Friday, September 21, 2007

Twenty-First Century Civil Rights March

I just read this article on the New York Times website. It's about the Jena Six: six black teenagers arrested last year on attempted murder charges after they beat a fellow white classmate unconscious. The fight was precipitated by someone hanging nooses from a tree known for being a hangout for white students. Jena, Louisiana is a town of about 3,000 residents and is 85% white. I have no opinion on whether or not the charges were justified; I need to learn more about the case.

However, in the article, many quotes stood out. One of them was President Bush's. His quote slowed the whole flow of the article down. His syntax and inability to form coherent sentences just sounded like he was...an idiot. God, I can't wait till he's gone.

Another quote that stood out was one by Eric Depradine.
“This is the first time something like this has happened for our generation,” said Eric Depradine, 24, a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “You always heard about it from history books and relatives. This is a chance to experience it for ourselves.”
The thing is...it isn't the first thing like this that has happened in our generation. From being good friends with tuckergurl, I know that civil rights are being violated down racial lines every day in our criminal justice system, our prisons, and in death penalty policies. The re-segregation of our public schools and the disenfranchisement of blacks through redistricting have all happened in Depradine's generation. I guess for Depradine, it's in this case that he feels he can make a difference.

The best quote of the article, however, was by Latese Brown:
“If you can figure out how to make a school yard fight into an attempted murder charge, I’m sure you can figure out how to make stringing nooses into a hate crime.”
That's funny because it's true.

3 comments:

Lucas Salazar said...

...and even crazier which could be pointed out about Eric Depradine's comment is that he says, "This is a chance to experience it for ourselves." You didn't mention if he's black or white, but I'm thinking white in my head and the voyeuristic connotation of that phrase is pretty sick. Assuming it was a white guy it's kind of like, "Hey, finally, we have our chance to see extreme racism in action. Hooray!" Unsettling...

Angela said...

"Assuming it was a white guy it's kind of like, "Hey, finally, we have our chance to see extreme racism in action. Hooray!" Unsettling..."

Yeah, that is so true. Thanks for that entry. I've been a bit out of the loop lately in terms of news because I knew there was a lot of crazy race stuff going on lately. The last quote in the entry was a good one. I too have no idea what went down but racism can drive people to a dark place, no matter who was really at fault.

summer said...

huh. i read eric's comments as a black guy excited to have his very own civil rights march. still voyeuristic as well as more about himself than the actual issue. i think i would read it the same, actually, white or black.

and i love latese's comment. Precisely.