Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jena Six & the Resurgence of Nooses as Intimidation

This photo shows the noose hanging in an office at B.R. Funsten/Tom Duffy Co., a Fairfield flooring company. Photo courtesy of Alioto Law Offices

Jena six
Sen.Barack Obama

Jena- John Cougar Mellencamp
Note this video was flagged by YouTube or its users
Is the song & video too upsetting for the average American or just too close to the truth - or is it that even now many Americans don't like to be reminded about America's racist past let alone what racism exists in America today -The American Myth is what some prefer which says that America was always a great democracy where there was little injustice -so forget about slavery & Jim Crow that was just the acts of a few bad apples -If Americans were so concerned about justice then why is it that people were never prosecuted for the 4,700 or so known or documented lynchings as the article below points out-

Statement about the song by John Cougar Mellencamp

John's statement about "Jena"

"I am not a journalist, I am a songwriter and in the spirit and tradition of the minstrel, I am telling a story in this song.

The story is not, strictly speaking, about the town of Jena or this specific incident but of racism in America.

The song was not written as an indictment of the people of Jena but, rather, as a condemnation of racism, a problem which I've reflected in many songs, a problem that still plagues our country today.

The current trial in Jena is just another reflection of prejudice in our nation. If the song strikes an emotional chord with people and if they examine it and interpret as they will, something will have been accomplished. The aim here is not to antagonize but, rather, to catalyze thought."

The song and video are inspired by today's headlines about the Jena Six.

From CommonDreams.org& originally from
Monday, October 29, 2007 by The San Francisco Chronicle
Resurgence of Nooses Reminds African Americans of Past Horrors
by Leslie Fulbright

Sar-ron Beverly knew about nooses from family stories and historical photos. But he never understood their power until he walked into his boss’ Fairfield office one day and saw one hanging from the ceiling, in front of a bookshelf and a family portrait.1029 07

“It was just too much,” said Beverly, 30. “I’m from Mississippi. My grandparents moved to California to get away from this stuff.

“A hangman’s noose shows the ultimate hatred for African Americans.”

Since a noose hanging in a schoolyard triggered a civil rights firestorm this summer in Jena, La., there’s been a resurgence of nooses across the United States. They’ve been found in a post office, in a hospital, on a professor’s door, in a Coast Guard cadet’s bag, in a fire station and on a bronze sculpture of the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

Historians and academics are examining why the noose is resurfacing and trying to explain its current cultural significance. Some say the symbol will always represent hate and proves that racism still exists in America. Others say the nooses are meaningless pranks.

Whatever the case, the fear and anger that a noose incites among African Americans are real.

Between 1882 and 1968, there were a documented 4,743 lynchings in the United States, and most victims were black men. Victims were usually beaten and hanged, often in public squares. White families would watch and take photos. No one was ever convicted of murder in connection with any of the deaths.

“Many white people are unaware of the incredible power of the lynching story for African Americans,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, a professor of law at the University of Maryland and a former civil rights attorney. “Lynching was a message crime. It served to tell the black community that there were boundaries. Don’t get too educated. Don’t vote. Don’t get too wealthy. Don’t look at a white woman.

“It was not just used to punish an individual, but to serve as a threat to others.”

Ifill wrote a book titled “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century,” which looks at the relationship between decades-old lynchings and today’s racial violence.

“I don’t buy the story that these are pranks,” Ifill said. “If this were a swastika or a burning cross, no one would be asking that question.

“Lynching is a history that blacks take very seriously and live with, and that whites have almost entirely ignored.”

Displaying a noose is illegal under federal hate-crime laws if it is intended to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person, or to attempt to do so, by force or threat of force, because of that person’s race, color, religion or national origin.

In 2005, the most recent statistics available from the FBI, there were 3,919 racial hate crimes reported nationwide. Of those, more than 67 percent - 2,630 - were against black people

also see:

Video of Interview of James Rucker on the 21st Century Civil Rights Movement co-founder Colorofchange.org
by Truthout

and at Truthout article Bush's FEC Nominee Undermined Voting Rights By US Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.l)The Louisiana Weekly 15 October 2007

More than 40 years ago, John Lewis and Hosea Williams, along with hundreds of everyday Americans, left their homes and churches to brave the blows of Billy clubs and join a march for freedom across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Thousands of anonymous foot soldiers - Blacks and Whites, the young and the elderly - summoned the courage to march for justice and demand freedom. A few months later, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law.

It's because of the sacrifice of these American heroes that we've come so far today. But there's more work to be done. Recent elections have shown unprecedented intimidation of African-American, Native American, low income and elderly voters at the polls. We've seen political operatives purge voters from registration rolls for no legitimate reason, distribute polling equipment unevenly, and deceive voters about the time, location and rules of elections.

So today, more than ever, we need to have confidence that those in government responsible for overseeing our voting system will uphold the right to vote for every single American.

This is what's at stake in the United States Senate today. President Bush has recently nominated Hans von Spakovsky to serve on the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It's the job of the FEC to regulate elections and disclose campaign finance contributions. So it goes without saying that the FEC needs strong, impartial leadership that will promote integrity in our election system.

Hans von Spakovsky is not the right person for this job, and I strongly oppose his nomination. From 2001 to 2005, von Spakovsky served as an official at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division where he amassed a record of undermining voting rights, creating restrictions that would make it harder for poor and minority communities to vote, and putting partisan politics above upholding our civil rights.

take care,

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