Thursday, September 20, 2007
White residents protest coverage
I came to Jena, Louisiana, a week ago Friday, the day an appeals court ruled Mychal Bell should have been tried in juvenile court.

Many of white residents I have interviewed believe civil rights leaders and the media are unfairly focusing a microscope on the predominately white town.

Today, as the crowd swelled at the Lasalle Parish baseball field, Jesse Jackson compared the demonstration to historic civil rights marches, like Selma and Montgomery.

Jackson talked openly about how he wished Mychal Bell -- who remains jailed -- and Justin Barker could sit down in a room and talk out their differences.

No lawyers.

No cameras.

Our crew went to a community fair last weekend to talk with the town's residents. Most just wanted us to be gone, and they denied racism played a role in the charges against the so-called Jena 6. And many white residents I interviewed said they weren't going to watch the rally.

One of Bell's attorneys told me it's hard to be imbedded in a culture and a community and be able to look at yourself objectively.

The courts will judge the Jena 6, but history will have its day with this march.

-- By Sean Callebs, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 1:10 PM ET
  17 Comments
How come the "Reverends" Sharpton and Jackson manage to always make it about themselves and not the issue? Way to go CNN for always letting whoever wants to become a star and get free PR get their wish....it's better than Make-a-Wish foundation for making a wish come true.
Posted By Anonymous : 2:57 PM ET
If the white residents along with the prosecutor had done what was right a long time ago this would not be happening now. In 2007 there should not be a tree that only whites could sit under, unless it was on private property but in a public school yard...I blame the adults in town instead of the Jena 6, I think all the adults should be locked up.
Posted By Anonymous : 2:59 PM ET
The court will judge the Jenna 6 and the court of public opinion will judge the rest.
I don't think the people of Jena are that much different from Anytown, America.
We all need to be reminded that we are a community of human beings, period.
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 3:05 PM ET
What reaction would the White People have toward the racial tenison in their city? I think that not everyone was telling the truth about their city. There is a problem and they can not deny it.Or there would be no reason to go to Jena. Maybe the Black People in Jena are afraid to come forth with their opinion.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:16 PM ET
What reaction would the White People have toward the racial tenison in their city? I think that not everyone was telling the truth about their city. There is a problem and they can not deny it.Or there would be no reason to go to Jena. Maybe the Black People in Jena are afraid to come forth with their opinion.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:16 PM ET
Why is CNN turning into the contention news network?

Stop giving Sharpton time to promote himself and his attempts at division between black and white.

Also, please stop giving Jackson time because we simply can't understand what the heck he is saying, he mumbles so much.

Stop trying to start arguments between Christians, Jews and Muslims.

It appears that management has some personal issues with these subjects that need to be addressed by professionals so that we can get back to watching the NEWS!
Posted By Anonymous : 3:17 PM ET
My daughter travels from New Orleans to La Salle Parish twice a month to visit a friend. She is from California and remarked immediately after her first trip about the blatant racism in the area. Not just in Jena. It is possible that racism in the south is perceived differently from racism in the north, east or west. We all have our own perspective and from a southern perspective, the racism may not seem as bad as it does to an outsider. In all her travels, this is the only spot she has ever been stopped in a speed trap and after paying the ticket and asking for traffic school was advised that these "speeding tickets" would not appear on her record. I think that speaks volumes for how business is conducted in this parish.

Ann Tongreen
Posted By Ann : 3:21 PM ET
Of course they are going to protest the media being there...who wants the whole world to know that they are a racist town living in the dark ages!! They need to wake up and realize the world has moved on and they have been left behind!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 3:26 PM ET
I'm so frustrated with this country. Why does everything have to be about race? I feel as though I may break into tears with all that has been going on. First the scandal with Rutgers, now this... There is a huge difference between hanging nooses from a tree and actually beating the crap out of someone. Also, who says that the beating was racially motivated? Just because the attackers were black and the victim was white, doesn't mean they did it because of the color of his skin, right? What the is wrong with this country? It's been 200 years since it DID matter what race you were and if everyone wants equality, why are we insisting on making everything about race, on both sides...
Posted By Anonymous : 3:27 PM ET
I applaud the marchers and admire their courage. I understand why the Jena residents wouldn't want their town to be looked under a microscope, but the reality is the implied racism brought on by the hung nooses is not acceptable in modern America. I hope and pray that this town finds peace soon.

Thanks for covering this story.

Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 3:33 PM ET
It is truly sad that people are still racially influenced, however there is no way that anyone can justify an attack by six individuals on one individual no matter what color they may be. Violence begets violence and only serves to make matters worse. Justice must be color blind and dictated by the facts and not by race or social stature.
Posted By Jeff Foster : 3:37 PM ET
It is truly sad that people are still racially influenced, however there is no way that anyone can justify an attack by six individuals on one individual no matter what color they may be. Violence begets violence and only serves to make matters worse. Justice must be color blind and dictated by the facts and not by race or social stature.
Posted By Jeff Foster Cincinnati Ohio : 3:38 PM ET
"Jackson talked openly about how he wished Mychal Bell -- who remains jailed -- and Justin Barker could sit down in a room and talk out their differences.

No lawyers.

No cameras."

So Mychal can beat him up again with no witnesses. Yeah, that's a good idea.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:40 PM ET
It is truly sad that people are still racially influenced, however there is no way that anyone can justify an attack by six individuals on one individual no matter what color they may be. Violence begets violence and only serves to make matters worse. Justice must be color blind and dictated by the facts and not by race or social stature.
Posted By Jeff Foster Cincinnati Ohio : 3:41 PM ET
OF COURSE THEY PROTEST TELEVISION COVERAGE. THEY DON'T WANT AMERICA TO SEE THAT RACISM STILL EXIST, ESPECIALLY IN 2007. WHITE JUSTICE AND BLACK JUSTICE IS STILL NOT EQUAL IN THIS COUNTRY. WE ARE STILL FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY. THIS INCIDENT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN 2006, WHY IS IT THAT WE ARE JUST HEARING ABOUT IT IN 2007. THERE WAS NO COVERAGE, NO OUTCRY OR ANYTHING. THEY WANT EVERYONE TO GO AWAY AND ALLOW THEM TO RAILROAD THESE YOUNG MEN AS THEY HAVE DONE IN SO MANY OTHER STATES OVER THE YEARS. NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THE INJUSTICE THAT HAPPENS EVERYDAY IN THESE SMALL RACIST COMMUNITIES AND THAT'S THE WAY THEY WANT IT TO STAY.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:44 PM ET
I imagine they want the media gone in Jena because you are asking for change and pointing out that double standards based on race aren't acceptable in the 21st century. God forbid a culture evolve into something better and people be treated fairly and equally for once. It can't happen soon enough for me. I'm glad you're keeping the spotlight on this case. It's all my high school students talked about today. They see the injustice done to the Jena 6. They see the hope of resolving these issues. Their desire for a different world is part of the solution in future generations. It's our obligation as adults to lead them in the right direction to do that.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 3:47 PM ET
Why are these racial groups completely shutting the town down? The students in this town should be in school getting an education. If racial groups want to march why don’t they march for better educational systems? It is funny how Mr. Sharpton always pops up when there is a camera and a controversy. This is why we cannot have a real discussion about racism in America because everyone is afraid discuss what is on there mind due to the fear of being called a racist.
Posted By Dusten North, South Carolina : 3:53 PM ET
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