Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm just saying...

I’m sure many of you heard about the march on Washington Friday. In case you missed it, people from all over the country led by Al Sharpton marched around the Justice Department to demand more enforcement of hate crime laws.

The march was largely fueled by anger of the lack of federal intervention in the case of the noose-hanging incident in Jena and other recent noose-hanging incidents across the country.
I know we’re all not going to agree on the case of the Jena Six or its surrounding events, clearly. That’s not even up for debate specifically in this post.

And I know some folks across racial lines are going to always refer to people like Rev. Al Sharpton as troublemakers. (Just remember, Martin Luther King Jr. was commonly referred to as a troublemaker too back during the civil rights movement… Just something to think about.)

But if the federal government can deem it urgent and necessary to intervene on behalf of dogs (i.e. the Michael Vick dog abuse case) and baseball (i.e. the steroid case with Barry Bonds) can’t we at least agree that more federal action should be taken against a hate crime that symbolizes decades of gruesome, brutal, unjust murders committed throughout this country against a race of people?

If you still think leaving nooses around is just a harmless, kiddie prank, check this CNN special out. Or, better yet, watch it whenever it airs again and let me know what you thought.


dsf said...

Vick crossed state lines. Bonds lied to a federal investigation.

Jena was "a hate crime that symbolizes..."

Key word: symbolizes, iow "means nothing". If we are going to make a federal case out of symbolism, we're going to have to hire a whole lot more thought cops.

Jim said...

I don't think that this qualifies under federal law as a hate crime, but I'm not a lawyer. What law is it that you think has not been enforced?

Donecia Pea said...

Dsf, 'crossing state lines' and 'lying to a federal investigation' sound more worthy of federal intervention than a crime that threatens a violent act? Or do you not think the noose is a violent tool at all? Do you think it does not quantify as a threat of a violent act? Are you saying that threats aren't illegal unless followed up on? And if that be the case, are you saying that unless the noose is actually used on someone, you don't deem it to be a problem or crime? Because from what I gathered, NO action has been taken in these noose-hanging incidents. NONE. Which, to me, indicates that nothing is wrong with threatening someone with violence. Will it take them actually hanging someone with a noose for you to consider it a federal case? Yet a lie does just fine for you in the case of Barry Bonds, and so does crossing a state line in the case of Michael Vick. I'm just asking.

Jim, I'm no lawyer either, but I do believe noose-hanging qualifies as a hate crime because it threatens an act of violence. Historical references asisde, in my whole entire life, the only thing I've ever known a noose to be used for is hanging someone. Just like a gun is used to shoot someone.
Let me ask you this though, do you think painting a swastika on your place of employment is not a criminal act?
What about burning crosses in yards? If no one is physically harmed, do you think that makes it OK to do such? I'm just asking.

ashley said...

The Noose Incident in Jena was investigated by the FBI and the case didn't meet criteria to be classified as a hate crime.

ashley said...

Also, would it kill you guys to post stories on something else? And not boring stories about how your car broke down or whatever.

I wouldn't mind hearing opinions on other issues, locally, and nationally. Maybe stories that haven't been picked up by the mainstream media and covered extensively. That would be neat.

Just trying to offer feedback, it appears you guys do want to get some insight into what drives people here.

Donecia Pea said...

Yes Ashley, but that's the whole point - they didn't take any action, hence the whole march on Washington and stuff.

Also, I sincerely appreciate your feedback about our blog. I kinda wish you'd responded back when we posted a blog earlier asking that very question, but hey, you responded period and that's all that really matters, so thanks.

I'll definitely keep your suggestions in mind, but I would also encourage you to look through our past blogs, which can be find in our archives.

You'll see we kind of talk about everything on here. National issues, local issues, entertainment, personal anecdotes. Anything goes. You'll even find those posts about those stories that didn't particularly get mainstream coverage.

Since we cover the news all the time as journalists, we use this blog as a place to share our opinions, personal experiences, observations or whatever thoughts about the news and/or how it affects our lives as young adults.

