Pictures That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Break Out the Good Whiskey, Just For Just a Sip or Two:
The protest in Jena, Louisiana yesterday was as close to the real deal as we're gonna get these days: a peaceful march and rally that were focused and intense, built around an example of unfairness in the justice system of a single place as representative of wider injustice. Goddamn, how it must have pissed off so many white people (and relieved a whole lot more) that the thing was as calm as it was.
Jena is in what could politely be considered the taint of Louisiana, the vaguely hilly netherworld between the asshole of Alexandria and the ballsack of Monroe. It is, more or less, the kind of place that the phrase "backwards ass country fucks" was invented for. Where the Jena Wal-Mart is the gathering place and major employer. Where white people drive around with Confederate flags and rifles on the back windows of their pick-ups. Where there really can still be a fuckin' tree on high school property that has the unspoken designation of "whites only," something you know goddamn well the teachers and administration just looked the other way on for years. Oh, how the Rude Pundit knows these towns well.
The whole saga of the town and the Jena Six is a sad, sordid tale of barely repressed racism coming to the surface, of white teenagers doing something stupid because they thought they'd get away with it (probably because their parents got away with it), of black teenagers doing something stupid in return, of the justice system doing something really stupid in charging Mychal Bell as an adult when there were enough real adults who who beat up Justin Barker, who would single-handedly do something stupid when he brought a gun to school. And let's not even get started with the school, which had abetted the racism on its campus. That's not to mention whatever idiot thought that setting Jena High on fire was a good idea.
The protest yesterday was a chance to put some tinder under the dying flame that was thought to have been started by the post-Katrina treatment of blacks in Louisiana. It was a way to bring focus to the disparity of treatment of blacks and whites in the judicial system in America (Bell's lawyer didn't call a single witness in his trial and it was an all-white jury; fuck, it was like 1952 there). And whatever you may think of Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, ya gotta love the success in putting the issue into the national dialogue, at least for a little while, and for, you know, scaring the shit out of a bunch of crackers. (And, please, no one fuckin' write to the Rude Pundit about how he's being racist by calling out the rednecks. They're his people - he can smack 'em around if he wants to.)
By the way, the poor tree was cut down. That tree didn't do anything to anyone. And cutting it down doesn't change a thing.
By the way, just west of Jena is a small outcrop of the town with its own name, Webb Quarters. It is named after the slave quarters that existed on a plantation. It's a shitty area, and it's the place where the black community of Jena still lives. The more things change...