Why Jena Needs to See the Light
no black lawyers in Jena; there are distinct churches for white and black worshipers, with separate grave yards for blacks and white to be buried in.
In this racially divided atmosphere, Walters still insists that the national media is wrong, and the Jena Six case ‘is not and never has been about race. It is about finding justice for an innocent victim and holding people accountable for their actions.’ As noble as this stated goal may be, it raises some questions in light of his conduct thus far. If justice and accountability are Walters’ primary concerns, why has the response throughout the escalating conflict been so uneven? When the nooses were hung and the boys punished, expulsion was recommended by the principal, but Walters endorsed suspension.
The black community became vocal about the symbolic threat of violence that the nooses represented, and still Walters did nothing, sticking to his claims that it was a prank with no racial strings attached. When the first fight between white and black students occurred at a mostly white party, and a bottle was broken over black student Robert Bailey’s head, the white assailant was charged with a misdemeanor.
When a shotgun was pulled on Bailey a day later by a white student from the same party, and Bailey managed to wrestle it away, the white student received no charges, while Bailey was charged with three. Clearly the situation was escalating on a wave of racial tension.
Finally, when the black kids retaliated and beat up a taunting white student, Justin Barker, the meaning of ‘holding people accountable for their actions’ in Walters’ terms became clear. He charged all six boys with aggravated second-degree battery; a crime that requires the use of a weapon. What was the weapon? The boys’ sneakers, which they used to kick Barker.
What about the bottle that was broken over Bailey’s head