Civil Rights

12 Media Myths about the Jena 6 Case

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Craig Franklin, assistant editor of the Jena, Mississippi Times, has a piece in the Christian Science Monitor about how the national media got it all wrong when following the "Jena 6" case, in which black students were charged with beating a white student.

Snippets:

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they've all heard the story of the "Jena 6." White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests—the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There's just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning….

These are just 12 of many myths that are portrayed as fact in the media concerning the Jena cases. (A more thorough review of all events can be found at http://www.thejenatimes.net/—click on Chronological Order of Events.)

As with the Duke Lacrosse case, the truth about Jena will eventually be known. But the town of Jena isn't expecting any apologies from the media. They will probably never admit their error and have already moved on to the next "big" story. Meanwhile in Jena, residents are getting back to their regular routines, where friends are friends regardless of race. Just as it has been all along.

Whole thing is here.

In September, Katherine Mangu-Ward laid out "Five Facts about the Jena Six".

Hat tip: The Corner.

NEXT: Mike Huckabee: The Realist as Goofball

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  1. The bottom line for the Jena denialists is this:

    White juveniles who get in fights in high school that don’t involve weapons don’t get charged with felonies that carry 25 year sentences. There were fist fights in my high school every two or three weeks, and no one ever went to juvenile detention, let alone prison.

    The racism here is that a black kid who gets in two or three fistfights – even in a contentious and racially charged environment – is a “dangerous superpredator” who has to go to prison for 25 years, and a white kid who gets in two or three fistfights is “high spirited” and “stands up for himself”.

    It’s about how identical conduct is perceived differently when committed by members of different races and classes.

  2. I guess Radley Balko will retract all his sanctimonious, misinformed baloney on the topic. No?

  3. Fluffy,

    Care to back up any of those assertions with some evidence? Maybe attribute some of the quotations?

    You know… the sort of mundane stuff that critical readers expect to see before taking a claim seriously.

  4. Uh, Fluffy, according to this article (which I am as skeptical of as every other report including Balko’s) these dudes set a trap (locked door), laid in wait, knocked a white kid unconscious (who had no involvement that anybody knew so may have been targeted racially) and proceeded to stomp on his head.

    That’s pretty fucking bad if true. That’s no fistfight, sorry. Did you RTWFA?

    However, I don’t believe anybody’s reporting on this case. There’s too much invested interest by race-mongers (stir up trouble), the town (save its image), the media (OMG great story), Balko (“my experieces in the South are that they are racist”), the whites involved (“we’re not racists”) and the blacks (“we’re unfairly targeted”).

  5. Those are “air quotes”, not quotes of a speaker.

    And as for a citation, which element do you want cited:

    1. That the Jena Six were charged with felonies that included 25 year sentences

    2. That none of the Jena Six employed a weapon

    3. That high school students around the US routinely get into fistfights that don’t result in criminal charges of any kind, let alone felony charges?

    Which of these three assertions is controversial enough that it needs a citation? I’m curious.

  6. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism.
    In that case, I can only conclude that our intrepid small-town reporter (Why is this brilliant journalist working in a no-market shithole like Jena, anyway?) doesn’t pay any attention to what real reporters do. Off the top of my head:
    The Duke Lacrosse Case
    The McMartin Preschool incident.
    The run-up to the Iraq war.
    60 minutes’ shameful attempt to destroy Audi with lies about “sudden acceleration.”
    NBC news’ use of an incendiary device to ensure that a truck’s gas tank would explode in just the way they wanted.
    There are countless examples. This small-town failure of a reporter may well have some good points. But its hard to take seriously anyone who opens an article with a piece of self-evident stupidity like that.

  7. The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history.
    BULLSHIT. No one, not even deep-south teenagers, can be that ignorant.

  8. Fluffy-Every report I’ve seen indicates that the Jena 6 jumped one kid, beat him unconscious, and continued to beat him after he passed out. That’s not a fistfight, nor is it “standing up for himself,” and you know it.
    The question of whether 25 years is appropriate is one that can be discussed without making self-evidently absurd statements.

  9. Fluffy-Every report I’ve seen indicates that the Jena 6 jumped one kid, beat him unconscious, and continued to beat him after he passed out. That’s not a fistfight, nor is it “standing up for himself,” and you know it.
    The question of whether 25 years is appropriate is one that can be discussed without making self-evidently absurd, intellectually dishonest statements.

  10. “Every report I’ve seen indicates that the Jena 6 jumped one kid, beat him unconscious, and continued to beat him after he passed out.”
    I agree, that is a bit more serious than a schoolyard scrap. And this fellow had some prior’s didn’t he? 25 years is nuts, but virtually all of our sentences are currently nuts. And white guys and gals get these sentences all the time as well.

    As for the shameful media coverage one should use a rule of thumb about alleged facts: does Al Sharpton insist they happened? Then doubt.

  11. No one, not even deep-south teenagers, can be that ignorant.

    Wow. You must not have been around a school recently.

    About 10 years ago I took a class in the history of the civil rights movement at the University of Virginia. I’d estimate a good 10% of the class was easily ignorant enough to not realize a connection between nooses and racism. If that was true at a major university…

    By the way, this is really more a measure of how far we’ve come than it is a measure of student stupidity.

