Jena 6 Update: Exploitation Escalates; More Blog Reactions

No surprises here: Hatewatch reports that a well-known white supremacist has attempted to exploit Justin Barker, the white teenager who was beaten allegedly by the so-called Jena 6.

According to Hatewatch, Richard Barrett of the Nationalist Movement “met with 17-year-old Barker, along with his father David Barker, the night before the rally.” Barrett also says that he obtained a statement from Justin stating “the ones who attacked me are getting money for beating me up” and “express[ing] gratitude” to Justin’s supporters.

However, as Hatewatch points out:

There is no evidence to suggest that Justin or David Barker had any inkling who Barrett was when he apparently showed up at their door. According to Barrett’s own account, he approached the Barkers to offer support for the family and to try to get more media attention for Justin’s injuries and his version of events.

The Clarion-Ledger confirms that Barker’s statement was apparently obtained by Barrett under false pretenses:

He led us to believe he was just down here to find out Justin’s part of the story,“ David Barker said of Barrett. ”He said he was going to the rally just to see what was going on.“

David Barker said Barrett never gave them the impression that he was involved in a white-supremacist organization. Barker said he specifically asked about affiliations with organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan.

”He said, ’No, I’m a lawyer that goes around trying to help families that can’t help themselves,’“ Kelli Barker said.

Elsewhere: – Lambert of Corrente give a broad runs down of some blog coverage, including the belated A-lister response, noting the latter “all seem to link to each other…not to the [smaller/POC] blogs I listed first”. To his credit, Lambert also acknowledges Corrente’s participation in the circular coverage.

– Blackamazon reminds us that, contra what will likely soon become conventional wisdom, this past Thursday’s mobilization was not an exclusively ‘black’ event, nor the culmination of efforts by the mainstream civil rights establishment. Rather, the march on Jena was “a multi pronged multi racial multi front cooperative even if uncoordinated concern. By the time Jesse and Al are involved it’s been in papers and radio stations around the world.” (Case in point: BBC News broadcast a documentary on Jena back in May, long before Al and Jesse started sheddin’ tears for the cameras.)

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Donna Darko takes Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Witt to task for giving credit to “hip-hop music blogs” and “popular black entertainers such as Mos Def” for bringing attention to Jena, rather than the female bloggers and activists–especially women of colour–who, from the beginning, did most of the heavy lifting. (h/t SassyWho)

– Via Slant Truth, Rachel has some sage advice for those wishing engage the broader white public in Jena-related discussions:

…[W]hen people try to frame the discussion around only the fight or only Jena, Louisiana, don’t let them. The case itself is much broader, and the issues of our criminal (in)justice system are way bigger than Jena, Louisiana.

– And as always, keep checkin’ the Thin Black Duke and his regularly updated Bloggers For Jena post.

19 Responses to “Jena 6 Update: Exploitation Escalates; More Blog Reactions”

  1. KIM COLE says:

    as long as there are europeans who hate blacks this kind of thing will always happen. why?? BECAUSE BLACK ARE THE MOST HATED RACE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD……….PERIOD.

  2. donna darko says:

    Thanks for the shout out and remembering the ladies, Matt!

    BrownFemiPower’s post

    reminded me that not only did Ida B. Wells lead the anti-lynching movement, Harriet Tubman lead the abolition movement.

  3. Hooo boy, here we go…

    If I didn’t have to leave in like three minutes… but rest assured, if Matt doesn’t get to you by the time i can sit down and reply to that, I will.

  4. donna darko says:

    Robert Bailey was attacked and beaten by a mob of white people and one white person got a misdemeanor. A white man pulled a shotgun on three black students and didn’t get charged but the black students were charged with theft of a weapon. Any questions?

  5. Okay, Donna covered it.

  6. I would also like to add that the opinions expressed by L are almost verbatum those of David Duke, and we all know what a pioneer in civil rights he was.

  7. PJ says:

    The facts are as follows:

    Some African American kids asked the school if they could sit under an oak tree where white kids normally sit. They did so.
    The next day, 3 nooses were found hung on that same oak tree.

    Next, the academic section of the high school was burned down. That crime is still under investigation- no arrests at all.

    Next, 6 African Americans beat, kicked, stomped and knock unconscious a white male student. Parents of the African American students say that the white student provoked his attackers by using racial epithets. The white students parents say their son did nothing to provoke the attack.
    The white student goes to the hospital, he is released “the same day” (not sure where you got 2 hours from) (you can see a picture of his face on if you look.)

