Strange Fruit

I am trying to make sense of this one. Why were the white students not charged in their assaults? And I must ask…seriously? There is a white section (next to a tree)? And a when a black student dared to ask to sit there, they responded by hanging nooses on the tree? What is the damage here?! Hanging nooses in 2007?!

And I have no problem with students paying a penalty for assaulting a person. But where is the threat of 100 years to the white students accused of beating a black kid who showed up at their “whites only” party? Or the one who pulled a gun on some black students? Why are these kids not facing the same threat? (Well, I think we know why…I just wish it was not true)

This is just angering, heartbreaking and stunning. In 2007 we still have people seeing such hate and division as acceptable. We still have people working to instill terror in the hearts of minority groups. What the hell is wrong with people?! Nooses?! Would Michael Richards sell out in this town?

On the other hand, I am troubled by the “No Justice No Peace” chants. Since the “No Peace” part usually means innocents getting hurt, not the guilty. In the L.A. Riots, it was not the four policemen on trial that paid the price (although the Rodney King case was a tragedy in more ways than one). It was innocent people on the street, innocent shop owners. No Justice, No Peace results in mob violence and is no better than the lack of justice it claims to oppose. And it is frightening, because that is exactly the point in chanting “No Justice No Peace”. It’s supposed to invoke the L.A. Riots. It’s supposed to scare people into compliance. And that is every bit as bad as the injustice going on here in this small town. I want to see protesters step back and not be as big a threat to human safety as the racist thugs. I want to see a better solution than threats of violence like “No Justice No Peace”.

11 thoughts on “Strange Fruit Leave a comment

  1. I believe that “No Justice, No Peace” means that people won’t take crap lying down. Yeah, Yeah, I know, because of MLK some may say that Blacks are supposed to be all Ghandi about things and such, and yeah, peace has its place. My problem with folks historically who say “No Justice, No Peace” is that when they snap, they usually riot and destroy their OWN Neighborhoods (i.e. Watts, Compton, Detroit, West Side of Chicago, Harlem in the 60’s, SC LA in the 90’s).

    Sorry, as far as I am concerned, Black Folks should have marched down there and uprooted that tree the day we heard about those nooses. Hell. that what they should have done from the jump instead of complaining about sitting under a tree with a bunch of racist jerks anyway.

    Fact is, I believe that violence is sometimes necessary, and I also believe you need to direct that violence in the direction of those who try to oppress you when they are not compelled to do right by virtue of peace.

    BUT, after all, my name is DJ Black Adam, so I guess I am already a tad bit prone to be a bit more on the side the Vegeta / Black Adam approach as opposed to the Goku / Captain Marvel approach.

  2. I am not stating people should not make a loud and firm stand. It’s the snapping and harming innocent people that concerns me. Tearing up the tree is one thing, pulling people from car and beating them to a bloody pulp is another. One is a statement, the other is terrorism.

  3. But Thom, do you seriously think the ONE instance caught on film of a white person getting beat (or the many many more not on video non -whites that were beaten and businesses robbed, etc by these marauders), no matter how horrific that was, is indiciative of those who really believe “no Justice no Peace”

    I think it was just a bunch of arseholes who wanted to do that type of garbage anyway.

  4. I realize that there were folks in the L.A. Riots that were bastard opportunists who saw an excuse to be violent for the sake of violence.

    I remember watching the riots, stunned that people were destroying their own homes and businesses. It was shocking. Like staging a protest against the government by burning down you own house. But then, when people snap, they are usually not focused.

    But the other thing that concerns me about riots is that they tend to overshadow the reason they occurred. Unless it is sports related. Then everyone remembers the why. Again, I am not saying all aggressive action is wrong, but rather how it is handled can be as dangerous as what it is against.

  5. “Again, I am not saying all aggressive action is wrong, but rather how it is handled can be as dangerous as what it is against.”

    I hear you on that, you are correct, people generally lash out without much thought generally only destroying their own property and hurting their own people, as well as undermining their cause.

