things that just did not happen. The town was invaded by a horde of folks who cannot clean up their own back yard. Too bad for Jena but who cares?

  • Rita Rousseau

    Thank you, Mr. Patel, for your thought-provoking commentary linking two extremely painful issues.But it seems to me that the biggest issue in Jena–and the biggest issue in Iraq–is this: What can we do NOW to find a way to live together in peace? After all the resentment and hatred and injustice and violence and the world’s opprobrium, where in God’s name do we go from here? How can people on different sides let down their guard enough to hear the Other, but not so much as to be victimized again?

  • Mlee

    For the most part America has come a long way from that era. I don’t think the Sunnis and Shia is the right comparison to the Blacks and whites of America. It sounds like you are implying that America will never be able to establish pluralism in Iraq b/c we lack of it ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, the race issue in America is still an issue and by no means am I supportin our presences in Iraq but I don’t know any country that does not struggle with race and prejudice. America is not alone in having these problems so we shouldn’t hide it or try to ignore it just b/c we feel we’re past this stage but to recognize it and address it on a national level. Its hard when racist kids are brought up and raised by racist adults. These communities in the rural areas are not brought up in a community of cooperation and looking past the color of their skin still

  • pax412

    In all honesty I don’t think that many non-Americans familiar with our history would be too surprised at the developments in Jena and elsewhere. Since the advent of the slave trade America has been projecting an image of the do as I say not as I do Hypocrite to the rest of the world. I mean just look at how the White House and Republicans in congress treated the citizens of Washington D.C. denying them representation in their own government.I’m sorry to say that our imaginary Iraqi and many others around the world have a more nuanced and realistic view of American politics and shortcomings than most so called informed Americans. And the longer we inflict such great violence on the Iraqi people the more they will become jaded and suspicious of the American claims of support for democracy and freedom.

  • Mlee

    For the most part America has come a long way from that era. I don’t think the Sunnis and Shia is the right comparison to the Blacks and whites of America. It sounds like you are implying that America will never be able to establish pluralism in Iraq b/c we lack of it ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, the race issue in America is still an issue and by no means am I supportin our presences in Iraq but I don’t know any country that does not struggle with race and prejudice. America is not alone in having these problems so we shouldn’t hide it or try to ignore it just b/c we feel we’re past this stage but to recognize it and address it on a national level. Its hard when racist kids are brought up and raised by racist adults. These communities in the rural areas are not brought up in a community of cooperation and looking past the color of their skin still

  • Christi

    I belive you are not including all of the story. The Jena 6 was involved, reportedly, in taking a gun away from one of the white students. I can see using force if someone had a gun. A lot of events passed between the actual time of the white tree incident and the actual fight..read your facts! The black community tried to talk to the administration and made numerous efforts to have this problem resolved; Jena did not take this issue seriously, even after nooses were hung on the tree. Of course, with Jena have a rough history of racial tension, and this incident going on without constructive dialogue and action for a long time, racial tensions were going to boil. Violence happened. Yes, marching in peace is the ideal, but we should see that as a blessing and not always expect it. When we become too lazy to expect everything to be peachy keen instead of taking a proactive approach, as in waiting for the peaceful march instead of proactively dealing with the situation with tough punishment upon the noose hanging and gun toting students, then we should expect an explosion of anger. Jena is at fault for not handling their business.

  • Diana

    I believe that many of the comments left regarding this piece illustrate Mr. Patel’s point.

  • Anonymous

    I belive you are not including all of the story. The Jena 6 was involved, reportedly, in taking a gun away from one of the white students. I can see using force if someone had a gun. A lot of events passed between the actual time of the white tree incident and the actual fight..read your facts! The black community tried to talk to the administration and made numerous efforts to have this problem resolved; Jena did not take this issue seriously, even after nooses were hung on the tree. Of course, with Jena have a rough history of racial tension, and this incident going on without constructive dialogue and action for a long time, racial tensions were going to boil. Violence happened. Yes, marching in peace is the ideal, but we should see that as a blessing and not always expect it. When we become too lazy to expect everything to be peachy keen instead of taking a proactive approach, as in waiting for the peaceful march instead of proactively dealing with the situation with tough punishment upon the noose hanging and gun toting students, then we should expect an explosion of anger. Jena is at fault for not handling their business. We all need to understand that this world is becoming heavily diverse. In just a matter of years, the majority will be people of color. You just can’t act like this is the 1950’s, when you had more white people thinking that they can get away with doing such acts. Peaceful solutions are fine, the black community wanted and begged for it in the beginning of the Jena incident, but Jena would not listen. When you do not listen, that knock on the door will eventually become a door that is knocked down. The U.S. need to admit to its history, admit to the fact that there are still throwbacks from the Jim Crow state of mind, and understand that this country will not stand for it any longer.