That said, I hope you continue to check us out and tell others as well.

ashley said...

To be fair, they took no action because the case didn't meet criteria. The case was investigated- local authorities did bring in the feds. I read this in an AP article a few months ago.

So I think what you are really asking for, and the marchers are asking for, is to have the criteria changed.

I'm very concerned about those who perpetrate hate crimes receiving punishment. I'm concerned about crimes against minorities- that includes homosexuals, women, etc. I'm also concerned about crimes against animals. I don't think it's fair to make the comparison between hanging a noose and torturing an animal(s). Both come from a place of hate, but one is an actual violent act.

Also, you're opening up a can of worms with the "symbolism" deal- that is an abstract concept and a grey area. A noose symbolizes a violent act- someone being hung. But it means different things to different people. I see it as a way justice was served in the Old West just as much as I see it as the way African Americans were killed in this country. Although, I am sure the intent of some of the recent noose hangings was to intimidate black people.

I am no expert on the law, but I do notice, many times law enforcement's hands are tied- often they cannot act until it's too late. You cannot know if someone hanging a noose in public will stop there or keep going and try to harm another person.

iluvallppl said...

Disclaimer: I've never been to law school, nor am I a lawyer.

With that being said, hate crimes are violent crimes, hate speech or VANDALISM, motivated by feelings of hate against an identifiable social group. i.e. race, sexual preference, religion, etc..

So, yes the federal gov't needs to intervene and do it's friggin job if no other level of gov't will. If the gov't can go to a whole nother country to intervene in other's issues then, it darn sure needs to handle it's issues at home.

The noose hanging incidents have become more and more frequent since the Jena 6 issue began. To me that says that 'some' white people are mad that we didnt take the nonsense and 'stay in our places'. I guess wanting equal treatment, under the law, means we're causing trouble. It seems to me a lot of ppl have been wearing invisible hoods and the true colors are starting to show. Hate crimes are crimes of ignorance and cowardice. Quite honestly, if you think it's quite ok to do so, then I have to question your character as well.

To me these noose hangings are a definite threat. Just as a stalker that sends threats to it's stalkee...and we all know how most of those cases turn out. The stalkers either tries to or actually does carry out the violent crime that he/she threatens.

I bet if you began receiving threatening letters, calls and symbols sent to your house or at your job you'd want someone to do something. You wouldnt want to be told..oh it's nothing but a joke or a prank...

And to be straight up and honest, if white people were at the butt of this issue it would be no question at all of intervention. I know y'all will NOT like that but, it's the truth. Some white people have a hard time seeing the truth though.

wheeler said...

for reasons i explained on my blog, i don't think the federal government - or any government - ought to be bothering with any of these "crimes."

Anonymous said...

I am a lawyer and hanging a noose is not a crime. Repugnant as it is, it is free speech which you as a reporter should be the first to defend. Instead, you only want to protect speech you like. You should be willing to defend the right of someone to speak that which you find abhorrent.

I think that your reporting and this blog is consistently and pervasively racist and inflammatory. You add nothing to the public discussion. But I, unlike you, defend your right to write what you do.

I first suggest you actually find out what law you suppose has been violated (which was NOTHING). I then suggest that you leave your bias at home, act like a journalist, and investigate learn the real facts of this situation. Here's a place to start:

And by the way, you are supposed to be a professional writer. Could you not use language like "if that be the case..."?

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, this is a blog and there are such things as typos. Have you not heard of those? Even professional writers do slip up. I'm sure that even the great and professional lawyer that you are, have made one(or more)at some point in your life.

Why is this blog consistently racist? Because it calls white America out on it's bs? I think in fact, blogs like these, DO add to the discussion but, the problem is most people who come to this blog have a differing opinion from the poster/s.

I'm not a journalist but, even if I were one,I wouldn't respect the fact that noose hangings are so-called 'free speech'. They are threats to and forms of harassment of a certain group of people in this country. If we continue to let people hang nooses all around the country, next thing you know blacks will once again be the strange fruit of this country. It seems we are going backwards in time, instead of forwards.

