Where have you been?
Jena 6 is News!
Being informed and aware of what’s going on in the world, not just in the United States, is not only critical it is essential for creating some level of compassion and understanding for other cultures. On too many occasions the average American has no clue what is going on in Tonga, Armenia, and/or Burkina Faso. Even the countries I have listed are really foreign to some readers. We all know about Iraq. How could we not know of the place that the Bush administration claims is the single most source of Jihad development in the world? Either he and his pack of loyal White House soldiers are complete idiots or they are significantly misguided by the intelligence. What do you think? Stop! Don’t call your president an idiot! I personally believe the illegal immigrant extremist and regular American fanatics, the Timothy McFaye-types, are already here living among us plotting their next attack. They are in the coffee shops, in our churches, and teaching in our schools. But, who am I? This opinionated black man doesn’t know anything.
The one thing I do know is consuming the news in any form is extremely important. Time and time again I hear my fellow brothas and sistas boasting with pride, “I ain’t watching no news. It is depressing.” This infuriates me because for one this means those folk will not be informed and two it indicates or suggests that these folk’s world is small. Small in the sense that their lives probably consist of home and work without any outside educational stimuli such as what Soledad O'Brien, Christiane Amanpour, Roland Martin, and Gloria Vanderbilt’s son, Anderson Cooper, is sharing with the world. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with this approach of therapeutically shielding the mind and spirit from what many call negativity.
Yes, the news is unpleasant and completely taxing – but it is REALITY. Not in-taking the news worthy events of the day via the internet, television, or radio regulates one to the other line. That line with people in it that are saying, ‘Why isn’t the news carrying the Jena 6 story?’ If you are reading this and whispering to yourself, ‘Jena 6? I don’t know what this brotha is talking about.’ you are in that uninformed line. (http://www.whileseated.org/photo/003244.shtml) Please don’t feel bad about being in that line because for weeks our only source for meaningful black talk radio, Grown Folks Radio, was in that line too. However, I am pleased to report that this socially conscious radio station is actively working with leaders throughout the nation now to expose to the world what’s going on in Jena, Louisiana. Their work has lead to our very own, Reverend Al Sharpton, to get involved. I am so thankful we have a man with a perm working on our behalf! Perm or not, Reverend Al is on the front lines like a TRUE soldier without a White House.
What am I to say about this travesty of justice that Al and others have not said? They really have covered every angle of this story, so again I ask - what am I to say without repetitiously whining? Many have emailed me to ask, ‘Muata, why don’t you focus on what white folk are doing to us, like what they are doing to Mychal Bell (one of the Jena 6), rather than pointing out our deficiencies?’ Deficiencies? Interesting. I can respect that request. Therefore, I do have this re-fried rhetoric for you. But, before I begin my liturgy of insight let me inform the uninformed that the Georgia state attorney in the Genarlow Wilson case who has the power to free Mr. Wilson is BLACK. Deficiencies??
They don’t care about us, and when they get an opportunity to lock-up another black man they will. Being innocent is not a factor for them. They believe we are guilty already of something. That something is being BLACK. The one thing most of us cannot shake is our blackness. We have to live with being black in this world. Not that it has been a problem for me. No, it is a problem for the white people who have yet to address their hearts. I have plenty of white friends who are genuine, but the one thing I believe that they have done: Changed their hearts which means their concern for the black plight is authentic. These are the white folk who join the Peace Corps, and end up serving in Zambia or some other ‘dark’ place.
Those young black men who are surely going to be jailed for a long time down there in that small rural town are causalities of war. That war that is waged day in and day out in America against the black man. But, what are we to do? Protest. March. I am for that! At least when this occurs black people are out in numbers on one accord, with one mission, and not divided. Actually, it is a beautiful thing to witness.
Black folk have been a witness to a lot in America. For some, life is remarkably good and for others life is a bad dream. Too many of us are living nightmares when it was not supposed to be this way. We thought after integration that things would be better. (I laughed as I typed that sentence). “Better”. There have been countless inroads and accomplishments. I recognize this. But, for some reason the Jena 6 story has taken up at least four full pages in Time magazine. It has even been mentioned in the black magazines we (black folk) surely read or glance through e.g. Ebony, Essence, Jet, and Vibe. So much for it not being in the news.
Has America truly evolved? We have everything at our disposal. Everything! We lead the world in so many areas. Unfortunately, that one area that we continue to struggle with is race relations. And, the reason I believe America has this problem: Too many white people have yet to appropriately change their hearts regarding blacks, Mexicans, Asians, and those other naturally tanned folk. What do I mean by change their hearts? Well, a white man can eat chitterlings, drink Milwaukee's Best, and watch those black bucks run up and down a field with a black man - but don’t let that black man’s son push-up on white man’s daughter. All hell will break loose! No mo pig guts eatin’ and no mo cheap beer drinking together. Back to the days prior to the late sixties we will go!
As a matter of ‘heart’ fact, this is where most Americans are anyway: the 19th century without the progressive change agency mentality. It is evident in the way black folk respond to Jena 6-type events: We will not strategically and collectively mobilize in numbers. Why? Probably because Jena 6 has not entered their minds via the news. Remember, “I ain’t watching no news!” And, finally it is definitely evident we are still in the past considering the way the White Man’s judicial system is ripping a part the life of Mr. Black Man. Nonetheless, please be informed that some white people including black people believe the black man is solely responsible for leading the nation in prison inmate status: Locked-up! I didn’t have to watch the news for that piece of information.
As I concluded this commentary, I felt a huge sense of emptiness. Did I make a difference with your thinking? What I have conveyed has been said over and over again. I know. It is my re-fried spin on not only the lingering opinions of the Jena 6 story, but the state of race affairs in America.
When will I and others get full? Full of change. Full of a difference being made. Not in my lifetime? Not in my lifetime is depressing to read and hear considering my mother and her mother said the same thing back in that newsworthy 19th century.
Written by Muata. Inspired by all the emails I received requesting me to respond. I hope I satisfied you.