Bookmark and Share
Click to go to the home page.
Click to send us your comments and suggestions.
Click to learn about the publishers of and our mission.
Click to search for any word or phrase on our Website.
Click to sign up for an e-Mail notification only whenever we publish something new.
Click to remove your e-Mail address from our list immediately and permanently.
Click to read our pledge to never give or sell your e-Mail address to anyone.
Click to read our policy on re-prints and permissions.
Click for the demographics of the audience and our rates.
Click to view the patrons list and learn now to become a patron and support
Click to see job postings or post a job.
Click for links to Websites we recommend.
Click to see every cartoon we have published.
Click to read any past issue.
Click to read any think piece we have published.
Click to read any guest commentary we have published.
Click to view any of the art forms we have published.

HELP!!! We are facing a $50,000 shortfall from now until December. With money getting tight for so many people, the number of new BC Paid Subscribers and BC Contributors is way down. Please become a BC Paid Subscriber, or send what you can as a BC Contributor. Already a BC Paid Subscriber? Login to see if it's time to renew or if you can contribute a little extra Click Here! Thank you for helping to keep BlackCommentator online for you.

Between The Lines: Free The Jena Six - And A New Generation Of Activists Are Engaged In The New Jim Crow Struggle By Anthony Asadullah Samad, PhD, BC Columnist

This week, thousands of people will descend on the small Louisiana town of Jena to take a stand against Jim Crow justice. No small town has gotten as much attention for its racial politics since Forsythe County, Georgia in the late-1980s. That, of course, was an extension of Birmingham and Selma and other small towns that became the focal points of racial injustice after local issues became national protest movements. Being under a national microscope ain’t easy when justice is being twisted. And it’s obvious justice has been twisted. Even the state of Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals is saying so.

Last Friday, they threw out the second degree battery charges against Mychal Bell that had him facing 22 years in prison. Bell is still being held in jail, and all six student are still facing criminal charges. The local prosecutor still refuses to relent. Thus, the face-off for justice is on. This event has refocused the national advocacy community, and even engaged a new generation of activists. My fourteen year old daughter wanted to go to Jena and is writing her first paper of the academic year on this issue. Her thirteen year old friend, Celia, is writing a letter to the Governor of Louisiana. Students at my college, and others, have been the biggest responders to the calls of Michael Baisden, Steve Harvey and others who have put Jena “on blast” for its dual justice system. A new generation has been engaged to kill Jim Crow, again. And it won’t be over, until it’s over. 

Yes, Jim Crow is back, despite frequent dismissals of social construct critics (Black and White) that such claims were just racial hyperbole. And despite the indifferences of the colorblind construct of the past 25 years, Post Civil Rights Era realities have found colorblindness has done nothing more than redeem the segregation desires of previous generations. There is usually always one event or incident that makes the cloudy race question quite clear. Jena is that case, and now racial equality is back in the public discourse. It will take a new generation of activists to beat back a new generation of redeemers, seeking to get involved in this assault on racial equality and social justice. We can finally say that the “Z” Generation gets it. Hallelujah!!!

Not getting email from BC?

Cracks in the “equality” prescript have always started in “Smalltown USA", places where social and political leaders were less “cultured” and the media was less sophisticated in protecting the backroom racial hierarchy. It is no coincidence that the defense of the racial hierarchy of “Big City USA" (St. Louis in the Dred Scott decision, New Orleans in the Plessy decision) often succeeded, while Topeka, Kansas — Montgomery, Alabama — Little Rock, Arkansas or Philadelphia, Mississippi, exposed the race divide in its truest face.  During the desegregation battles of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, what we thought was just racially unsophisticated phenomena of small town cultures was later confirmed as societal “cues” of the nation, as racial conflict soon found its way to northern and western big cities like Los Angeles, Detroit and even, supposedly, the highly educated and socially sophisticated city of Boston — not to mention “dream killer” big cities in the South such as Dallas and Memphis.

There is nowhere in America where Jim Crow politics isn't found. The racial undercurrents of America continue to exist; it is usually only a matter of time when the covert becomes the overt. Racial Americana cannot escape its history, despite the refusal to talk about it in the colorblindness era, nor can it constantly be masked as racial exceptions rather than the societal rule. Hundreds of “isolated instances” have occurred all over America in the last twenty five years, and despite to the multi-focal dynamic that has overtaken the bi-focal dynamic of Black/White interaction, it should not be lost that Blacks have been at the top of the list of annual hate crimes for most of this period. The retrogression of race relations in this country is cemented in the constant imaging and framing of black males as suspect and hostile. Society’s perception of what is needed to control the hostility toward racial disparities and economic subjugation has been largely regulated into suppression, whether it is cultural (society driven) or institutional (policy or government driven). Jail is the new slavery and social control system, by which new slaves are captured and seasoned. It’s about time we woke up to this. 

So, Jena is now in the world stage, where America’s racial hypocrisy is again playing itself out, as justice denied is justice deferred - again. Until the six young men are released, we will continue to relived the Scottsboro boys, the Wilmington Tens and other acts of disparate justice perpetuated out of the criminal justice system. Jena is a social and cultural cue that social spaces are still protected on some levels, something we knew but never really faced up to, and the resistance to social integration is still present as it is still a well known “fact” that social contacts and mortality cannot be legislated by the state, and cultural norms are acknowledged in many communities throughout this nation. Jim Crowism is a cultural norm, and it’s back. 

Thank God we are seeing a new generation ready to engage in the struggle for racial justice and equality. That’s what progress is all about, protecting ourselves against retrogression. Columnist Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the upcoming book, Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is Click here to contact Dr. Samad.

Your comments are always welcome.

e-Mail re-print notice

If you send us an e-Mail message we may publish all or part of it, unless you tell us it is not for publication. You may also request that we withhold your name.

Thank you very much for your readership.


September 20, 2007
Issue 245

is published every Thursday

Printer Friendly Version in resizeable plain text format format
Cedille Records Sale