  12. By the way, this is really more a measure of how far we’ve come than it is a measure of student stupidity.

    can’t it be a measure of both?

  13. I disagree, Brian. The civil rights movement, and the attendant ugliness* happened, in the historical sense, about one exit back. My mother was a young adult when much of that was going on, and I’m not that much older than these kids. Not knowing that a noose implies lynching (if they really didn’t) is simply stupid. Forgetting horrors that happened within living memory is not a sign of progress, although I understand why you would characterize it that way.
    I think what we have in this article is a small-town booster offering some fair points mixed in with a lot of “my hometown is paradise” thinking. That’s really typical of small-town “newspapers.”

    *I realize that lynching wasn’t particular to the Civil Rights era.

  14. The CSM? Really? We’re cross blogging the CSM? I thought they were “Armageddon is coming soon” whack jobs. Is that wrong? Does the CSM enjoy the respectability of say The Weekly Standard?

  15. Warren, is that sarcasm or are you that lost in a conservative twilight zone alternate reality? The CSM is fairly well respected, the WS is an ideological hack job. One hires folks with education, training and careers that focus on professional standards of accurate and objective journalism, the other hires political hired guns who get paid to serve up the red meat to the fanatics and to spin apologetics for their favored political actors.

  16. Warren,

    What’s your problem with the CSM?
    Just curious.

    Today’s headlines seem pretty free of Armageddon stories.

  17. Having family in the deep south, I have to wonder…wouldn’t a southern teen be more likely to know the connection between a noose and racism than a yankee teen? So the claim that they can’t be expected to understand it is pretty stupid.

  18. Fluffy: “Which of these three assertions is controversial enough that it needs a citation? I’m curious.”

    “1. That the Jena Six were charged with felonies that included 25 year sentences”

    Was anyone actually sentenced to 25 years? No. Bell’s conviction was overturned before sentencing. Furthermore, Bell’s charges were reduced on the first day of his trial, so he didn’t even face the possibility of 25 years inprisonment.

    Speculating on how much prison time someone MIGHT have recieved, in a sentencing which didn’t occur, on a conviction which was overturned, for charges which were reduced, doesn’t make your case stronger.

    “2. That none of the Jena Six employed a weapon”

    The jury disagrees with your statement. They found that Bell did employ a weapon, namely a shoe used in stomping on Barker’s head.

    “3. That high school students around the US routinely get into fistfights that don’t result in criminal charges of any kind, let alone felony charges?”

    Comparing a fistfight to 6 people stomping on an unconcious guy’s head is a bit like comparing apples to orangutans. But don’t let that get in the way of your argument.

  19. I liked this quote from the dude =

    Meanwhile in Jena, residents are getting back to their regular routines, where friends are friends regardless of race. Just as it has been all along.

    ‘all along’

    Now, I am not from Mississippi. But my family’s from Danville, VA (“last capitol of the Confederacy” = where J.Davis fled after Richmond fell)… and I went to college in Tennessee, spent a lot of time in Alabama and Georgia.

    I dont know anyplace south of the mason dixon line where – even if there’s an extremely tight-knit, friendly community of mixed races – there isnt some unspoken awareness of past segregation, injustice etc, and extremely delicate attitudes about how the subject of race is ever broached

    Southerners have great pride in their character and dignity. And rich or poor, most share a unique understanding of how to be genteel and generous with others, letting others maintain their pride. Obviously this is a silly generalization, but it’s the simplest way I can put it to make my larger point.

    For this guy to say “we’ve always been great friends” is probably not 100% accurate, but it does sort of reflect this guys point of view that the yankee media want to create another “Mississippi Burning” story, and that it just aint like that. Im sure he’s right. It probably has been blown out of proportion, and facts have been funged to make the story sexier and fit into preconceived narratives. This guy is rightfully indignant because the character of their community is impugned. He’d like to remind people that they are a dignified and tolerant community of decent people who dont act the way the media seems to portray them.

    But there’s also the fact that many white Southerners often see ‘racism’ as something invented by Northerners to slap on them wholsale. Even in the 90s, I had educated adults say things like, “There was a lovely life down here until you yankees came and had to give everybody foolish ideas. We always got along fine. Now look at things.”

    I’d heard that line a million times. We ALWAYS got along fine. Thats why the “all along” caught my eye.

    As right as this guy may be about the “12 myths” (which, looking throught them, seemed sorta niggling details in some cases… like, maybe 5-6 were important. 1-2 seemed debatable because his ‘proofs’ were also basically heresay), there’s still the issue that this guy, as editor of the local paper, has a bit of an issue with defending the character of his community. He should.

    At the same time, I can’t help but suspect a small degree of indignance that it’s “our business” and “y’all yankees are just raising another fuss”.

    I think to claim that the fights werent really driven by racial tension, or that there wasnt any disproportionate treatment of whites vs blacks in the handling of the incidents by authorities, would be totally dishonest. I dont think this guy is claiming that. But he’s trying to ‘attenuate’ the importance of it. Which may do a good part towards helping people what really happened. Or, it could just be trying to water down reality, which isnt wholly new to Southern whites when talking about race issues.

