The more things change, the more they stay the same...damn. Why did it take every major news outlet in the country to shed light on what could have been an overlooked blip in race relations in this country? Why, in 2007 is it still exceedingly difficult to overturn a blatantly racist, irrational verdict in a little nowhere town down south? No offense to the sensible people in Jena, Louisiana but are you kidding? For anyone who accuses Black people of living in the past, blaming everything on the faults of dead bigots, turn on the television. Google Jena 6, or better yet, Google "Brown vs. Board of Education." Remember that great legal event in history? We all grew up thinking, this was another point where America is going in the direction it should. Well, guess what? That milestone has come and gone. Just like the notion that if we ignore the past, then all of our indiscretions as a seriosuly dysfunctional country will go away. I love taking responsibility for myself and my actions, everyone should. But when our own government and smaller state governments that are so antiquated that they might as well not be a part of the union, take it upon themselves to "think" for everyone, well that is when we get ourselves in serious trouble. Part of me is like, why do these people stay in a town where one white resident referred to his Black neighbors as "people who know how to stay in their place"? Why put up with it when there are literally hundreds of thriving, successful small towns where students can eat at the same lunch table, have an integrated prom in the 21st century, not be in fear of nooses hanging from trees? And then the other part of me gets it. For better or worse, Jena is their home, and they can flee or they can stay and fight to live in a just world, which takes alot of damn courage if you ask me. I can complain about the subtle ways I'm made to feel inferior everyday in NYC but I would never trade it for anything resembling Jena. With that, I applaud the Black residents of Jena who won't back or bow down and the white residents who realize that the more things stay the same, the more they need to badly, change.
image via All About Race
links via Wikipedia, Huffington Post, All About Race, Cjonline