    The 6 African Americans were initially charged as adults with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

    The first conviction is of Mychal Bell- he was convicted of AGGRAVATED BATTERY- NOT MURDER!!! His bail was set at 90K- judges can set bail higher for some criminals than others due to a person’s criminal record. In this instance, Bell had a record- some of which included battery.

    He should have been tried in juvenile court because he was 16 at the time of the incident- and in LA you have to be 17 to be tried in adult court.

    Bell has been in jail since December, 2006, unable to post his bail. The others were able to post bail.

    This past week, a 3 judge panel decided it was premature to release Bell from jail and a defense attorney says they have to wait to see if the DA will re-file charges in juvenile court.

    A US attorney claims that there is no connection between the noose incident and this beating. The DA agrees.

    On 9/20/07 15-20K people march in Jena, LA- protesting in what they call unjust treatment of the African American teenagers.

    A judge denies Bell’s request for release while his appeal his pending.

    so- there you have it- that’s my version of the story- (a synopsis of what CNN reports) and I’m sticking to it!

    Now- the issues- first, it’s troublesome to think that if the races were reversed- a white student in Bell’s position with his record wouldn’t be treated the same.
    ***That’s the issue- not being tried for attempted murder- but the sentencing and bail difference between a white student and a black student.*** That is our issue in America- an issue of injustice that will not be fixed because 15-20K people marched. The only way it will be fixed is when prejudice is omitted from the human race- that’s not going to happen any time soon- so, unfortunately, it is something we have to live with. Like being diagnosed with cancer.

    Perhaps those 15-20k who marched should go to Africa and march because in Africa often times children under 15 are tried in adult courts and they are held in ADULT prisons.

    I’m glad I’m in America and I’m glad I have the freedom to teach my child about prejudice and perhaps he’ll teach his- and so on- maybe that’s the only way we’ll rid our American society of prejucice. I don’t have the answer, but I can start by trying with my own white, blonde, blue-eyed boy.

  8. matttbastard says:

    First of all, welcome Donna! Hey, always gotta give it up for the ladies!

    My apologies for not engaging earlier; was unaware that a discussion had developed here (that’ll learn me to not pay attention to my own damn posts, lol).

    BFP really spoke to me with her powerful, succinct summary; women (and feminists) have always been (and continue to be) at the centre of a number of social justice/human rights movements. As you pointed out, it was a supreme insult to have the hard goddamn work of so many people so casually and indifferently disposed of by Witt simply because he couldn’t be assed to do his fucking homework–and yet, not without precedent, alas.

    As for ‘L’, I will simply repeat Rachel’s advice, and after that engage no more:

    …[W]hen people try to frame the discussion around only the fight or only Jena, Louisiana, don’t let them. The case itself is much broader, and the issues of our criminal (in)justice system are way bigger than Jena, Louisiana.

    More from ‘M’ (who did a HELL of a lot of HARD GODDAMN WORK, just in case you’re reading this, Howard).

    (Now I have Team Dresch running through my head: “it’s not magic it’s work/yeah, it’s cool but it’s work/and sometimes it feels like a choice between pleasure and existence”)

  9. donna darko says:

    Thanks, Matt! and Sassywho!

    It takes too much energy to engage people who are set in their ways. Don’t waste your time w/people who take their talking points from CNN. It’s better to organize.

  10. PJ says:


    It was simply easier to organize the facts of the case by following the timeline on CNN. If you take issue with one, two or all of the facts I’ve listed, perhaps you could have used the opportunity to respond by correcting me, rather than ridiculing the fact that I found it easier to summarize the facts based upon a timeline CNN has on their website. The facts I have listed, are not biased- I purposely removed any biases.

    Obviously, your desire to ridicule was a waste of time.

    Perhaps, next time you read something that you feel is a waste of time, you’ll stay true to your feelings and not respond to it at all. That’s “organized” thinking.

  11. PJ says:

    Oh, and by the way, I’m wondering if you would have responded differently had I left out the fact that I am white.

  12. matttbastard says:

    It takes too much energy to engage people who are set in their ways.

    Don’t I know it. Better to keep one’s eyes on the prize, wheel to the grindstone, [insert preferred cliche here].

