Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco’s statement re Jena 6
From Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco’s press office:
???I have received hundreds of calls, letters and emails from citizens concerned about the situation involving the case of the high school students in Jena, La. As Governor, as a citizen of the State of Louisiana, and as a mother, without rushing to judgment, I condemn racism in any form, and I fully expect that those involved in this case, including all parties, will act with fairness and in complete good faith.
???I must clear up a widespread misunderstanding of my authority in this case. Our State Constitution provides for three Branches of State Government – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial – and the Constitution prohibits anyone in one branch from exercising the powers of anyone in another branch. This issue is currently a matter in the Judicial System, and should those involved in this case suffer any defects, it is their right to address them in that system through the appeals court.
???Again, the oversight regarding how this case was handled, from arrest to prosecution, lies within the Justice System. Therefore, I have consulted Attorney General Charles Foti and Donald Washington, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, regarding these events in Jena. As a result, General Foti has been and is in consultation with U.S. Attorney Washington and other members of the Justice System. Regardless of the outcome of this case, the Jena community has much healing ahead of it, and I urge all those citizens to come together for the common good of their community and their state. Our children deserve nothing less.???
In response to the Gov’s statement, Edie Griffin wrote the following letter. I will sign my name to this letter too (it’s so well written) and email it to the Gov.
AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR KATHLEEN BLANCO
Office of the Governor
Attn: Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
RE: The Healing of Jena
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Dear Governor Blanco:
We are encouraged by your recognition of the problem in Jena . Recognizing that there is something terribly wrong in the prosecution of these six African-American youths may be more eye-opening than Hurricane Katrina. It is not something that will simply just blow over.
In your August 30 statement, you assert a condemnation of “racism in any form”. Wonderful! Racism in Louisiana should have disappeared many years ago. But putting your confidence in the hands of all “involved” parties- that they “will act with fairness and in complete good faith”- is not confidence equally shared by the African-American community around the nation nor, indeed, by the rest of the civilized world.
This thing should have never happened. This criminal prosecution should have never gone forward, considering that it was a high school problem grown out of racial tension. On whose side is the State of Louisiana and its public school system?
If justice in the state is as impartial as you alluded to in your statement, then it is the job of the governor to “insure” that everyone is treated fairly before the bar.
We agree with your assessment: The Jena community has much healing ahead of it. But the community cannot heal itself; otherwise, the situation would have never escalated out of hand to begin with.
Maybe the fact that you, at least, recognize the problem seems courageous enough. But Jena needs more than a governor with maternal instincts. Instead of urging “all those citizens to come together for the common good of their community and their state”, maybe you should take charge- not like in the aftermath of Katrina- but true out-front assertive leadership for the “common good of the state”.
When a community as divided as Jena cannot solve its own problems, the governor needs to either send in the National Guards, or get up off her fanny and go to Jena and call a town hall meeting.
Since September 20 is the sentencing date of young Mychal Bell and the date that thousands of people from around the world will converge on the town of Jena , this would be a politically opportune time to show the world what you are made of, as a leader.
Black Accused Support Group (BASG)
Now, you can write a letter too. Use this link to access the email form to contact the Gov. of Louisiana. And while you’re at it you can complain about the rebuilding of New Orleans too. Here’s the automated response. I requested to be contacted by email so it will be interesting to see if I am.
Thank you for your e-mail.
If you would like to sign up to receive messages from my office, please visit this link.
As your Governor, I look forward to hearing from you and about the ways we can work together to improve Louisiana.
Please contact my Webmaster if you would like to suggest changes to this site’s design or content.
We have allowed our justice system to lock up so many of our young black men. When will this end, and how long will we allow this to happen?
Elaine, be sure to contact Gov of Louisiana. Write your own letter or copy the one posted here. And while you’re at it, you can write the Louisian Attorney General (CivilInfo@ag.state.la.us,
Executive@ag.state.la.us). Use this template from Eddie:
To The Louisiana Attorney General:
Civil & Executive Division
Why Jena, Why Now?
Why did the black kids at Jena High School feel it necessary to ask permission to sit under a schoolyard shade tree that traditionally had been reserved and enjoyed by white students? Why couldn’t they just sit under the tree with any questions asked (since, here in 2007, all things are supposed to be fair and equal)? Did the black kids perceive a differential in treatment- that the white students had a privilege that black students could not enjoy?
Why did the white students drape three nooses over the tree? Considering the fact that these white kids were too young to remember how blacks were once lynched throughout the south, who reminded them this practice of dangling ropes with nooses before the eyes of black people? What was the intended affect?
Racism begins with the older generation and is passed down to the children, and to the children’s children, and so on. In the shadows of a shade tree, the black children in Jena, Louisiana must have grown up with a sense of insecurity, such that they felt the need to “ask permission” for a privilege that should have been taken for granted and enjoyed by all.
The nooses represented race hatred and open bigotry. Who would even challenge white supremacy in this little town of 3,000 where whites outnumbered blacks ten-to-one? Who would even care enough to pull back the covers of America and peer into her vile biles?
