Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jena 6...Heartbreaking

Without addressing the particulars of the case (of which I only have a sketchy understanding), I am saddened by a some key, ancillary issues.

(1) It seems we have not made much progress in narrowing the divide between the way Blacks and Whites perceive the world. We are all Americans and that should count for something--especially in a time of war. But race is a powerful filter no matter how hard we try to ignore or marginalize it.

(2) While I am impressed at the great numbers of people who have made their way South in order to protest perceived injustice in Jena, Louisiana, I am tremendously unimpressed by the most recognized mouth pieces leading the charge. Both Sharpton and Jackson are completely disingenuous and self-serving. They often quote Dr. King and ostensibly try to emulate him. Clearly, they don't even come close. Their motivations often appear tainted and their judgment is questionable. Sharpton has not once, but twice defended liars and shakedown artists. He has impugned the reputations of innocent people and has engaged in extortion, brandishing the much feared title of "racist" as a weapon against anyone who dares to disagree with him. And Jackson...well... anyone who lives in the Chicago area is familiar with the dubious nature of his leadership status. Some twenty years ago (ouch) at Berkeley, I recall Dr. Harry Edwards commenting that he knew Rev. Jackson personally and even considered him a friend but was nonetheless suspect of Rev. Jackson's true motivations. I can't quote Dr. Edwards exactly but it was something to the effect of Rev. Jackson having to always be "up in every one's business"--whether he was requested to do so or not. I don't think Sharpton or Jackson could ever support a Rosa Parks to lead a movement. In doing so, too much attention would be deflected from themselves. If in fact a great injustice was carried out in Jena, the cause to remediate any wrongdoing is only hampered by the involvement of these two posers.

(3) The racial tensions in Jena lead me back to a question I have asked for years: Why do so many Whites insist that racism never exists and many African-Americans believe that it always exists, in nearly every situation?

I guess it just comes down to living in the other guy's shoes--if only for a day. I think both "sides" would see that there really, truly is middle ground.

And I think we all could use a little more middle ground these days. Because let's face it...Al Quaida is not at all interested in our racial differences. Their desire to kill us is equal opportunity.

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