  • Jah

    We live in a world of extremism, in which the media and the free flow of information on the internet allows a few people with extremist views to frame an issue or an argument for the larger majority. There are always going to be racist people on ALL sides and no amount of hand holding, blogging, demostrating or “introspection” is going change that. It is obvious that both sides are now using this as a “see I told you” moment to push their agendas into the face of the more rational public. This isn’t an American issue, it’s a human nature issue. Please show me a country where this could be discussed more openly and freely. So, talk about free speech and plurality but don’t be surprised when small groups of motivated people do or say things that are extremely disturbing.

  • Nate

    America has never exported it’s practices upon the world, but rather her professed mores. This is so since America never has been an all tolerant society, far from it, yet without the propagation of this image it’s difficult for us to maintain our position of grandeur in the world.

  • Mark Naegeli

    Are you kidding? Is this imaginary Iraqi five years old? I doubt any adult Iraqis would be as naive as the one you describe. I think you may be describing an American.

  • adil

    thank you sir for article, you cant promote justice around the world, where injustice is happening under your nose. the lawmakers dont care about it nor care about even talking about it. as long as the issue do not involve missing White women, or missing white kids. the rest is left at the mercy of conscience of a few.

  • Mike

    What a load of nonsense. America is as pluarlistic as human nature allows. If I wanted to see a society incapable of plurlism, I would visit Europe.But of course, the Post only has blogs dedicated to criticizing America.

  • DrDonwheels

    Whereas I take the point of pluralism in America, I feel that you have missed a few things here. As a black American, I am uncomfortable that the Jena 6 does not represent a more pristine case of systemic and institutional overcharging of black youth. The beating of the white student is inexcusable; whether he provoked anger by his words did not and doesnot excuse their response (something that the Old Guard Civil Rights movement would have decried). However, I am tired of black youth getting a “go directly to jail” card for behavior that at the least is tolerated or treated leniently when white males are involved. This goes beyond “driving while black”. A black male and a white male caught with the equivalent amount of drugs will likely end up with differently results: one will be incarcerated while the other will be offered rehab counseling and community service. A black teen will have sex with a 15 year old girl and will be incacerated for up to 20 years. These persistent inequalities in the system is what is being protested here. AND YET, what other country on the planet can you point to where deep racial and ethnic divides have been addressed in such a peaceful way. One can not tell Sunni from Shia unles you know their name or see them pray. Only recently have the Dalits in India begun to really push for equality. Though Ghandi may have started it with the British, it is King who saved this nation through non violence. God Bless.

  • DrDonwheels

    Whereas I take the point of pluralism in America, I feel that you have missed a few things here. As a black American, I am uncomfortable that the Jena 6 does not represent a more pristine case of systemic and institutional overcharging of black youth. The beating of the white student is inexcusable; whether he provoked anger by his words did not and doesnot excuse their response (something that the Old Guard Civil Rights movement would have decried). However, I am tired of black youth getting a “go directly to jail” card for behavior that at the least is tolerated or treated leniently when white males are involved. This goes beyond “driving while black”. A black male and a white male caught with the equivalent amount of drugs will likely end up with differently results: one will be incarcerated while the other will be offered rehab counseling and community service. A black teen will have sex with a 15 year old girl and will be incacerated for up to 20 years. These persistent inequalities in the system is what is being protested here. AND YET, what other country on the planet can you point to where deep racial and ethnic divides have been addressed in such a peaceful way. One can not tell Sunni from Shia unles you know their name or see them pray. Only recently have the Dalits in India begun to really push for equality. Though Ghandi may have started it with the British, it is King who saved this nation through non violence. God Bless.

