Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Where's Atticus?

(Thanks to Kat for the tip on this story)

The story of racial divisions between black and white students at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana is, unfortunately, the type of tale that may be somewhat commonplace, though fortunately, far less common than in the past. However, the way that the authorities in Jena are handling the situtation could make one rub one's eyes in disbelief that this is happening in 2007 and not 1957 or 1937. This article from a story on NPR's 'All Things Considered' on July 30th outlines the escalation of events that led to the trial of the 'Jena 6'. Here is a follow-up piece from NPR on 9/7.

The articles talk about the heinous behavior of the students involved on both sides of the racial divide as racial tensions at Jena High bubbled to the surface. What is truly - amazingly - repugnant is the clear racial discrimination of the DA and law enforcement in the town. From charging to sentencing to jury selection to the shear negligence of the public defender assigned to the Mychal Bell trial, the entire system seems blatently racist.
"The first to go to court was Mychal Bell, the team's star running and defensive back. Bell's court-appointed lawyer refused to mount any defense at all, instead resting his case immediately after two days of government presentation. An all-white jury found Bell guilty." ( 7/30/07)

At least in 'To Kill a Mockingbird', Tom Robinson had Atticus Finch actually fighting for him.

If you're as outraged as I, please sign this online petition at

Thank you.

1 comment:

kathryn said...

I'm so glad you posted something, Mike! Thanks to the daily Bush administration debacles, our journalists (even the good ones ) are placing stories such as this on the back burner. Our politicians need to be down in Louisiana campaigning against these kind of twisted, Jim Crowe ideals.