    2 other things =

    Warren = Christian Science Monitor is a respected publication; i think you might be mistaking them for something else

    Nooses = I dont buy this BS about people not making the connection. I dont care how dumb you are. In Mississippi? Come on. I can imagine latino kids in LA or something missing the significance, but not white kids in Mississippi.

    Just my 2 drachmas

  20. Regarding the noose incident.

    The truth of the student’s motivations/knowledge/intent will remain obscure.

    It, however, will remain completely irrelevant to the Jena 6 case.

    The question is about whether the prosecutor went overboard in the battery case.

    It seems more serious than Fluffy’s take on it…but these kids need a different approach than being charged as adults and locked up in an adult facility. That will just start them (or move them along) down the road to professional hood status. There is a reason for separate systems for kids and adults. No excuse for separate standards based on race.

    What gets glossed in the “myths” article is this: Police speculate that the motivation for the attack was related to the racially charged fights that had occurred during the previous weekend.

    What happened to those involved in these racial charged fights? I have never heard details.

  21. not even deep-south teenagers, can be that ignorant

    You know, it’s lines like that that can really piss off Southerners

    Yes, technically Lousiana and Missippi are like 1&2 in illiteracy etc., but in general, kids down there are not much different than kids you’d find anywhere else.

    …Who are also pretty dumb, it should be noted.

  22. I must have the CSM confused with something else.

  23. Race mongers will find racism in everything. It’s a stand-in for actual thought.

  24. Just curious Marcus-with-a-V, where you stand on immigration… 🙂

  25. Captain Chaos – Good list of journalistic fuckups. I jumped on the racist storyline myself. I realized it wasn’t that simple some time ago.

    Live and learn, I guess.

    An aside to the intrepid reverends Jackson and Sharpton, perhaps you should revisit the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

  26. My wife was teaching a high school class in 2000 and made a reference to the Berlin Wall. One kid knew what she was talking about. So that is a decade to forget the Soviet occupation of half of Europe for half a century.

    I might buy the noose thing, but then I give too many people the benefit of the doubt. It does remind me of the South Park flag episode, where the kids did not get what was racist about the flag.

  27. Fluffy is a racist.

  28. “According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of “Lonesome Dove.”)

    I don’t think this small fact gets the attention it rightly deserves.

    This whole thing, this massive debacle, the wild cries of racism and social justice denied, all of it… Merely high school antics inspired by a miniseries that aired around the time most of these kids were born. It sounds so absurd that it has to be true.

    Really. I just… I love you, America. I love you so much.

  29. I know little about this case, other than reading a few news articles so this is totally my opinion. But hey, everyone’s got one right?

    The big issue for the media seems to be that this case didn’t fit into a nice neat box. Why? To me, the most striking thing is that there are no heroes (or none that immediately stand out – can anybody else name one?) Not that everyone is a bad guy, just that there’s no Rosa Parks, no water hoses, no police dogs. When there’s no simple narrative, a lot of people grasp at straws.

  30. ..inspired by a miniseries that aired around the time most of these kids were born.

    Did oou mean originally aired around the time most of these kids were born? I haven’t checked the local TV schedules in Jena or investigated parents DVD collections, but it’s not hard to believe they’d vieved it recently.

  31. Just curious Marcus-with-a-V, where you stand on immigration… 🙂

    As long as they are here to work, I really don’t care one way or the other. I also think that reasonable people can disagree on immigration, but some of the arguments sometimes have more than a touch of “I just want to keep the brown people out.”

  32. The noose issue kind of hits home for me, in that I recently had a Bulgarian exchange student stay with me. She was amazed and horrified that I had no idea where Bulgaria was.

    I explained to her that I hadn’t paid attention to a map of Eastern Europe since high school, and back then it was all one country call the USSR. As far as I knew, Bulgaria didn’t exist until around 1990.

  33. What I don’t understand is why the two options seem to be to excuse or partially excuse the Jena six for their actions because they were racially motivated or to treat them as if their actions were not racially motivated. If a group of six white students, even due to grievances that were somewhat legitimate, chose a black student apparently at random to beat past the point of conciousness, we would treat it as an incredibly heinous, inexcusable action. What’s more racist than treating hate as something only white people are capable of exhibiting?

  34. For this guy to say “we’ve always been great friends” is probably not 100% accurate, but it does sort of reflect this guys point of view that the yankee media want to create another “Mississippi Burning” story, and that it just aint like that.

    Gilmore, perhaps the author’s frame of reference on friendships isn’t as vast as you seem to think it is. Maybe he’s just talking about HIS experiences in the CURRENT community.

  35. ‘cept that’s wrong, WSDave.

    and nice to do the research where your exchange student was from. Way to show you care, there, guy.

  36. The CSM? Really? We’re cross blogging the CSM? I thought they were “Armageddon is coming soon” whack jobs. Is that wrong? Does the CSM enjoy the respectability of say The Weekly Standard?

    Warren, not sure what you’re talking about here, but in all of my years of reading news, I’ve found the CSM to be the most-objective, least-biased publication going. You should add it to your list.

