Ah, it's deja vu all over again. Clear case of racism in Jena. After a lot of hard work, individual blogs run by people of color, sometimes under nasty threats, cover this story enough for it to be taken up by the traditional media (usually badly, but that's the way it goes). Add to that, these blogs, along with grassroots organizations, through the intertubes and radio, organize an astonishing march in Jena, a march for civil rights, for equal protection under the law.
And the unjust charges which would have put Mychal Bell away for way too many years are reduced by the racist DA.
Does anyone think this would have happened without protest, without media coverage of this injustice? Because I don't. But seems Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal has a different view, a -- shall we say -- "old-fashioned" view.
Thanks to NOLA blogger oyster over at Your Righthand Thief -- well, actually, thanks to one of his commenters, N. La. Lady, Mr. Jindal seems to be living in an older America, say, the Jim Crow era.
While the peaceful protest was going on in Jena, Mr. Jindal was stumping in Shreveport, speaking to students at LSUS. His reaction to the peaceful protest?
When asked about the impact of racial conflict in Louisiana, his response was déjà vu — unpleasantly reminiscent of the words and attitudes of southern politicians of not so long ago. When asked to comment on the demonstration in Jena, he said, "We don't need anybody to divide us. We certainly don't need outside agitators to cause problems."
This comment attributed to Jindal was posted a while back over at Your Righthand Thief, but several commenters wanted more proof that this had been said -- thinking that of course this kind of language would have made the news ... wouldn't it?
Turns out Tannie Lewis Bradley wrote an op-ed piece at the Shreveport Times, which is where the quote above originated, giving further credence to this story.
Outside agitators. Hmm, where have I heard this before?
Perhaps from Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail -- yeah, come to think of it he had something to say about that phrase:
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds
Two different views here. I prefer Mr. King's view to Mr. Jindal's. I don't think it is a coincidence that Mr. Jindal used the words "outside agitator." And I don't think he needed to consult The Racist Codebook to do so. It's a state of mind, a view point that is crystal clear. Anyone who followed this case knows that without "outside agitators," Mychal Bell would have been tried as an adult and put away for a long long time.
The courts realized this, even the DA realized this - belatedly. And they finally bowed to justice only because of this outside agitation.
Mr. Jindal -- meet Mr. Jim Crow. I'm sure you'll have a lot to talk about. And I hope we all talk a lot about you, too. I don't live in Louisiana. But I live in the United States. And I agree with Martin Luther King when it comes to the "interrelatedness of all communities and states," especially when it comes to justice.