Phi Beta Cons

“Jena Six” Doesn’t Add Up

Charlotte Allen writes a devastating piece on the “Jena Six” episode, in which the placing of nooses under a tree at a Louisiana high school was linked to the beating by six blacks of a white student.  It was subsequently charged by outraged civil rights activists that the punishment meted out to the white students who placed the nooses was negligible, while the black students were severely prosecuted.  It was also believed that the beating was somehow in retaliation for the insult represented by the nooses.  Allen handles all these details but more importantly shows how the whole tale as reported and sensationalized in the press was really a “narrative” pieced together by Alan Bean, a white Baptist minister who heads an organization called Friends of Justice.   “Nearly all the symbolic themes–hate crimes, Jim Crow justice, rogue prosecution, and the ghosts of the Old South that were supposed to be alive and well in Jena–that attached themselves to the Jena Six case as the months rolled by can be traced to the work” of this man, reports Allen.  Bean’s ”narrative” was of course fortified by the participation of racial provocateurs such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and was amplified by the full array of racial fictions that operate in our country today, and were so conspicuous in the persecution of the Duke lacrosse players.
One might add to the story that the judgements in the case of Donald Washington, the black United States Attorney for Central Louisiana, though infuriating to black and white liberals who wanted to relive the glory days of the civil rights movement, can now be seen as solid and plausibly based on the evidence — the nooses under the tree were believable as just a prank in bad taste and not a deliberate hate crime, there was no black protest of the nooses, there was no connection between the nooses and the beating of the white student by the six blacks.  But this clarity did not come soon enough to prevent the unbelievably arrogant and condescending and inappropriate lecture delivered by Congressman Keith Ellison to Washington when the latter appeared at a congressional committee hearing, aired on C-Span some time ago.
Keith denounced Washington for forgetting that Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement were not about Washington’s being able to have his good job and an SUV and stuff like that, and hectored him about how he had somehow betrayed the civil rights movement and his race.  That’s how a black man is treated who does his job like a professional and doesn’t serve the agenda as seen by his “betters.”  Shame.   

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