  • Patrick

    The truth. you can not build what you do not recognize yourself.Growing up Black in America; now 54 yrs young; I have seen America go from White Only signs to forced intergration, to white flight, and now to the new rqcism.The KKK is aliver and well as can be seen by the nooses on Pickup truck and suck.Between New Orleans; Hurricane Katrina; and other issue relative to Black America, there is a plural society in America, not much different than Shiite and Sunni in Iraq.Wonder why teh US can not solve the problems in Iraq, the US can not solve it’s own racial problems at home.Black maerican’s echo the comment “Justice or Just US!”Right now it is just us fighting the KKK in Mississippi, Louisiana, etc, the deep south.

  • Archie H. Payton

    Before we attemp to tell the world how to live, we should practice what we preach

  • Archie H. Payton

    Before we attemp to tell the world how to live, we should practice what we preach

  • Maria

    The caste system has never truly left the Hindu religion, even though “untouchability” is deemed a crime. It is still predominant in most Indian societies and households.

  • A Mack

    You left out a few facts: a black student asked for “permission” to sit under the “white” tree and some black students were attacked first. It’s interesting how whites are never held accountable for the history of terrorism in this country–lynching and slavery.

  • Mr. Wright

    Who cares about the noose or the dates in which it occurred. It isn’t the point. The point is that an over-aggressive prosecuting attorney is abusing the system. The prosecuting attorney in the Duke Lacrosse/Stripper Rape case is himself now being prosecuted. The same should happen to this attorney. A fist fight, after which the victim attends his ring ceremony and has no lasting injury, is not attempted murder. If it were half the countries college students would be incarcerated.pax412: What does DC voting rights have to do with Jena6? Please don’t blame the Republicans for DC’s lack of voting rights. DC lost its voting rights in 1801 almost 60 years before the Republican party came into existence. Democrats ruled the presidency and had control of congress from 1932 to 1964 almost exclusively and DC was not given the right to vote. DC residents didn’t even have the right to vote for the president until 1964 and didn’t have an elected mayor until 1974. What were the Democrats doing all those years?

  • Thisiscrazy

    People are crazy in this world

  • Thisiscrazy

    People are crazy in this world

  • Thisiscrazy

    People are crazy in this world

  • Chillpill

    If black kids or white kids or kids commited violence against any kid(s) then they should be held responsible. Defending such behaviour is very disgustive. Already so many black youths are in jails not because of racism but because of lack of parents telling them right from wrong and defending this kind of behaviour will make kids do worse things and drag the black community down.

  • Chillpill

    If black kids or white kids or kids commited violence against any kid(s) then they should be held responsible. Defending such behaviour is very disgustive. Already so many black youths are in jails not because of racism but because of lack of parents telling them right from wrong and defending this kind of behaviour will make kids do worse things and drag the black community down.

  • chill

    If black kids or white kids or kids commited violence against any kid(s) then they should be held responsible. Defending such behaviour is very disgustive. Already so many black youths are in jails not because of racism but because of lack of parents telling them right from wrong and defending this kind of behaviour will make kids do worse things and drag the black community down.

  • chill

    If black kids or white kids or kids commited violence against any kid(s) then they should be held responsible. Defending such behaviour is very disgustive. Already so many black youths are in jails not because of racism but because of lack of parents telling them right from wrong and defending this kind of behaviour will make kids do worse things and drag the black community down.

  • chill

    If black kids or white kids or kids commited violence against any kid(s) then they should be held responsible. Defending such behaviour is very disgustive. Already so many black youths are in jails not because of racism but because of lack of parents telling them right from wrong and defending this kind of behaviour will make kids do worse things and drag the black community down.

  • chill

    If black kids or white kids or kids commited violence against any kid(s) then they should be held responsible. Defending such behaviour is very disgustive. Already so many black youths are in jails not because of racism but because of lack of parents telling them right from wrong and defending this kind of behaviour will make kids do worse things and drag the black community down.

  • chill

    If black kids or white kids or kids commited violence against any kid(s) then they should be held responsible. Defending such behaviour is very disgustive. Already so many black youths are in jails not because of racism but because of lack of parents telling them right from wrong and defending this kind of behaviour will make kids do worse things and drag the black community down.

  • victoria

    ahmed-

  • Vonnie932

    I am happy where God established my location in America. But this country is in no wise a pluralist society which appeared to be the founders leaders intent. It seems to be growing farther and farther from that reality mainly due to our independence from God. We can not create in Iraq or anywhere else what we don’t have. Nations are not going to conform by what we say in America; they look at what we do.