  37. Having family in the deep south, I have to wonder…wouldn’t a southern teen be more likely to know the connection between a noose and racism than a yankee teen? So the claim that they can’t be expected to understand it is pretty stupid.

    You’d think! They must not be fond of reading history, watching movies or listening to jazz.

    And now, for the smooth and soulful vocal stylings of the beautiful, late, great Billie Holiday.

  38. What’s more racist than treating hate as something only white people are capable of exhibiting?

    It’s RACIST to act like black people can be guilty of any crime towards whites because of the past history of slavery and discrimination!

    /PC scumbag mode off

  39. Wasn’t it the CSM who had that reporter get kidnapped in Baghdad last year and was eventually released after a few months? I don’t know about their editorial style, but their journalists have balls.

  40. J sub D wrote:
    Did oou mean originally aired around the time most of these kids were born?”

    Dee-Vee-Dee?

    Yeah, sir. Originally aired is the gist of it. I figured, y’know, that recording technology was so ubiquitous that it could go without mention.

    The situation of how they got a hold of Lonesome Dove doesn’t matter. I just like the idea that someone could be at once ignorant of recent American history, and yet quite savvy on the classic westerns.

    Hell, I went to public school, I can believe that. Like I said, it’s so absurd that it has to be true.

  41. Jared G,

    Sorry I misunderstood you. Oops, my bad, mea culpa. Thanks for clearing it up.

  42. You’d think! They must not be fond of reading history, watching movies or listening to jazz.

    Why would any kid in the South (or anywhere) associate nooses with lynchings of blacks per se when you’re far more likely to see a noose in a Western or a horror movie used for a more-or-less traditional hanging? The last time I saw a man hanging from a tree, it was Clint Eastwood in “Hang ’em High.”

  43. Nooses and Ignorance: I disagree with those who find this unbelievable. I grew up in Oklahoma and never heard of the connection between nooses and Blacks until I moved to Washington, DC, and it was only after living here 15 years that I found out that this was a sensitive race issue. Heck, I never heard of the Tulsa Race Riots until I was 25. The white communities, I guess, prefer to move on and bury these things of their bad past, for whatever reason. Or it’s just passed down as a fact of history, without turning it into an issue or symbol.

  44. not even deep-south teenagers, can be that ignorant

    You know, it’s lines like that that can really piss off Southerners

    Why? I didn’t think I used any big words. ;>

  45. I must have the CSM confused with something else.

    I’m thinking the MSM. Pretty easy mistake to make. Try this, I think it works pretty well:

    The MSM? Really? We’re cross blogging the MSM? I thought they were “Armageddon is coming soon” whack jobs. Is that wrong? Does the MSM enjoy the respectability of say The Weekly Standard?

  46. In fact

    I explained to her that I hadn’t paid attention to a map of Eastern Europe since high school, and back then it was all one country call the USSR. As far as I knew, Bulgaria didn’t exist until around 1990

    has got to be the fucking most stupid thing today. What an absolute fucking stupid person.

  47. The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history.
    BULLSHIT. No one, not even deep-south teenagers, can be that ignorant.

    I’ve been living in Georgia for several years now. I got my master’s degree here, and I consider myself quite well versed in worldly affairs. However, I wasn’t aware of any connection between noses (which I often make out of pieces of string or old computer cables, just like others doodle idle drawings) and racism. Just like I wasn’t previously aware that nappies were racist. Just like I’m not aware of the next big racist thing that Jesse Jackson and the other crazy guy (can’t remember his name; I think he used to be a manager to boxers) will come up with as soon as they feel the need to be back in news.

  48. The situation of how they got a hold of Lonesome Dove doesn’t matter. I just like the idea that someone could be at once ignorant of recent American history, and yet quite savvy on the classic westerns.

    Westerns are entertainment that comes on tv at any time of day. History, to your average teen, especially history not flattering to your group (racial, national, religious, or otherwise), is boring and generally ignored.

  49. “I’ve been living in Georgia for several years now. I got my master’s degree here, and I consider myself quite well versed in worldly affairs. However, I wasn’t aware of any connection between noses (which I often make out of pieces of string or old computer cables, just like others doodle idle drawings) and racism.”

    Perhaps this says a lot about Georgia?

  50. ow. krap. that was me. forgot to put the usual URL. sorry.

  51. Moose,
    “‘cept that’s wrong, WSDave.”

    Yes, it was wrong, but it’s what I was taught. Blame the teacher, not the student.

    “and nice to do the research where your exchange student was from. Way to show you care, there, guy.”

    The student’s sponsor decided to pull out after she was already in the States, so the host family kicked her out ’cause they weren’t gonna get paid. We took her in on 2 days notice (Two days spent clearing out the office and moving it to the dining room, buying her a hide-a-bed, and repainting the room.) and let her stay with us for 3 months for free. We got her a job, fed her, let her use one of the cars (turns out she couldn’t for lack of the right driver’s license), and took her around to see many of the sights. In short, we treated a complete stranger-in-need as if she were a family member. And we learned a ton about Bulgaria in the process.

    Here’s my shoes, Moose: You can start your mile anytime.

