In Jena, as throughout the rest of the US, we are supposed to believe that “race is no longer an issue” and that justice is colorblind. California fits the pattern perfectly. Out here, Martin Luther King Jr. commemorations have become exercises in remembering how bad racism used to be [in the South] but thank God almighty we are free at last!
Paul Ortiz shares a piece he published at truthout.org on the Jena Six, the African-American Louisiana youths who were charged with attempted murder after a fight with a white student. The fight was one of a series of racially-charged incidents’ at the youths’ high school. (Mychal Bell, one of the six, recently attempted suicide.) The case and the response of the African-American community, Ortiz believes, may mark a turning point in the black freedom movement, which has often operated in isolation from members of the white community.
Thanks very much to Paul for submitting his work. Other panelists are encouraged to do the same. Send panel papers or related materials to SOHP Digital Coordinator Seth Kotch: sethkotch [at] unc [dot] edu.