  • shoesreign

    does it matter if it was two nooses or three? it was wrong, to beat another student was wrong, to bring a shotgun to school, you got it… wrong.same crimes, different punishment because of the color of the skin, wrong. stop being so defensive white america a lot of things you have done are WRONG. you can not police the world until you get your own house in order. the iraqi people are in their civil war, they did not intervene is ours, we should stay out of theirs.

  • Truth Seeker

    The problem is that blacks feel as if they still do NOT get a fair shake whereas whites incorrectly think that everything is hunkydory. Once white America recognizes that racism is still here and that it is, in many ways, built into the system THEN we can move forward. Until then, we will continue to have these issues.

  • Angel

    Yes, we have a long way to go, and no matter how far we’ve gone as a nation, we’re still only a bunch of human beings. Talking about justice and equality regardless of external differences is a whole lot easier to do then actually walking it out in everyday life. Takes a move God in the spirit of a man to peel off generations of basing ones opinions of a person or group off of superficial values such as race, gender, neighborhood, family name, etc., etc., etc. I think what these folks (Jena 6 and the white supremist) are proving for the world including Iraq is that foolishness comes in all sizes, shapes and colors and is inside of even the world’s greatest nation. Most human beings I believe want what Americans want, we in our country just happen to have gotten closer to the ideal first and no less with a lot of baggage (inhumanity and human suffering) of our own, right here. It is unrealistic to ever believe any people or nation is some kind of utopia.

  • ahmed from bahrain

    AngelWhat a nice name: you said:1) we’re still only a bunch of human beings.2) It is unrealistic to ever believe any people or nation is some kind of utopia.Everything we hold as dear to our persons physically is a belief. This belief we carry with us to the other side upon death, which is only like entering another room/dimension. We repeat the same beliefs only with another set of laws at play, just as we see around us natural physical laws at play.This belief that each of us hold enter another dimension and it is there. Nothing actually vanishes. So we are either polluting our Spiritual Domain or cleansing it. Except that there is a self-correcting mechanism law at play, created by The Higher Spirit. Call IT God if you will.Now if you belittle being a human by what you believe, then that is what our collective nature shall be, but there is always room for dissenters like me who believe that we are of God-Conscious and thus refuse to be dragged in a box. Islam like other beliefs, give the human the mantle of God-ship on earth. It is time we acted this belief out but we must first go through the door of humility, ego eradication and absolute love for serving ALL Humanity. It is a self-cleansing exercise which starts with a decision. At that time everything changes, but this decision must be genuine and only the beholder knows this. It is not a mind matter but a matter for the heart which is connected to the spirit, which in turn is connected to the Great Soul that binds us ALL in ONEness. This will all fall into place when we die but hey, why wait till then. It would be too late for you have the freewill to change now and that is why this life is so precious.Again being in Utopis is also a belief. I live in Utopia every moment of my life and I am here to tell you that not only it exists but every person has the same potential to be Utopia for Eternity.Again this is a belief and it only requires us to re-programme ourselves. All religions were meant to do just that but we fell prey to our own selves. Everyone believes that God is separate from us and thus we are separate from each other. Yet the opposite is the Truth.’How can you keep a drop of water from ever drying? By returning it to the ocean.” Samsara.If enough people do this (starts from a belief) then changes happen to the collective ocean and just like a magnifying glass it has the capacity to shift the rest of the light into laser-like power. Then behold and see magic.Angel:”Between being an ape-like to half-way of being an angel; this is nowhere to stop.”Shift your soul higher. Aim higher. Expand your spirit. Embrace ALL and beyond ALL. BE a force for change.Never get stuck in one place for God is everywhere and beyond ALL. Crave to join Her. HE does hear us because HE lives in US. We can be God-like and start to represent HIS energy here and beyond Enternity.It is a blessful existance and if we can’t work things around us, it is because we have not enough knowledge to do so. Thus accepting ALL is the first start. Muslims call it Submission but sadly many do no know the meaning of the word.Yet everything is for a purpose and nothing happens without a purpose. That is one spiritual law. It is self-correcting, we have it corresponding law in nature when every cell aims for perfect health, just like the cells in our bodies fighting intruder viruses to achieve good health.There is more but it is endless. All I can say believe. Believe. Believe.That is what Christ said everytime he healed a person, “You belief in me has healed you.”What I say here is even going beyond Christ but he was a great one who set alight this torch (like an Olympian) and handed it to us. To what hights we can take this torch is entirely up to us. The end is limitless. Beyond Eternity and God is my witness.You may say am a dreamerPeace be upon ALL Creation.

