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Media Myths About the Jena 6

October 25, 2007

The spinning has taken on a new level in Jena, La. 

Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor released a revisionist view of the incident written by Craig Franklin, the Assistant Editor of the Jena Times.  After reading Mr. Franklin’s version of the Jena 6, I have to say that it is so different than all other accounts that have been reported that it escapes believability.  Frankly, I’m wondering if Mr. Franklin did not write the poece out of a selfish desire to remove the stigmata of racism from his home town. The article which, I encourage people to read, is offensive in many ways, but mainly because it mythologizes the blatantly racist behavior in Jena. (Franklin essentially says all the media has been a party to a huge hoax before this "true accounts" release)

A few of the Myths as he puts them:

Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree.
Franklin says there has never been "white-tree" at Jena High School.  An assertion that relegates the accounts of the African American members of the Jena community to the status of a lie, and does not explain why the Principal of the school felt it necessary to uproot the tree.

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students
Franklin declares the noose was not a sign of racist intent, but pranks perpetrated by white students toward their white friends.  Hogwash!  The noose is synonymous, especially in Louisiana and for that matter in the southern United States, with threat and murder of black people – not white. To try to explain this occurrence as a child’s game is villainous.

Myth 3: Nooses Were a Hate Crime.
This is one of the more outrageous pronouncements Mr. Franklin makes.  Regardless of the fact  that the noose hangings did not meet the standard for Louisiana’s hate-crime statute, it is in all sense and purpose a HATE CRIME! 

Read the entire article here:

This guy galls me, but I know he shouldn’t.  His interest is denial – that all too American institution called denial.  White America still lives with the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, whether or not it likes to admit it.  Mr. Franklin is another apologist whose been waiting in the wings, hoping to aid in the re-branding of this country.  But the stigma of racism is deep seeded and cannot be covered continually.  Jena made that evident, which is a problem for the mainstream media.  Why?  Because it pushes them to ask uncomfortable questions, such as if the problems in Jena suggest unresolved issues in the American criminal justice system. That is not an issue that they wish to address, because if they do, they than have to stop denying the systemic conditions of racism in our local and federal justice systems.  That would require a critical look at themselves – that’s not on the agenda.  But sponsoring completely different accounts of a blatantly racist and projected incident is in their interest.

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