Friday, September 21, 2007

Overnight Ponderings

by shamanic

RE: The Jena 6 & associated citizen mobilization...

1. There are days when I'm so proud to call myself an American that my teeth could just explode. Peaceful hordes of my country(wo)men showing up to make a difference is always the best thing on teevee.

2. On the teevee note, I saw some coverage during the day on CNN and Terry Moran's coverage on Nightline tonight. All get credit for trying hard and certainly for giving voice to people who usually are ignored, i.e., minorities, the poor, people with local accents, etc. Terry Moran in particular expressly discussed the fact that African Americans see their kids tried as adults and put away in huge numbers, but...

3. No mention of the drug war, which, let's face it, is America's social policy on minorities. Which is another way of saying that our nation is committed to rounding up and incarcerating young people of color.

4. I'm white and female and have a middle class background. I didn't sell drugs in my misspent youth, but I took enough of them that I'm just lucky never to have been caught. But in terms of not getting caught, it doesn't hurt that I'm white and female and have a middle class background, eh?

5. I really appreciate that interviewees at the march repeatedly expressed that the beating administered to the white student was inappropriate. The fights that happened now and then at my high school were also inappropriate. Also: nobody got charged with attempted murder in those.

6. Final point worth considering: The Jena 6 episode certainly highlights the racist failings of our justice system, but let's not forget that America is simply an incredibly punitive nation across the board. Add inherent racism to the mix and you get stuff like this, but way too many Americans are in jail. Why is that? And what do we do about it?

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