  • Mr. Wright

    ANGEL: Labeling a person as a white supremacist is a strong statement. An over-reaching prosecuting attorney is not necessarily a white supremacist. The duke lacrosse prosecuting attorney Mike Nifong, who was sentenced to 1 day in jail for over-reaching in their prosecution, was/is not a black supremacist. He is not black at all.No one is encouraging these young men to continue to commit violent acts. The argument is that the punishment fit the crime.When the white students hung the nooses from the tree. The principle wanted to have them expelled. A committee decided the punishment didn’t fit the crime and lowered the expulsion to a 3 day suspension.Did anyone notice that the principle and the caucasian student who was in possession of the hand gun have the same last name? Are they related?

  • Patrick

    Eboo:I think you are being too nice. Incidents like Jena impact thought far beyond just Iraq. They have an impact throughout the entire Middle East and, indeed, the entire world.It directly impacts our ability to negotiate with foreign leaders as we no longer can do so from the vantage point of a true democracy. If we dispense justice in a way that favors the many at the expense of the few, how are we different than the governments we criticize? In order to really see how bad this looks, you have to completely detach yourself from the situation in much the same way we do with Sudan:”Said country drags Africans to it’s shores. Said country enslaves them for hundreds of years. Said country does not allow them the right to vote (something that may have manifested itself even as late as the failed Florida voting process in 2000). And, of course, the larger community segregates itself from the descendants of slaves as they think they are, predictably, better than the slave descendants.”It’s stupid. It makes “The Three Stooges” look brilliant by comparison. And, it’s who we are.The larger problem may stem from the fact that Arab countries know Africa and Africans very well. In fact, their ancestors likely came into contact with West Africans many times.That means they may see our inability to treat African-Americans equally as an example of what is happening to them when a defense contractor like “Blackwater” takes innocent lives inside Iraq.What they really may be asking, Eboo, is the following: “Are their lives as valuable as American lives?” Historically and in Jena today, have African-American lives been as valuable as white lives?

  • Jody

    The search for truth should unite us. Check the link on Wikipedia for Jena 6 for a different version from what the main stream press gave us.

  • T. Lee

    You would think the President would take the lead other respnsible Presidents (Democratic)have done in the past. He couldn’t wait to pardon his Vice President’s friend, Scooter Libby. Does his vision for America only include his friends or even yet, just Republicans. He diidn’t have to invade Iraq to spread democray. He only had to look at Louisiana and so many other Jenas in the U.S. This is the second time during his presidency Louisiana has needed him to act. Does he think La. is in Africa and has nothing to offer and the people are insignificant? Before he leaves office, he should attempt to prove he can bring a country together and not divide it.

  • Yeabu

    Are you aware of the full story relating to the Jena Six? There were several events leading up to the “attempted murder”. I’m not condoning violence, but the black kids tried peacefully to resolve the situation by protesting. When they tried peacefully, they were met by the police and treated unfairly. The reality is, this is not the early 20th century. Jena should’ve prevented these incidents from escalating, by simply reprimanding the white kids for hanging the nooses. In this day in age, that should have been their first response.

  • Yeabu

    Are you aware of the full story relating to the Jena Six? There were several events leading up to the “attempted murder”. I’m not condoning violence, but the black kids tried peacefully to resolve the situation by protesting. When they tried peacefully, they were met by the police and treated unfairly. The reality is, this is not the early 20th century. Jena should’ve prevented these incidents from escalating, by simply reprimanding the white kids for hanging the nooses. In this day in age, that should have been their first response.

  • Aeschylus

    Let’s bring equality to Mississippi first. But wait, we did not go to Iraq for that. We went for the oil. So what is there in Mississippi? The gentlemen of the South vote Republican anyway. The wrong colour goes to jail. The way of the Lord, and good old boys.

  • tanaS

    A violent incident occurred that no one on this discussion board is probably aware of. It occurred in Long Beach, California, Halloween 2005. A display in front of a large house in affluent Bixby Knolls neighborhood drew many young people, including children. A group of three teenage white girls had pine cones thrown at them by black boys whose ages averaged 15. The girls threw the pine cones back at the boys. The boys devolved into thugs by hitting and then kicking the downed girls. Two girls suffered permanent damage. The black thugs were given house arrest by a juvenile court judge. No hate crime indictment was imposed on the punks. So where was any media besides the Long Beach press Telegram? It wasn’t there. It’s a fact supported by FBI statistics that blacks commit violent crime on whites fifteen more times than violence perpitarted by whites on blacks. So my family moved to a homogeneous community ( read white) in Northern California where the police arrests hoods and the district attorney convicts punks.