The privilege of supremacy is preserved and protected by the local police establishment. The Jena school administration turned a blind eye to the open display of bigotry but the minute black students protested the discrimination school officials call in the police. And here, the school system and the police force worked hand-in-hand to perpetuate the disparity in treatment.
Lackeys, like Jason Whitlock of FOXSports.com, would dig up as much dirt as possible on one of the black youths in order to spread the blame among all the parents. However, it seems that the only way black parents could have prevented their children from falling into this trap and getting in trouble would have been to advise their children to acquiesce to white supremacy and to go along to get along, and not rock the boat in race relations. With no such warning (neither from parent nor from black leaders who know how racism works), these six young men had no guidance but instincts. Would Mr. Whitlock like to give black teenage boys a lesson in turning the other cheek after they had been insulted and assaulted? What did Mr. Whitlock say of the First Law of Nature? Don’t strike back? Or does the “irresponsible” parent miss something in this sports jock’s critique?
Racism is not racism unless it is back by authority, police powers, and the institution of justice. White supremacy means that blacks can legally be punished if they refuse to go along with the program. And, blacks can be assured of punishment from the courts (disguised under the cloak of the “criminal justice system”)if they buck the tradition in race relations in Jena.
Clearly, all things are not fair and equal in race relations in Jena, and probably never have been. But the civilized world and the American public seems so appalled that such atrocities are still being carried out in the 21st century. Young African-Americans are baffled because, growing up in an integrate world and going through a desegregated public school system, they have been brainwashed into believing that racism was dead. Had not the spotlight been put on the Jena, they would probably still be going through life, living a fairytale in Cookie Land, dismissing the fact that they, as blacks, are always targets of suppression.
Just to mention of this fact of life will get a commentator branded as a “race hater”. So, what do we do, Mr. Whitlock? Keep silent and let it happen? Let the Jena authorities devour our kids like a ham samich?
Living under the shadow of racism for so long, some things seem to just come naturally. An inferiority complex is one. Adopting an alien white value system is another.
Black people point the finger at each other and find every fault that white society has pegged to them. They develop the Pogo Syndrome: “We have seen the enemy, and it is us.”
But what if it is not we? Suppose it is “the system”?
God forbid! That would mean our distorted euro-concept of civil rights, which disguises itself as measuring up to white supremacist standards, would all be in vain. Oh no! The system has got to be perfect. It’s got to be the people who do not measure up. It’s got to be the Negroes’ fault.
From the perspective of a pious nose from a court bench, the judge can only see young black men charged with a serious crime. Never mind what happened before the December 4th assault. It’s irrelevant to the case.
The prosecutor, on the other hand, only wants an all-white jury to see one thing: A young black thug punching and kicking an innocent young white boy. White speaking to whiteness, it could have been their son or daughter. Oh horrors! But black speaking to blackness, it could have been our son or daughter. And, it usually is.
Eddie Griffin (BASG)
Still haven’t heard from the Gov’s office.
BTW, the whole idea of this blog is provocative. So reassuring to see our women abroad looking after us!
Thankfully, there is finally coverage???
We can all continue to live a life of denial regarding race. Yes the young men need to face punishment. However, the individuals who hung the nooses did as well.
The fact is, certain whites of this town were completely complacent with the race relations as long as blacks did not get out of line. As long as our children did not “sit under a tree.” A tree??? God???s creation. They were even fine, as long as the blacks did not make a big fuss about the retaliatory hate crime committed because these children sat under the tree. As long as blacks did not “fight back” race relations were fine. The minute, children get into a school yard brawl, and the one with the lumps ends of being white, then these same whites want to destroy 6 young black men.
When you come from a seat of privilege in this nation, you obvious do not see race when it comes to explaining your ill actions and the subjugated race is compliant. When you come from a seat of privilege you immediately see race, however when you sense an element of “fighting back.”
Remember you also feared non-violence. You fear fighting back and non-violence equally because what you are ultimately fearing (subconsciously) is change.
Whether non-violent or fighting, African Americans and other minorities expressing disapproval will ALWAYS be threats to certain privileged whites because whenever we express disapproval in numbers or put forth a concerted effort, you get a real sense that your seat of privilege may be toppled. In turn, your efforts to ???smother??? the disapproval is amplified, because you are now utilizing resources to stump out 6 blacks or a group of marchers, as opposed to attacking them one individual at a time. There was a science to burning crosses in one yard at a time, or terrifying one family at a time. It becomes a bit of a different animal when you are put in a position whereby you feel you have to get 500 or 5,000 marchers underfoot at one time.
A schoolyard brawl equated to mob violence in the DA???s mind ??? leading him to want to make a grand example out of six of our children and destroy their lives. Why? To ensure that blacks get the picture and never rise up in numbers like that again in Jena, Louisiana.
Thank you for your eloquent recitation of why standing up for these high school students is SO important. And I am not foolhearty enough to think that just because I live in Europe I couldn’t find myself in an equally agregious situation.