    😛

  52. Incidentally, the CSM is avowedly secular in editorial viewpoint, and is one of the nearly unknown gems of the newspaper world.

  53. cept that’s the dumbest fucking thing – bulgaria was not in the USSR. That’s the dumb thing. And that’s wonderful about all of that. As for your shoes. Mr. Crane is chewing on them under the desk.

  54. Count me as another born-and-bred Southerner who never knew of this vaunted nooses-and-racism link until I was much older (and out of the South).

    Thinking back on my group of friends — and we were all smart, well-read kids — I can’t imagine they were all tuned in to it either.

    Did I know of the South’s nightmarish racist past? Of course. Did I know that blacks had been terrorized, even hanged, oh so many years ago? Absolutely. But did I ever think “noose” = “racist symbol”? Not until I was older and started seeing it portrayed as such by civil-rights groups and so on.

    I’m not saying their portrayal was inaccurate or unfounded. Just that the noose imagery may well have more resonance for these groups than it did for the average kid growing up down south.

  55. Well, Jozeph, here’s a heads up: burning crosses are also racially charged symbols.

    Jackson et al did not invent the connotations of a noose hanging in a tree.

  56. Jena is Louisiana

  57. It’s in Louisiana, rather. Not Mississippi.

  58. Sorry, it appears I misspoke; I meant to say the Soviet Union.

    This

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.theodora.com/maps/new8/ussr.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.geographic.org/maps/new2/ussr_maps.html&h=266&w=432&sz=30&tbnid=Xi-rEo_acFgJvM:&tbnh=78&tbnw=126&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsoviet%2Bunion%2Bmap%26um%3D1&start=3&sa=X&oi=images&ct=image&cd=3

    and this

    http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/euro1970.htm

    are the kinds of maps I was taught on (though in this case the second map actually lists the individual country names instead of just having a big red/pink area called the Soviet Union).

    But you guys all seem pretty smart; maybe you should go be school teachers.

  59. @wsdave:

    You’re still flashing that ignorance. Bulgaria was communist, but never Soviet. In fact, they offered to join but the Soviets wouldn’t have ’em.

  60. Todoro,

    Again, blame the teacher.

  61. you know. it’s gotta be his intellectual curiosity that really is the most attractive part.

  62. But you guys all seem pretty smart; maybe you should go be school teachers.

    That smart thing disqualifies us. 😉

  63. J,
    “That smart thing disqualifies us. ;-)”

    Agreed. And yet I’M still expected to know more than I was taught (and on a subject I don’t care about).

    And the condesending elite wonder why nobody is attracted to the party.

  64. IMPRESSIVE.
    MOST IMPRESSIVE.

    WILL LIBERAL MAP MAKERS BE BLAMED NEXT?

    AND, AFTER THE BREAK: SEX WITH FURNITURE. DO YOU HAVE TO CUDDLE AFTERWARDS?

    SEE YOU IN TWO MINUTES AFTER A WORD FROM LOCAL SPONSORS!

  65. “Westerns are entertainment that comes on tv at any time of day. History, to your average teen, especially history not flattering to your group (racial, national, religious, or otherwise), is boring and generally ignored.”

    I guess I missed that wildly popular, yet wholly underrepresented “likes to watch old farts drive cattle” youth demographic.

    Or, wait… Is this a crack that kids are so lazy and addled that they’ll watch anything so long as it’s on television?

    I’m getting my narratives confused! HALP!

  66. The real lesson in all of this:
    School is bullcrap.

  67. If the kids didn’t know about the history of nooses and lynchings, why oh why did they happen to choose a noose, out of the innumerable things that they could have done, to tweak the black kidswho wanted to sit under the white tree?

  68. Uh, have you ever seen a rodeo. They use nooses to do things like, oh I don’t know, ROPE CATTLE. Duh.

  69. bill,

    It’s been 18 years so I may have forgotten, but I don’t recall that the cattle roped themselves in Lonesome Dove by sticking the necks into nooses that were looped over a tree branch.

    Maybe I went to the bathroom when that part was on.

  70. I’m still expected to know more than I was taught

    Good god, yes. If I knew only what I ‘was taught’, I’d be a worthless lump of protoplasm.

    Instead, I know what I’ve learned. Well, most of it. The parts I remember.

    Education is not something that happens to you. It’s something you learn to do for yourself, and keep doing forever.

  71. JUST GOTTA LOVE THAT INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITY.

    AND YOU WONDER WHY IGNORANT BUFFOONS ARE REALLY FUN TO RIDICULE.

  72. After reading the cited article, my only reaction is that I was unaware that denial was a river in Egypt.

    The article educates as it informs!

  73. I like the way Franklin keeps referring to the investigators’ conclusion that there was no racial hostility behind the multiple nooses hung in a tree as evidence to back up his spin, rather than as a pretty big part of what caused the problem in the first place.

  74. I didn’t burn a cross on my uppity neighbors lawn to intimidate them. I was merely trying to recreate Madonna’s Like a Prayer video. I had no idea that burning a cross meant that.

  75. I’m confident Mr. Franklin really does think there aren’t any problems with race relations in his town.

    Seen any black residents of Jena claim that? Anywhere?

