“The tree had been a gathering spot for white students,” the Associated Press reports. “The nooses were found after a black student asked school officials if blacks could sit there too.”
That’s what started the Jena 6 controversy, although the problem must actually be deeply rooted, extending back all the way to slave days. Why would the Black students even feel a need to ask if they could sit under the tree? That’s just idiotic in the 21st century! Sadly, then, it’s no surprise that, in Jim Crow Jena, the aftermath of serious, apparently systemic, racial tensions is a slap on the wrist for some white students and excessive criminal charges for the Jena 6, who are Black.
Al Sharpton’s not my favorite guy, but on this one, I’m right there with him. As if we needed any other proof there are still racist extremists out there, look at these two nutcases arrested with nooses on their pickup truck in Alexandria, just down the road from Jena. Is this mentality more prevalent than we thought or hoped? Would Alexandria’s police and mayor have responded the same way without all the media attention? Have we really not made as much progress in race relations as we like to believe?