    That is why they should all come to Liberia and submit to my just but stern rule!!!

    (insert diabolical laughter!!!) lolololol

  6. I just heard this story yesterday (though it was on NBC Nightly News recently.) Strange Fruit is such a visceral image, aimed to provoke.

    I’m not hearing that the black kids should get off for assaulting the white kid; I’m hearing that the assaults, drawn firearm, and the veiled threats by the Jula authorities ought to be dealt with as well. Otherwise, it’s the same-o, same-o.

  7. I chose that song title, because I was horrified at the thought anyone would do this(though should I be surprised when not so long ago, “Kramer” went off on a couple people in his audience using just that type of imagery). The song fills me with the same dread (though the chilling nature of the song is what draws me to it-at least the Nina Simone version). It was such a frightening thing to see that we are progressing far more slowly than we want to believe. BTW, I agree, I don’t see anyone arguing the kids should be let go (though I feel like the charges are trumped up for maximum penalty). It’s just frustrating to see that the white students are not being held to the same standard.

  8. Thom: “In the L.A. Riots, it was not the four policemen on trial that paid the price (although the Rodney King case was a tragedy in more ways than one).”

    The Rodney King case is a sad example of the way many people conflate emotion with logic, and mistake ignorance for knowledge.

    People forget that the videotape of the King beating did not show what led up to the beating. While the police probably went too far, the tape made it appear as though they were whaling on some guy whom they pulled over arbitrarily. The police claim King was violently resisting arrest when they pulled him over. King had a history of criminal behavior and that resisting arrest wouldn’t have been out-of-character for him. Moreover, King, an ex-con, admitted he was fleeing the police out of fear of returning to jail.

    Worse still, many people are unaware of the limited options the L.A. police have had in restraining unruly subjects since 1982. That’s the year the city outlawed neck restraints as a means by which police could subdue violent individuals. The move came in reaction to the deaths of some suspects who had been restrained in such a fashion; mind you, a number of these suspects were jacked up on drugs which may have been a factor in their deaths, but that was conveniently ignored by lawmakers looking for a simple answer to a complex issue.

    Bottom line: the police may have been justified to a point in beating Rodney King, at least for the first 30 to 60 seconds. In fact, there’s reason to believe they were doing what they were trained to do, and that the police chief and the city officials to whom he answered were just as culpable if not moreso than the cops they attempted to throw under a bus. Moreover, King may have provoked the situation with his behavior. He was a drunken ex-con who led police on a high-speed chase, and his behavior endangered othe motorists. He wasn’t an innocent victim, and the police had every reason to chase him down.

    I’m not saying any of this completely excuses what the police did, but it does suggest mitigating circumstances. Unfortunately, most human beings tend to reject reality’s more subtle nuances and allow gut-level emotions dictate their responses to stimuli rather than using their god-given reasoning ability to gather and analyze the relevant facts.

    I’ve no sympathy for the rioters, by the way. Their destruction was wanton and purposeless. And the men who beat Reginald Denny had infinitely less justification than the police who beat Rodney King.

    The act of hanging nooses from a tree in Central Louisiana to scare away blacks was inexcusable in the extreme. There is no gray area there: it was an act of unmitigated racial hatred. Nevertheless, I’ve little sympathy for the African-American thugs who responded by beating a white person. I know many, many, many African Americans who have learned far more productive ways of coping with and fighting racial hatred.

    That said, I will agree, Thom, that the legal system is still tilted against non-whites. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. The problem is complex and the solutions would require a discourse that exceeds the time I have in which to discuss them at the moment. It is a discussion society should be having, though.

  9. I’d like to clarify something from my prior post: when I refer to “black thugs,” I mean thugs who happen to be black. I do not believe there is any correlation between skin color and thuggery. I mentioned their race because it was relevant to the overall conversation, not because I feel race is an accurate predictor of moral character. Because, y’know, I don’t.

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