Have We Learned Nothing?

October 4, 2007 at 10:15 am 1 comment

What in the world would possess a group of white college students to cover themselves in mud for a reenactment of the Jena 6 assault? And, what would possess said white college students to photograph and videotape the reenactment and post it to Facebook?

From The Smoking Gun:

A group of white Louisiana college students dressed in blackface and reenacted the “Jena 6” assault while a friend snapped photos and videotaped the staged attack, images that were later posted to a participant’s Facebook page. The photos, which you’ll find on the following pages, were taken late last month on the bank of the Red River, where students from the University of Louisiana at Monroe giddily acted out the racial attack. The photos (and the short video clip at right) were posted to the Facebook page of Kristy Smith, a freshman nursing student. The album of images was entitled “The Jena 6 on the River.” In the video, three students with mud smeared across their bodies stomp on a fourth student, while two of the participants are heard to say, “Jena 6.” One man can also be heard saying, “Niggers put the noose on.” After the video and photos on Smith’s page were discovered by fellow students, she removed the material and made her Facebook page private.

And this isn’t the only incident of racially charged images being posted to Facebook. Students from Connecticut, South Carolina and Texas have all posted similar images.

Have we learned nothing from our history as American which is filled with episode after episode of discrimination and violence based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and all of the other things that makes each of us unique?

I came across the story in a post by the fabulous Pam Spaulding, barista in chief of Pam’s House Blend, in a post she submitted to Bilerico Project. Pam wrote about the difficult conversations race and other issues like the relationship between the “GLB” and the “T” in the LGBT community that we need to have, but are either too afraid, confused or unaware enough to have.

Among other observations Pam makes is this:

This whole mess about ENDA, particularly the dialogue that has resulted in perceived anti-trans opinion to bubble up to the surface is quite similar to discussing race.

It appears some people are reluctant to publicly broach the subject of transfolk in LGBT movement and the effect on or strategy of the passage of anti-discrimination legislation lest they be labeled with the equally radioactive word “bigot.” Nothing shuts down the conversation or draws a line in the sand faster.

If people want to make the case that Ts shouldn’t be attached to LGB, then that’s a discussion that reveals a serious difference in opinion and philosophy about the definition of our movement. It needs to be aired out honestly and openly. It’s relevant to know how many hold this view and why. It’s the first step toward admitting a problem we all must face to move forward.

Well said Pam.

Read the full post and join in the discussion its raised here.


Entry filed under: Advocacy, LGBT, Politics, Race, Video, YouTube.

Rep. Barney Frank on ENDA Questions Raised by Lambda Legal The Politics of Politics

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