Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"The History in Jena 6"

I’ve withheld commentary on “Jena 6” and the battle cry over this recurring theme in our history in America. The reasons I’ve delayed comment is because I didn’t and still don’t have enough information and details of what occurred. I’m just a little cautious of any media presentations and the court records (with eye witness accounts) I haven’t found. Another reason is that I wanted to watch our reactions. Not just the reactions but the personalities, institutions, media, churches and mainly our kids. Maybe I’m just a little too old or something but my personal reaction to the incident is far from shock and ah (how we say it). The reactions of our media appointed leaders were pretty predictable and scripted, white Americans were clueless and many of our children are the same. Two things standout in my mind regarding Jena, 1) we have forgotten Emmitt Till, and countless others from our relatively recent history that we haven’t told our children about and 2) white kids make mistakes while black kids committing the same acts are hardened criminals, not the fact but by the treatment our kids receive it's apparent. Jena 6 is a perfect opportunity to sit down with our children, black and white and share some of the nightmare stories of slavery and civil rights casualties. While doing so, point out the relevance of history and make the connections to these six young men in Jena, Louisiana.