    If you read Civil War-era journals from southern plantations owners, it’s not too hard to find plantation families who were genuinly shocked and hurt, on a personal level, that their “servants” would run away and cross the Union lines when they came into the area. “We’ve always treated Uncle Thomas like a member of the family, and considered him a close friend! Why would he betray and abandon us like this?”

    So a white guy insisting that black people in his community don’t experience any racial hostility or feel the need to knuckle under isn’t terribly compelling to me.

  76. Marcvs | October 24, 2007, 12:05pm | #

    Just curious Marcus-with-a-V, where you stand on immigration… 🙂

    As long as they are here to work, I really don’t care one way or the other. I also think that reasonable people can disagree on immigration, but some of the arguments sometimes have more than a touch of “I just want to keep the brown people out.”

    Har har. Thanks. You caught me trying to bait you, thinking that you were pre-emptively dismissing the racism accusation… so that you could start railing about the Goddamn Beaners.

    I agree with you 100% FWIW

  77. I grew up in Oklahoma and never heard of the connection between nooses and Blacks until I moved to Washington, DC, and it was only after living here 15 years that I found out that this was a sensitive race issue.

    Dont know what to tell you bud, but your highschool American History textbook musta be written by… i dont know… Disney?

    By the way, have you heard of the football player, Jim Crow?

  78. “I’ve been living in Georgia for several years now. I got my master’s degree here, and I consider myself quite well versed in worldly affairs. However, I wasn’t aware of any connection between noses (which I often make out of pieces of string or old computer cables, just like others doodle idle drawings) and racism.”

    Perhaps this says a lot about Georgia?

    No, it’s because the dude (Jozef) is from Eastern Europe or something. HE at least has an excuse. Oklahoma Jones above… I dont know what to tell you.

  79. The CSM is hardly a balanced news source. Every reporter I’ve ever seen on c-span is a hardcore Bush-hating liberal. I think they use the Christian moniker to hide their social justice and anti-American foriegn policy viewpoints.

  80. I don’t know about the deep south, but out west were I went to school, the noose in the schoolyard was a symbol that we were going kick the opposing team’s butt! I guess I’m just ignorant, but I never know that the noose symbolized racism until this story. Which leads me to believe that it really isn’t, that it’s just more shit made up the media to sell their narrative.

  81. That high school students around the US routinely get into fistfights that don’t result in criminal charges of any kind, let alone felony charges?

    Poor fluffy,
    Too fluffy between the ears to recognize the difference between a fist fight involving two, and an assault by six on one.

    You just keep to your, “southern whites are all Klansmen, and southern blacks are all innocent, wide-eyed Lavar Burtons” beliefs. The real world is for grown ups.

  82. Yes, Brandybuck, lynchings were entirely made up. The linked photo is obviously faked.

  83. The CSM is hardly a balanced news source. Every reporter I’ve ever seen on c-span is a hardcore Bush-hating liberal. I think they use the Christian moniker to hide their social justice and anti-American foriegn policy viewpoints.

    Is it just me, or is this another post that confuses the CSM with the MSM?

  84. “However, I wasn’t aware of any connection between noses (which I often make out of pieces of string or old computer cables, just like others doodle idle drawings) and racism.”

    If you’re making giant noses out of string and computer wires, then you may not be racist, but it’s certainly weird.

    As to *Lonesome Dove,* I saw it on DVD. It was too long, but it was kind of interesting. There was one scene where (white) vigilantes hanged some (white) criminals.

    Oh, and let me be the first person to suggest a slogan for Sharpton, et al: “No noose is good noose!”

  85. Did the kid who was assaulted hang the noose in the tree, or is attempted murder on any ole honkey that happens to be handy justifiable?

  86. It is true that the noose symbolized something different in the West than in the South.

    But let’s keep something in mind – these nooses were hung up in Louisiana, on a tree that the black students, at least, felt they weren’t supposed to sit under, the day after a group of them made a point of sitting under it.

  87. OK-the thing I don’t get is this: Did 6 guys jump a guy and beat him unconscious? If so then they deserve to face penalties of the law. It doesn’t matter if he was dressed in a Klan outfit or not, they beat him unconscious.

  88. Wayne –

    All the descriptions of the event I’ve seen imply that there was a confrontation between a group of blacks and a group of whites, and when it turned into a fight the whites ran and one kid was left behind and got beat up.

    It’s still a fistfight. And it’s still not worth a 25 year sentence. The only way it can be perceived to be worth one is if some hysterical white parent or district attorney looks at black kids and sees dangerous criminals, and not kids who got in a fight at school.

    And I will reiterate my post from above: I was on the receiving end of punches from more than one kid at once. And not only did nobody face 25 year adult sentences, nobody even got suspended or expelled. At a private Catholic school, no less. We all did detention and that was the end of it. And if the other kids had in fact gotten 25 year sentences, they’d just be getting out of prison now. Just getting out of prison now, for an incident so minor that I can’t even remember their damn names now! Maybe you need to get over your cracker defensiveness for long enough to realize that such a punishment scheme is FUCKING OUT OF PROPORTION TO THE POINT OF INSANITY, and the fact that some rednecks are embarrassed by national attention is too damn bad.