  • lucasjax

    Check out the latest assault against a white kid by 6 blacks……….In Norfolk, Va., 6 blacks attack a white kid and beat him…its all on tape……….maybe blacks will go to Norfolk, Va. and hold another demonstration………..

  • truthOut

    The attack cited by Lucasjax is in the Virgian_Pilot newspaper. The video is graphic!

  • Joseph

    Spare us your one side comments please

  • James Jenkins

    Excellent perspective…loved it.

  • Richard

    ok…I give…I have no idea where you are or what you meant?I guess, to sum it up: How can we (USA) claim to be the shining star of democracy and freedom to the world, when our own country continues to battle racism, sexism, elitism, etc. I guess that’s what you meant?

  • Statistically speaking…

    FROM THE JENA TIMES NEWSPAPER:On Friday, December 1, 2006, there was a private party, attended mostly by whites but with some blacks, at the Jena Fair Barn. Five black youths, including 16-year-old Robert Bailey, Jr., attempted to enter the party at about 11 p.m. According to U.S. Attorney Washington, they were told by a woman that no one was allowed inside without an invitation. The five youths persisted, stating that some friends were already in attendance at the party. A white man, who was not a student, then jumped in front of the woman and a fight ensued. After the fight broke up, the woman told both the white man and five black youths to leave the party. Once outside, the black students were involved in another fight with a group of white men, who were not students. Police were called to investigate. Justin Sloan, a white male, was charged with simple battery for his role in the fight and was put on probation. Bailey later stated that one of the white men broke a beer bottle over his head, but there were no official records of Bailey receiving medical treatment for the injury.______________________________________Note that the white guy was charged with simple battery, even though breaking a bottle over someones head is assault with a deadly weapon.______________________________________MORE FROM THE JENA TIMES:On December 4, 2006, 17-year-old white Jena High School student Justin Barker was assaulted at school. He was struck on the back of the head and knocked down by a black student. According to some witnesses, a group of black students then repeatedly kicked him.Some individuals have stated that Barker had mocked Robert Bailey, Jr., who had allegedly been beaten up by a white man the previous Friday. Barker denies making the comments.The police arrested the six students, eventually dubbed the “Jena Six”, accused of the attack. Five of them (Robert Bailey, Jr., then 17; Mychal Bell, then 16; Carwin Jones, then 18; Bryant Purvis, then 17; and Theo Shaw, then 17) were charged with attempted second-degree murder. Mychal Bell, a juvenile at the time, was charged as an adult. The sixth student, Jesse Ray Beard, was charged as a juvenile because he was 14 at the time.The black students were charged with attempted murder. They used no weapons and were just as wrong as the white guy who was charged with simple battery.Now we know fighting is wrong, regardless of race. The same punishment should also fit the same crime, regardelss of race.This is a clear cut case of discrimination in the Judicial system. Some poster quoted that statistics show that blacks commit more violent crimes than whites. Here we have a clear cut case where the same incident, a fight, is recorded as a violent crime when blacks do it. But it is not a viloent crime when a white guy does it. Kinda undermines those statistics.

