The spin is on in Jena, Louisiana; officials/Jena Times editor look to rewrite history

It seems like some of the good folks of Jena have gathered behind the woodshed and come up with some revisionist history regarding the racial unrest that has happened in their town over the last year. 

The Christian Scientist Monitor has allowed Craig Franklin, co-editor of the Jena Times, to retell the accounts of Jena's twisted saga at their site.  The story is titled Media Myths About the Jena 6.

I'll let everyone read the story for themselves, but here are two examples of what Franklin wants us to believe.

Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a "whites-only" tree at Jena High School. Students of all races sat underneath this tree. When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present – blacks and whites. As reported by students in the assembly, the question was asked to make a joke and to drag out the assembly and avoid class.

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of "Lonesome Dove.")

The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals. The students who hung the nooses have not publicly come forward to give their version of events.

Town citizens, at least some of the townspeople, are now coalescing around Franklin's story in hopes of projecting the racist truths of this story on the black townfolk and the media.  Alan Bean, head of Friends of Justice , has already posted a point by point rebuff of Franklin's article. 

Bean's post is titled The story you haven't heard (unless you've been paying attention). Here are his answers to myths 1 & 2.


The “lazy Negro theory” was invented to address an obvious question: “If the Jena high school courtyard is as integrated as Mr. Franklin claims, why did Kenneth Purvis ask if he could sit under the tree?  I do not know if Mr. Purvis was laughing nervously as he asked the question, and I don’t see that it matters.  Initially, Jena High students, black and white, freely admitted that the courtyard has always been segregated–the sidewalk serving as the line of demarcation.  While it is true that black students occasionally wandered to the white side of the courtyard, this was not typical behavior. 

Hence the question.  It should also be noted that Kenneth and a few friends tested out their new freedom by sitting under the tree after school.


The Lonesome Dove theory was initially freestanding: the kids watched the Western on television and were so impressed with the hanging scene, they decided to hang a few nooses of their own.  But no one could explain why they chose this particular tree, or why the nooses appeared the day after Kenneth’s question and the Principal’s answer. 

Now we learn that the nooses were a poke at white members of the rodeo team.  We are to believe that some white kids on the rodeo team were playfully suggesting that they were going to string up other white members of the team because . . .

You see the problem.  What could possibly follow the “because”?  Mr. Franklins’ desperation is painfully evident at this point.  He’s doing the best with what he’s got–but what he ain’t got much.  You can hardly blame the mainstream media (or any sensible person) for preferring the original explanation.  It has the advantage of making sense.

Finally, Franklin’s theory can’t explain why then-principal Scott Windham was so horrified by the noose incident that he recommended expulsion for the school year.  If this was simply a white-on-white practical joke, Windham’s response can only be seen as a bizarre over-reaction. 

The logical conclusion is that Windham was never exposed to the theory Mr. Franklin is selling.  Is it just a coincidence that Mr. Windham was quickly shuffled to a less controversial position within the school administration.  Perhaps, but the timing raises questions.  The mainstream media, for better or worse, has given very little attention to this issue.

Looks like 2-0 Bean to me after two rounds.  I'd advise everyone to go check out both posts and report back with your take.  The lying and justifying has been going on for 400 years, I guess it just won't stop. 

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