    The hard goddamn work won’t get done by itself (“it’s not magic,” etc).

    BTW, when you get the chance, shoot me an email – I have something I’d like to discuss with you. matttbastard-at-commentsfromleftfield-dot-com

  13. Jeff says:

    I would like to sell the domains names REMEMBERJENA6.ORG and REMEMBERJENA6.COM
    Please contact me if interested.

  14. TC says:

    The Rundown on the Jena 6

    [edited to remove plagiarized text and to provide link to original post – mb]

  15. Hunter-Bey says:

    Why is the discussion weighed against these children? Why aren’t we discussing the true culprits: Those in authority who allow ‘white trees’ to exist in our schools or anywhere? I am positive that there are words written on paper that protect our children from ‘white trees’, as the words were established to rid the country of discriminatory signs, practices, etc.
    The true problem is rooted in the tree’s existence. Why, only after the trees national exposure was/is it so important to remove the tree. How many children, from every culture, have their lives shaped by a ‘white tree’ of one kind or another. How many children have sat under a ‘white tree’, ‘on a white bleacher’, etc., are in positions of leadership and now determining the course of the country by creating legislation or suspending legislation.
    Let us file suit against those whose craven actions allow ‘white trees’ to perpetuate the injustices and atrocities of our Black History. We have only been ‘black’, as defined in dictionaries, for a few years. Let us begin to embrace our African history and culture that the Pope apologized for the Church’s failure to respect during our enslavement.

  16. Chels says:

    Why does everything have to be racially charged? Take away the colors and what do you have? 6 teenagers who beat up another teenager, simple as that. And according to our justice system, those who commit such crimes as battery should be held responsible. People are over-reacting!

  17. Brian says:

    The real tragedy here is the people cutting down an innocent tree as if that would excoriate their demons. The tree paid the price for the peoples stupidity. They could have just put a racial harmony fence around it and planted pricker bushes in there. Now they have a barren dirt square as the people are so pathetic. People’s bruised ego’s lead to assualt and battery and the murder, the genocide, of that good tree that helped clean the air of human pollutants. The people are stupider than the tree. Being human mammals doesn’t automatically make you smart. Parents you need to raise and teach your kids to evolve beyond their mammalian aggression over territory.

  18. Brian says:

    A big part of the racial divide is white people are living in this generation free in their own minds of the history of slavery as they cannot draw any persoanl connections to it. But blacks still hold on to much of that history almost as if its the family jewells and it becomes very current and present in the family conversation around their children. The two groups conciousness vary greatly by about 150 years compounded by more recent segregation and all the typical blue collar complaints held by even white people except they attribute all of it to racism. White people wake up in the morning raceless and free of all of that till they turn on the news and quickly reminded of the race problem usually over something scandalous or seemingly unfair to them. Somehow I think many black people wake up immediately race concious and it carrys on into breakfast with the kids. I once had a tough streetwise auto worker tell me he felt pain more than me in a way that said because I was white I had a totally different nervous system. And all of this was when he was scanning me for racism yet using an aggressive tone with me. How do you even deal with that? Perhaps the above writer was right when they said it takes too much energy to change people set in their ways.

  19. Sandra says:

    I’m a white girl living in Seattle, and I just want to state that “Jena 6” is a perfect example of how far we have to go with the plight of racisism in this country! It’s disgusting how they are treating those kids and completely, and completely unjust, and abhorent! It IS a color thing, and white people saying that it’s not are color blind. So what if black people REMEMBER EVERY DAY our black mark in history known as slavery… it didn’t happen to us, so we sure as hell cannot relate to how that part of our ugly history effects them. Try to imagine ever living your life free of that horifically degrading period of time, and how LONG it took to come this far. I’ve been doing some soul searching when I hear about a story that is important to black people, that comes across as if they’re pulling the race card to white people, and I can understand now how it all must feel. As a white person, we’re so lucky to be wearing this sort of “backpack of safety and security” every day, and we totally take it for grantid and turn the other cheek if what we’re hearing about racial divides makes us uncomfortable. How easy for us. Try living in a society where you still don’t know how someone is going to treat you everday based on the color of your skin. Just try it! White people, please think and pay attention, we have ourselves an unequal justice system (in some states) that is CLEARLY apparent and if we’re going to makes strides in creating an equal society, we MUST finish that task in our courts!

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