The Jena Six Through the Looking Glass

Last Thursday in the small

town of Jena, the Reverends

Jesse Jackson

Al Sharpton
led a march of thousands of protestors

"Jail the Jena Six!"

The demonstrators and the press had come from all
over the country to condemn the

savage racist attack
of December 4, 2006, in which a
black high school student was jumped from behind,
knocked unconscious, and then kicked and punched by six
white football players until they were dragged off their
supine victim.

like `stomped him badly,` `stepped on his face,`
`knocked out cold on the ground,` and `slammed his head
on the concrete beam` were used by the students in their
reporter Abbey Brown in "Documents
Give Details of Fight
," a
June 11, 2007 article in the local
Alexandria-Pineville Town Talk

On Thursday, the two ministers demanded that

hate crime charges
be added to the indictments
against the six muscular white athletes

accused of beating
black student Justin Barker
senseless. "Why in the world

isn`t this being called a hate crime?"
Sharpton. "Given the long series of

racial incidents
in Jena, this was clearly a
racially-motivated attack."

The black leaders denounced District Attorney Reed
Walter`s decision to reduce the main charge from
second-degree attempted murder to second-degree
aggravated battery. They implied that only bias could
account for his leniency toward the white athletes.
"These six football stars might well have killed this
poor boy if they hadn`t finally been stopped,"
Jackson. "Let the jury decide whether it was
attempted murder or not."

The Rev. Jackson
blamed school authorities for not disciplining their
star white players for earlier crimes. He pointed out
that the only one of the

football players
so far to be tried and convicted,
fullback/linebacker Mychal Bell, had been accustomed to
running amok off the field because of preferential
treatment he enjoyed due to his athletic stardom. In the
twelve months leading up to the attack on Barker, Bell
had scored

18 touchdowns
and been convicted of

four crimes
, two of them violent. Capping off the
junior`s busy year, on December 17, 2006, Bell was named

while he was sitting in his jail cell.

Jackson quoted
Brown`s August 25 article "Bell
denied bond due to criminal history

Bell was placed on probation until his 18th birthday —
Jan. 18, 2008 — after an incident of battery on Dec.
25, 2005. After being placed on probation, he was
adjudicated of three other crimes, the two in September
and another charge of criminal damage to property that
occurred on July 25, 2006."

The Rev. Jackson noted that Brown`s article showed
that school officials were

in reining in their violent star:

"Mack Fowler, Jena High`s
football coach at the time, said that … he discovered
that while he was punishing his players, the school
`wasn`t doing anything` to them. Fowler said he decided
then that he was going to do the same thing the school

Discriminating on Bell`s behalf paid off on the

football field.
Brown wrote:

"Bell was adjudicated—the
juvenile equivalent to a conviction—of battery Sept. 2
and criminal damage to property Sept. 3 … A few days
later, on Sept. 8, Bell rushed 12 times for 108 yards
and scored three touchdowns—one of the best performances
of the year for the standout athlete."

The Rev. Sharpton argued that the youngest of the
attackers, Jesse Ray Beard, should have been

charged as an adult
. "Instead, he is frolicking
on the football field right now!"

Brown reported in "`Jena
Six` all ran together — on the field and off

"Since returning to school, Beard has shined as one of
the Jena Giants` star players on the football field. …
He had 91 yards rushing and scored the game-winning
touchdown Friday night in the Giants` 12-6 overtime win
over Iowa."

Both civil rights organizers agreed that … oh, wait …
No … hmmhmmh …

Look, this is kind of embarrassing for me. I`m not
sure how to explain this … Okay, here goes:

I just realized that this article I`ve been writing
is about an "alternate universe" in which the six
football players were white and their victim was black.

In our universe, though, the attackers were
black and the youth was white.

So, in our space-time continuum,

Jackson and Sharpton
weren`t denouncing the
perpetrators of this brutal racial beating, they

were defending them.

On this particular Earth, everybody who is anybody in
the media feels that the stompers are the victims, not
the stompee.

I got all the facts and quotes from the local
newspaper right, I just got backwards the races of the
students and the reasons Jesse and Al were so mad.

But, now that I think about it, maybe my mistakes
don`t really mean much. No matter

who stomped whom
, we would have seen exactly the
same brouhaha on the TV news last Thursday, except for
details about whether the protestors` signs read
"Jail the Jena Six"
or "Free the Jena Six."

In both worlds, there would have been a big
demonstration in Jena. Hey, look, there`s

! And over there`s

And behind them are all the activists trying to
act outraged whenever the TV camera points in their
direction. And here in front are the

TV correspondents
putting on concerned-looking
frowny faces as they make vague references to

Jim Crow
, lynchings,

Emmett Till
, and that ever-popular perennial, white

So, what difference does it make whether I got right
who committed this hate crime?

Nobody else seems to care.

As we saw with the

Duke lacrosse case
(which we at
rightly labeled a hoax—motivated by what

Tom Wolfe
called "the hunt for the

Great White Defendant
—way back in April 2006),
there`s a tremendous hunger in modern America for news
accounts of white violence against blacks. But there
isn`t enough actual supply of white-on-black violence to
meet the overwhelming demand. So the press promotes

, as with Duke, or simply spins the story 180
degrees in reverse of the plain facts, as with the Jena

The Jena attack is interesting not because it`s some
flashback to ancient times, but because it`s a
state-of-the-art example of our OJ Era. There are now
two sets of law: one that applies to the rest of us and
one that applies, ever so erratically, to celebrities,
which, on a very local level, the Six had been in
football-crazy Jena.

On Saturday Night Live`s "Weekend
in 2004, Tina Fey announced:

"Yesterday, in a New Jersey courtroom, former NBA star

Jayson Williams
was acquitted of manslaughter
charges, although by all accounts he did pull the
trigger in the

shooting death of his limo driver.
The verdict sends
a clear message that no matter where you live, retired
sports stars are allowed to kill you."

Funny – but the Williams case was further proof that
the famous and talented can

run wild
… until they go too far. Although in the
cases of Robert Blake and Phil Spector, they might even
get away with murder. (Can you believe that Spector
might end up with a

hung jury
? I remember

The Ramones
telling the press that their producer
was a dangerous gun-waving loon way back in 1980.) [Going
After the Real Nuts
, by Jay Cocks, Time
, March 10, 1980]

When you combine the slack cut for celebrities with
the slack cut for  blacks by whites afraid of being
called "racist," you get the

Venn Diagram
from Hell. As any reader of the police
blotter in the newspaper sports section can tell you,
athletes, especially black athletes,


very bad things
to the

people around them
. Much of the time, they get away
with it, but every so often they finally get the book
thrown at them, as happened to the Jena Six.

Eddie Thompson
, a

in Jena, explained how the stomping of
Barker was merely the culmination of the Jena Six`s long
skein of privileged criminality:

"Some of these students
have reputations in Jena for intimidating and sometimes
beating other students. They have vandalized and
destroyed both school property and community property.
Some of the Jena Six have been involved in crimes not
only in LaSalle Parish but also in surrounding parishes.
For the most part, coaches and other adults have
prevented them from being held accountable for the reign
of terror they have presided over in Jena. Despite
intervention by adults wanting to give them chances due
their athletic potential, most of the Jena Six have
extensive juvenile records. … These boys did not receive
prejudicial treatment but received preferential
treatment until things got out of hand."[
Battle Against Racism In Jena: Jena-Cide
September 10, 2007]

In the end, the Jena Six should be thankful they
stomped a mere white boy.

If, like possibly prison-bound NFL quarterback

Michael Vick
, they had instead stomped a dog
– well, then, there

would be hell to pay.

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website
features his daily