  89. Didn’t wayne used to write comments defending the prosecutors who charged that black athlete with child rape, too?

    And try to rally the troops to his side of the race war?

  90. The debate is over what the black kids should have been charged with, me, not whether they should have gotten in trouble at all.

  91. Ever read “Gunga Din” by Rudyard Kipling?

    Kipling LOVED the Indian people he met. “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.” So obviously, since the top dog thought relations were just fine, that must mean they’re fine.

    Every read and Indian poetry about how noble and humane the British soldiers were?

    Why do you think that is?

  92. The part about the kids not knowing that the noses meant anything to black people is right out of the South Park episode where Kyle and Stan innocently don’t realize that there is anything racist about the South Park Town flag depicting white hooded men lynching a black guy.

    Did they really not know it? I find it hard to believe but I don’t hang out with teenagers much. I sometimes find myself over estimating their intelligence for that reason. Maybe they didn’t get it.

    The real issue is the beat down. I don’t see how you can defend six kids beating another kid unconscious. I think probably the DA went overboard. They probably shouldn’t have been charged as adults and should have instead been sent to juvenile jail for a few months. That is bad, but let’s be honest how many kids white and black have been victims of over zealous prosecutors? A hell of a lot. I really think there has been a massive overreaction to this case. Moreover, even if they were treated unfairly, the kids in question are still criminals and people shouldn’t be defending their behavior, just taking the DA to task for over charging them.

  93. As to *Lonesome Dove,* I saw it on DVD. It was too long, but it was kind of interesting. There was one scene where (white) vigilantes hanged some (white) criminals.

    A year of inflamed (and imagined) racial tensions. Protests and media hype. Al Sharpton clinging desperately to relevance.

    Because of a late-80’s television miniseries produced before most of the involved students were even born.

    How is it that no one finds this utterly hilarious?

  94. I am telling you Jared it is right out of South Park. That is why I am half tempted to believe it. Kids are dumb. More imporantly, kids are not nearly as culturally aware or racially sensitive as adults think they are. I don’t know the truth but I don’t find the Lonesome Dove excuse to be completely beyond credibility.

  95. I think they use the Christian moniker to hide their social justice and anti-American foriegn policy viewpoints.

    Fuck yeah. Like the Mormons. And the fucking Quakers. Conscientious Objectors my ass! Fake Christians! Real christians bomb the goddamn heathens.

  96. Duck and URK,

    Enough!! I’m beaten and can stand no more!!

    I, and the other 90+% of America (those who didn’t vote Lib for president last time) have lost all chance at joining the conversation because we’re all ignorant buffoons.

    I’ll never make the mistake of interacting with my intellectual betters again. And I’ll tell everyone I know that the party is full of people smarter than them, so they better stick to Dem/Reps.

    That said, The Dems, Reps, and even I may be stupid, but at least we don’t alienate the vast majority of the country from our cause.

  97. Following the Jena High School beating incidence, the Justice Department reopened its investigation into the noose-hanging incident and found no link to the assault on Justin Barker or other confrontations between black and white students. Donald Washington, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, told CNN that “A lot of things happened between the noose hanging and the fight occurring, and we have arrived at the conclusion that the fight itself had no connection.” He added that “We could not prove that, because the statements of the students themselves do not make any mention of nooses, of trees, of the ‘N’ word or any other word of racial hate.” The U.S. attorney also said race relations between black and white students were normal between the noose-hanging and beating incidnet. Washington also told CNN that Bell had “several previous assault charges on his record. ” The CNN story is online at http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/09/19/jena.six.link/index.html?iref=newssearch

    A few years ago, a revival of interest in the music of Billie Holiday and her song, “Strange Fruit,” generated articles that drew attention to the “lynch law” era that predated the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s, but these articles appeared mostly in scholarly journals, which most American don’t read. Copycat noose-hangings are now occurring across the country because few Americans associated nooses with racist sentiments until the Jena High School incident created national headlines.

    The movie Lonesome Dove has been aired a couple of time since its original presentation. It is also available in movie rental stores. I watched it just this summer. It’s a classic that is widely considered the best made-for-television movies every produced. It’s a safe bet that many students in high school today–particularly those with connection to a rodeo team–have seen it.

    Until the Jena Six incident made headlines, relatively few Americans regarded nooses as racist symbols. This explain the sudden rash of noose-hanging incidents. Until Jena Six, few people realized hanging nooses could create controversy. Hollywood movies such as Hang ’em High, High Plains Drifter, The Oxbow Incident and, yes, Lonesome Dove have conditioned movies to equate lynching with Old West outlaws. And of course, Americans have displayed nooses at Halloween for decades. (Halloween Magazine even post instructions for tying hangman knotts on its website at http://www.halloweenmagazine.com.) Suddenly, they are being accused of racism rather than poor taste.

  98. The whole noose thing reminds me of the lawsuit filed in 2004 against Southwest Airlines because a flight attendant said “Eeny meeny miny mo, Please sit down it’s time to go” and offended someone.

    I had no idea a noose was ‘racist’; I always associated it with the Western. Is there some kind of master list of racist items somewhere so I know what to avoid?

