Black men no strangers to injustice

Everyday when I turn on the television or read the newspaper there is always something bad happening to blacks in America.

As we all should know, there are six black boys in Jena, La., the “Jena 6”, who face up to 22 years in prison for attempted murder. The high school students allegedly beat up a white boy they believed to be a part of a group of white students that hung three nooses from a school tree, “the white tree”.

Not only were nooses hung around the tree but several racially-motivated confrontations followed, including a black boy being beaten up by some white students and a white adult for attending an all white party, and a white graduate of the high school pulling a shotgun on three black students as they left a convenience store.

After all this none of the white boys have been reprimanded. None have been charged with a hate crime for hanging the nooses, nor have been charged with harassment or attempted murder for beating up an innocent black male. As soon as the black boys were fed up and decided to retaliate on one of the white posse members, the justice system charged them with attempted murder and a possible 22 years in prison.

I do not agree with how the “Jena 6” handled the situation but at the same time they were provoked. If the roles were reversed and the white boys were being charged with the same crimes, the sentence would be far lesser years in prison.

Once again this situation shows how the American justice system is always ready to put a black male behind bars and throw away the key.

Just like in the case of the Scottsboro boys, when nine black boys were wrongfully accused for raping two white women and sentenced to death. They were later released, but this just shows how the justice system is quick to persecute black males and give them a long sentence.

The “Jena 6” situation is very similar to what happened to these young boys. These black boys are being used as examples to tell other black people not to go against or fight a white person.

The law is not kind or fair to black males.

There is nothing unfamiliar about this situation.

Throughout history, white men have committed terrible crimes against black men, during slavery and Jim Crow. Slave-owners raped black men’s wives and daughters, and lynched and burned black men alive. Whites disrespected them and made them feel less than a man by calling them, “boy.”

As soon as a black male stands up for himself and show that he has a backbone, he is automatically knocked down and belittled. He is then made to feel that he has done something wrong because he has taken a stand.

The pendulum is always hanging over his head.

Once again, this is another wake up call for black males to understand that the American justice system does not have black males best interest at heart and will not do anything to work in their favor.

Ashley Bates is a junior broadcast journalism student from Pensacola. She can be reached at