Muse: The Jena 6

For months, I’ve watched the news, listened to the radio, and read blogs about the Jena 6.

I am utterly disappointed in the way the media, the church, and our “black leaders” have handled this incident.

Dr. Phil, although I did not care for the way he handled the parent’s of the black students, asked a very valid question: “If the boys committed a crime, should they be punished?”
Since Reverend Sharpton didn’t answer it, I will. Yes, the boys should be punished if they committed a crime. However, the punishment should fit the crime and should be carried out in a “colorless” fashion – meaning give the boys the same sort of punishment that any white child in the neighborhood would have gotten. I am certain that a group of white schoolboys have attached just one black boy in Jena. Were they charged with attempted murder? Probably not.

While I empathize with Justin Barker and his parents, I believe that they should take responsibility in their contribution to the situation. Mom and Pop Barker, wake up – YOUR SON IS PROBABLY LYING! Peer pressure or something one of you said at home made him act out. No child in the South, black or white, can use the excuse that they didn’t know about racism. He knows, you know, and God knows.

Parents of the Jena 6 –

Michael Bell’s parents: You should have left him in jail after the bail was paid. Since he has a history of committing violent crimes, it is time that you take some responsibility for his behavior. His juvenile record should not have been made public record. However, you have to do something about him and his behavior before he causes you and the black race (you know that when one black person does something we all are responsible) further embarrassment. While I do not believe he should have the book thrown at him I do believe that he has a problem. Help him: PLEASE!

Jesse Ray Beard’s parents: He is just a baby. Take that child home and teach him that he is better than what he has been called and how he acted. Show him that the best way to get back at the people who want to oppress him is rise above them. Educate him so that he can use this situation as his defining moment. Teach him about the movement and how black men need leaders, not more followers. We need men who think with their mind and use their strength to uplift, encourage, and progress.

All the parents involved: Find a way to put this behind you while making it a part of your journey. These young men have been given a platform for good. Don’t use the media just for your benefit – use it to fight social injustice. Deep down inside, all of you know that all seven of the children acted inappropriately in some way. Barker’s, stop hiding behind Justin’s injuries; parents of the Jena 6, stop hiding behind the unfair legal system. Help you children to help the world.

Demeaning others with words, fists, or boots incites division. Uplift one another and offer the Word of God to your children:

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. [Matthew 7:120]”

The Jena 6 have been bruised and hurt by this just as Justin. The sad thing about it is that Justin’s physical hurt will soon fade away but the pain of being called the “N” word never dies. Every time the Jena 6 look in the mirror, go through routine traffic stops, or see a police officer the fact that they are black men will put fear in their hearts – especially when much of the majority treats them, their families, and friends like they truly are the epitome of the “N” word.

Toy Recall

I learned of another recall this morning watching the news.  This one is related to children’s toys containing more than trace amounts of lead.  As you may know, lead can cause brain damage in children and has been linked to Autism.

Unfortunately, the CPSC does not check toy safety until the products hit the shelf. We rely totally on toy manufacturers to maintain integrity in notifying us of these issues.  However, US Senator and Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama introduced a bill in May of this year that will protect our children against lead.

In his letter, he addressed the seriousness of the problem:

Over 400,000 children in this country are estimated to have high blood lead levels, with risk of serious learning disabilities, behavioral problems, damage to vital organs including the kidneys, brain and bone marrow, and death. It is simply unconscionable that products that pose such a serious and significant danger to children are so prevalent in our department stores and markets. The Lead Free Toys Act of 2007 will help us keep our children safe and healthy, and contribute to national efforts to reduce lead exposure.

Below are links to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) website:

Home Page

Toy Hazzard Recalls

Another site you may consider visiting is Mattel Consumer Relations Answer Center.