  99. That said, The Dems, Reps, and even I may be stupid…

    That’s a pretty big tent. I can only speculate about the third tentpole there.

    This isn’t about libs (or Libs) vs wsdave. I’m not a member of any party — based on other things I learned along the way. Nor would I rate myself your intellectual superior just because I know something about Bulgaria that you don’t.

    But I’d guess that you consider yourself inferior, given the tone of your replies. Buck up, there’s always time to learn.

    Ignorance isn’t stupidity. But willful ignorance is.

  100. Enough!! I’m beaten and can stand no more!!

    I, and the other 90+% of America (those who didn’t vote Lib for president last time) have lost all chance at joining the conversation because we’re all ignorant buffoons.

    I’ll never make the mistake of interacting with my intellectual betters again. And I’ll tell everyone I know that the party is full of people smarter than them, so they better stick to Dem/Reps.

    That said, The Dems, Reps, and even I may be stupid, but at least we don’t alienate the vast majority of the country from our cause.

    I’m enjoying watching you try to turn your admission of personal ignorance into a referendum on the viability of libertarian politics. Well played, old bean, well played!

  101. Hey, Barker probably had it coming. He’s a white southerner after all.

    And the black kids who did it – they couldn’t possibly be violent assholes.

    Let’s all tut-tut about this case and make the aggressors out to be the victims in order to demonstrate our moral superiority in the bizarro world.

  102. If I read this correctly, Franklin basically says that local officials stonewalled the media for months but it’s the media’s fault for not telling the officials’ side of the story. Now teachers and officials would like us to believe that both black and white kids sat under the shade tree and the nooses weren’t hung with racial intent.

    Franklin doesn’t disprove much. It’s now a matter of which side of the story do you believe: those accused of a crime trying to lessen their charges and/or sentences, or teachers and officials who may have allowed overt racial segregation to occur on their watch for years. Both have reason to lie, and the truth likely lies somewhere between the two sides.

    I do find it hard to believe that a town that voted overwhelmingly for David Duke, twice, *isn’t* a generally racist town and is a “wonderful place to live” for blacks.

  103. “I’ll never make the mistake of interacting with my intellectual betters again…”

    simply invite us over to your home, and we’ll point out all of the things there that are cheap. You can be around the better sorts, and the better sorts can get reaffirmation why they’re better. In industry, that’s a “win-win”.

  104. I still think that Episiarch is right about the personal stuff, but someone still burned Jena High School. Who burned Jena High School?

  105. A common assertion made in connection with the Jena High School beating is that the Jena Six are being over-charged simply because they are black. However, tn a 2005 case similar to the Jena Six beating, five white South Carolina teenagers who beat up a black teenager were charged and convicted of “second-degree lynching and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.” (There was no actual lynching involved. Second-degree lynching is defined by South Carolina law as any act of violence on another person by a mob when death does not occur. A mob is considered two or more people whose purpose and intent is committing an act of violence on another person.) Like the Jena Six, the white teenagers kicked the victim, 16-year-old Isaiah Clyburn, as he lay on the ground. The attack left the black youth “on the roadside bruised and bloodied from the attack.”
    The white teenagers received the following sentences: One, who prosecutors said was the person most responsible for the attack, was sentenced to 18 years suspended to six years and 400 hours of public service. Two were sentenced to 15 years suspended to three years and 300 hours of public service. And one was sentenced to 15 years suspended to 30 months and 300 hours of community service. A sixth co-defendant, Amy Woody, 17, of was also charged with 2nd-degree lynching even though she did not take part in the beating.
    The South Carolina incident was an obvious hate crime. The white teenagers, who used racial slurs, singled out Clyburn simply because he was black. However, the white youths were not charged with a hate crime; they were charge and convicted only for the physical assault. The Jena Six beating also has obvious racial elements. According to witness statements, members of the Jena Six used racial slurs. According to witness statements, at the onset of the attack, “There’s that that white [expletive deleted] who’s been running his mouth.” If Jena Six had been white and had said, “There’s that that black (expletive deleted] who’s been running his mouth,” the federal government probably would have filed hate crime charges. The Justice Department considered filing hate crime charges against the white teenagers who hung the nooses even though no violence was involved.

  106. Thank you Blair. This is a two way street. The only reason race isn’t a DEAD ISSUE yet is because some people refuse to let it die. Different races entail different mentalities and some races are simply DYING TO BE OPPRESSED.
    They want to be hated just so they can run on with incessant righteousness. This is why we have bullshit like affirmative action, which black supreme court justices even oppose.
    I don’t need to do research to see this. You just have to be around enough people.

  107. And about the reporter who wrote the article, maybe he’s writing in the Jena Times because he likes living there for Christ’s sake and wants to clear his town’s name. I don’t see any black reporters with as much true first-hand exposure to these events coming forward and refuting any of it.
    This was the first decently accurate account of this whole stinking fiasco. The only presumtions I see are the ones he makes about the racial atmosphere of the town. The rest of the story is showing basic historical fact and timeline.
    Every other article about this was just fodder for a rally, which if you’d seen the effort of Jesse Jackson, was completely LAME.
    People want change but either they refuse to look at themselves to start or they’re just too damn lazy.

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