Donecia Pea said...

Hmmm, so anonymous 1, I take it you disagree with me, lol. I’m going to particularly address you since you’ve begun the personal attacks. I was going to debate you point for point, particularly on your allegations of me being a racist. I was going to ask you where was race identified in any part of my blog post. I was going to ask you how does saying a noose is a weapon qualify me as a racist. I was also going to ask you how does taking that stance discredit me as a journalist.

Instead, I’ll just say thanks for paying such close attention to our blog and posts. Since, as a lawyer, you’ve expressed such authority on what makes a writer a professional I suggest that you also research the definition of blogging and what makes it different from newspaper or any other print publication. You will see that while such clauses, including, “If that be the case,” may not be the best phraseology for a news story, such language is permissible in the blogosphere. During that process, I will also refer you to our first blog post, (which can be quickly found in the archive section on the left rail of our blog home page,) which explains what this particular blog is about. Happy reading and happy holidays!

ashley said...

When a journalist also has a blog through which he or she communicates personal opinion, it becomes a really sticky area. I don't think it's right to attack Donecia for expressing her opinion, but the fact that this blog is supported/created by a newspaper is troublesome. It's a grey area.

Journalists should be the first ones to defend the right to free speech, no matter how fowl they personally find it to be.

The question here, is noose hanging an act of free speech, or is it a hate crime? Well, that depends upon how you interpret the constitution, as well as how much you want the federal government to step into our lives.

Anonymous said...

I dont like racist remarks or actions...hanging a noose is not a crime. As silly and cowardly as it is, it's no crime. This is not a rhetorical question, I genuinely wonder what folks think...what if the noose had been seen by other white kids who in turn got riled up and went after some Black kid? Is that inciting a riot? Is it promoting violence? So would somethign actually have to happen after the fact for it to be a crime? Or can you call it a crime and "punish" the "criminals" before it escalates?

I dont like the sight of the Confederate Flag either. Not because of what it "represents', but rather because of the ignorance of those who fly the flag so "proudly". You say you're not a racist and you only want to show pride in your Southern heritage? BS. You know exactly what that flag represents to thousands and yet you ignore it because of your pride? Not pride...ignorance...intolerance. But I digress.

I'm surprised at all the people who are willing to attach their names, likenesses and so on to this "cause". I certainly DO think that there are many injustices suffered by minorities in this country. I believe and know for a fact from my own personal experiences that justice is NOT always equal. However, backing the young Black males who jumped this kid is not a cause I'm willing to support. Had all of these kids been completely innocent and not laid a hand on the kid and still been accused and charged as they were, I would back them without question.

Race constantly comes up on this blog and others like it because this is Louisiana. Ever read the comments ont The Times' site and notice how, no matter what the topic may be, the discussion always gets misdirected toward race?

Rev. Al and Jesse DO need to stop poking their nose in things. Enough. They remind me of some old hippie still living in a school bus out in the country. Let it go. Move on.

Leave it to a lawyer to jump on his soapbox and spout off. Kudos to Donecia for letting the lawyer know the rules of blogging. While we all hope to post without any typos or grammar issues, wouldnt it be great to have a team of editors with red pencils making marks as we typed? Get over yourself buddy. Pretty narrowminded to focus on grammar in a BLOG.

HEMJr said...

THANK YOU DP! #1: For the blog (and that goes to all the other "Link 222'ers" out there). #2: For gettin' in "Anonymous 1's posterior!!! I don't understand why people "don't understand" what a "blog" is. I write a weekly blog a/b my beloved Dallas Cowboys and it, by no means, qualifies me as a professional analyst (although, I think I'd pass for one quite well). That being said, until you've lived a life, or should I say "the life" as an African American in this country, you'll NEVER, EVER understand how and why things that take place affect US the way they do.

I'd administer many more thoughtful comments, but I have a precious newborn baby boy to attend to. Prayerfully, I can raise him the correct way and he realizes that the world, America, will forever "Be" as it is (even though great strides have been made)...until... ... ...

Well...I say, "Amen...and au revoir"!