That's right - old Ty was straight called out by ESPN's Jemele Hill for hanging with the fashionable people by doin' all this Mike Vick yapping while, once again, ignoring the big picture. Okay, okay - maybe ol girl didn't call me out directly in her recent article about all the misplaced focus on Mike Vick, but it sure did feel like it. So I'm here to set the record straight and focus attention where it belongs - on the parish seat of Louisiana's La Salla Parish - Jena, home to some very dark ruckus. So dark in fact, it's almost like Jena (pronounced 'Gina') jacked H.G. Wells' time machine and returned to the Jim Crow, Land of Cotton, Dixieland days - days it seems that good ol Jena never left...
Apparently while everybody (including ol Ty) was obsessing over Mike Vick and Lindsay Lohan's lack of driving skillz and Britney Spears lack of panties, the town of Jena was undergoing some racial strife not seen since the Malcom and Martin days. This ruckus got tipped off by southside high school students asking permission to sit under a shade tree on campus that presumably was reserved for northside students. The following day, three nooses (in the school colors), were found hanging from the tree. For some reason, the Jena northside high schoolers failed to realize the significance of such a thing and things (not surprisingly) escalated.
Fights broke out, a shotgun was pulled in gas station convenience store and finally a southside on northside brawl ended with six young southsiders (unfairly) up on charges of attempted murder - despite the fact that the northside beaten was treated and released the same day. The first defendant, Michael Bell "was found guilty by an all-white jury, and will face the possibility of up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced. The sentencing was originally scheduled for July 30, but has been delayed until September 20, 2007. However, the case is currently in dispute, as the court-appointed public defender did not call a single witness in his attempt to defend Bell."
Hmmm...anybody else smell a rat? Decide for yourselves on this one - don't let me influence you. You can catch a short synopsis of the ruckus on Youtube and a more in-depth look at Jena and its racial dysfunction in this BBC documentary. It's some deep stuff, y'all.
Jemele! My bad, homegirl. Lesson learned. Jena, LA! W-T-F!? Get your damn act together. And for all my homeys from every side who think things are so much different now than in the sixties - maybe on the surface they are - but I know one thing - there are still places in the country where ol Ty can hop out of his hoopty with a grin on his grill and end up gettin' got for no other reason than for being from the southside. How damn sad is that?