I’m glad people are in Jena and I am glad people are taking a stand, but it actually bothers me a bit that it takes a story of stereotypical southern town with hanging nooses for people to talk about racism and segregation in large numbers in this country.
When I first heard about Jena, I wasn’t surprised because I already knew about towns like that in Louisiana, Texas, and other parts of the South.
There’s a town in Texas called Vidor. It’s en route to Louisiana and it’s a town I wouldn’t dare stop in. I’m not welcomed.
But the irony is, every major city in this country has large portions who harbor that same attitude towards people that look like me. It’s called redlining. I was listening to coverage on CNN for a few minutes and I heard the anchor, Tony Harris, say “It’s just like the 60s here.” Then he went on about Civil Rights. I’m just amazed that in this country everything has to go back to that.
I’m not saying forget, but I would think with schools more segregated now than they were before legalized segregation, and the end of affirmative action, jail figures, the way we’re depicted in the media (including Fox News anchors being openly racist on air), the huge numbers of blacks not even finishing high school, gentrification, and just so many other instances of obvious racism (even if it is covert, it’s obvious) going on in this country that people won’t talk about or take action unless you hear a story about a noose. There’s already a noose tied around Black America’s neck; a lot of us are just too busy pretending it’s not there.
Like I said, I believe that this a great thing that people united to take a stand. I’m not trying to say it’s pointless in any respect. I appreciate the symbolism.
But, I get the feeling it might take another noose or a burning cross to get major reactions out of people — and it shouldn’t have to.