  • Ted Baines

    The question is often asked ” what should non-Muslims do to win the hearts and minds of Muslims?” when the question that should really be asked is ” what should Muslims do to win the hearts and minds of non-Muslims?”.Muslims are now universally despised for several reasons.1) The repeated acts of terrorism against non-Muslims and the genenally implicit approval by the general populace of non-Muslims for these acts and the readiness to blame the US and the Jews for the acts. To this day most Muslims believe that the Jews orchestrated 9/11.2) Their refusal to integrate into the societies that have made life so good for them, especially the west, and that have allowed them escape the misery that their own Muslim societies with their allegiance to an outdated Islamic system have inflicted on them.3) Most importantly the internet and recent publications has revealed the truth about Islam and its founder, Muhammad. It is now well known that Muhammad was a pschopath who indulged in sex with children in his fifties, was a slave owner, had fathered an illegitimate son with his slave girl, 15 year old Maria who was also a Christian, carried out ethnic cleansing of Jews in Arabia and stole half of Arabia from them, insulted God by inventing Allah and making this evil god the sole deity for Muslims.4) Their refusal to condemn atrocities in Iraq, Muslims upon Muslims and also the shameful Islamic apartheid practised in Saudi Arabia where non-Muslims may not enter Mecca and Medina, may not openly worship anywhere in the kingdom, may not build churches, synagogues and other places of worship in Saudi Arabia. Muslims give implicit approval for the Islamic apartheid by continuing to do the hajj to Mecca, thereby saying that ” the apartheid is fine with us”.The Muslims can do the following and, although it will take time, eventually Muslims will have won some respect from non-Muslims.1) Declare that Islam was not revealed by God and admit that Islam is a harmful faith. Muslims should condemn outright Muhammad and Islam. Muslims should stop insulting God by associating Muhammad and Allah with Him.2) Stop doing the hajj. By doing so they will send a powerful message that they will not tolerate apartheid. If Saudi Arabia stops the apartheid and the first church is built in Mecca and in Medina, then the hajj may be resumed.3) Return half of Saudi Arabia, the western half of Saudi Arabia, to its rightful owners, the Jews. Relocate all Muslims from Palestine and the West Bank to Muslim countries.4) Agree that all Muslim immigration to non-Muslims countries be halted until secular democratic societies are built in all Muslim countries. This may take many years. Right now it is too easy for Muslims to escape the oppression in Muslim societies by escaping to non-Muslim countries, especially to the West. They have no incentive to fight oppression at home.It will take time. But eventually Muslims may become an integral part of civilized human society.

  • R M Gopal

    A Washington Post headline this morning states: “US Air Strikes kill 165 Suspected Taliban”Gosh, suspicion is all Americans need these days to go and kill 165 people in Afghanistan?

  • MCG

    Get your facts straight BaBoo, It’s not about the beating it’s about trying them as adults, its’ call equal justice and protection under the law. BaBoo you make your little insightful racist comments and include faith with it; BaBoo keep your faith and continue to share it with Satan, I already know about your background and your kind, still no change, it’s hard when your worshipping devils.

  • Anonymous

    “Gosh, suspicion is all Americans need these days to go and kill 165 people in Afghanistan?”Gosh Gopal- “US Air Strikes kill 165 Suspected Taliban”or”Two battles killed more than 165 Taliban fighters and a U.S.-led coalition soldier in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday” Pick the truthful news headline.

  • Nivedita

    Great point! If only the US government would listen!

  • Jeff

    Chinese on Vietnamese, Hindu’s on Muslims, Taliban

  • Dewayne

    This article hits right at home. People know the history of this country, so when we go in claiming to be fighting for someone else’s freedom, they look at events that occur everyday and ask themselves “Is America here to free us? Or is it here for our oil and other natural resources?”

  • Mark Skudlarek

    For you, or anyone else to suggest that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other civil rights activists marched in Jena to condone the behavior of the Jena 6 is ridiculous. Please think on this again. Your other points are well-taken. America is very much a work in progress. While we’re led to believe, at least, that pluralism is one of the ideals that the nation is founded upon, and an ideal that we should all strive to attain, we’re a very long way from attaining it. Of course the nation is made up of individuals; many good, and many bad. All too often those that grab for political power do so for the wrong reasons, and take the nation several steps backward. The GOP has a particular knack for it, and Republicans from former slave states feel they were wronged when their slave-owner priviledges were taken away. They never bought into the pluralism stuff to begin with.

  • D.R.Sutton

    The U.S. is eager to send troops to Iraq in order for the Iraqi people to feel safe and find solutions to their problems and differences. We can’t even get the police in a small southern town to protect it’s own citizens. Not saying that the Jena 6 are innocent but the do deserve the same judicial treatment given to the white kids who attacked the black kids earlier after the noose incident in Jena (something the mainstream media ignors). How can America secure the world when we can’t even secure our schools?

  • VS Anonymous Chickens

    So they kicked him in the head after he was unconscious because that was after they had wrestled the gun away from him? That is absurd.1. He didn’t have a gun

  • Anonymous

    CONGRESSES ATTACK ON AMERICA CONTACT YOUR SENATORS ASAP – EVERY RIGHT & FREEDOM GUARANTEED IN OUR CONSTITUTION IS AT STAKE!

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