Thursday, July 10, 2008

Louisiana Outlaws the Noose

Probably everybody and her sister knows this already, but I've been blogging everyday for a while, moved from one apartment to another, and started teaching again four afternoons a week, so I haven't exactly been on top of what's happening. Even forty miles away in Baton Rouge.

Anyway, while I was busy with other stuff, Louisiana State Representative Rickey Hardy (shown above, tying a noose while testifying on his bill) drafted a bill making it a crime for a person to place a hangman's noose or a picture of one on another person's property or on public property with "the intent to intimidate." The bill was unanimously passed in both the House and the Senate and it was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal a week ago. Will wonders never cease?

And all it took was the March on Jena. A bargain at twice the price.

But let's remember what six young men had to suffer through for this to happen. After hundreds of years of institutionalized racism in this state, African-American high school boys in a tiny little town in north Louisiana sat under a tree reserved for "Whites only" and it was their frustration and their courage and their rage and their willingness not to back down that made this happen. The world has moved on, but believe you me, their lives and their psyches will never be the same for the fire they had to walk through.

The March was a historical moment, but it was those six boys who paid the price. Here's to the Jena Six. May they always be remembered for their contribution to the process of liberating their people. I appreciate what Rep. Hardy did and I'm delighted, of course, that the legislature in this state unanimously supported his action. But I'm in awe of what those six young men took upon themselves, knowing they could die or go to prison for it. They joined the ranks of those who went before them, sacrificing their own comfort -- with or without a plan -- because they would no longer accept that "Blacks" should keep "their place."
The photo above was taken by Bill Feig of the Baton Rouge Advocate and also appeared in the Jet Magazine, which is how I found out about this at all.


Macon D said...

Yes, this is good news, and I too hadn't heard. Thanks for posting this.

Changeseeker said...

Hey, Macon. Is it just me or does it seem odd that this didn't make news more strongly than it apparently did? This is the principle reason I've had a subscription to Jet Magazine for years. It may feature a woman in a bikini every month (sigh) and it focuses a lot on "entertainment," but reading Jet, I learn about social scientific studies, legal decisions, and legislation related to African-Americans at least months before I typically run across it elsewhere.

Macon D said...

Yeah, it's an injustice in itself that it didn't get more coverage, but I can't say I'm surprised, given what I see as the generally "white" framework or lens through which corporate news gets filtered. Gotta get that Jet subscription of mine going--thanks for the reminder.

Changeseeker said...

I was afraid that was going to come across as a commercial plug, Macon. I wonder if Jet would give me a few extra months on my subscription for this? ;^) I should warn you, though, it comes every week and sometimes, for me, they stack up before I can get to them.