Friday, September 07, 2007

It's not the Oppression Olympics but I Still Wonder Why the Jena 6 got More Coverage than the New Jersey 7

Look I don't think gays suffer more that POC or that POC suffer more than white women or that women in general suffer more than trans folks or anything like that. But I do think when different minority classifications get combined the likelihood of something being written off faster is likely.

Take for example the Jena 6 case. Most of you have heard of it by now I hope, but if not here's a video link with a great explanation.

The whole thing is crap for the dudes! I mean talk about injustice! A guy gets his butt kicked some but not enough to really harm as he was able to get to a social function that very night. Yet the guys who gave him the can-o-whoop ass get 2nd degree attempted murder charges. Oh and of course it's a white dude that gets his ass whopped & Black dudes that get the erroneous charges. The whole thing is a mess & the young man judged guilty by an all white judge & jury may possibly be given a 22 year sentence. Ahh the smell of racism.

The whole thing sucks & I for one am utterly incensed by all the circumstances surrounding the Jena 6.

That being said I am a little surprised by the fact that the Jena six case is getting so much more press than the case of the New Jersey seven (or four depending on who you read). In fact the fact that some reports say four and some say seven is in itself a problem as no one seems to care to get the facts straight.

Here's an example: I googled the key words Jena 6. And get pages of links. I googled New Jersey 7. Nothing. New Jersey 4. Nothing. New Jersey four. Zip. New Jersey seven. One link to an NY post titled "Attack of the Killer Lesbians." WTF?

Are the circumstances different? Sure. One event happened in a small town and one happened in a big city. One case was all men and the other was women and a man. One case had a white person and several Black people. The other case had all Black folks. One case had (as far as we know) all heterosexuals. The other had homosexual/genderqueer people & a straight person. And to be fair the Jena case initially had stiffer charges against the accused.

Here are the similarities. Past prejudice fueled an attack. Past injustices due to privilege fueled anger. A lack of freedom in choice of location fueled resentment (the tree only belongs to the whites and the streets only belong to men). A legal system that favors the majority to minorities. A person with more privilege provoking the accused. Both cases had the person attacked suffer minor injuries yet the attackers were charged beyond the reality of the crimes. Both cases had prejudice based tensions of the recent past adding to already existing pain of living as less-than-equals. Both cases involved African Americans.

Oh and here's one more difference. In the New Jersey seven's case the accused were not only Black but queer women. Triple minorities that force us to think about the many layers of injustice that happen here in the U S of A.

I'm not saying for one second that the media attention the Jena 6 are getting is undeserved. On the contrary. I think an even bigger ruckus needs to be caused. In that same vein the New Jersey seven's lack of attention seems questionable. Why isn't there more about these women and their case. What are the reasons one case gets more support than another?

With the New Jersey seven I have to wonder if there is sexism here. Or homophobia. Or genderqueer phobia. Or all of the above. Maybe it is just too much for us to think about that many levels of injustice and oppression. Maybe we can get behind men but not people who we consider immoral due to their sexuality and gender expression. Whatever the reason I figure it is important to at least ask.



Anonymous said...

You've answered your own question one was black on black crime the other was black on white. black and white wins all the time.

Rent Party said...

Yes. Well the Jena 6 case involves nooses hanging from a tree in a small Southern town where the majority seems to think that part of it was no big deal - exactly what everyone knows is supposed to be a Thing Of The Past. So it is a textbook case, very easy to see and rally around, very easy to say, of course "we" would never do anything like that.

Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone.

There are (two separate) online petitions for the Jena Six and for the New Jersey Lesbian Four ( The last I checked, the Jena Six petition had something like 119,000 signatures. The imprisoned lesbians have exactly 528 signatures.

So far, Renata and Patreese have replied to my letters. They're both holding up okay, more or less, and they've both asked me to publically announce that they deeply appreciate the efforts people are making on their behalf.

Renata sent me the URL to an organization that sends care packages to people in New York State prisons:

I just ordered from them for the first time the day before yesterday. It's pretty easy and convenient, and they say that your package will arrive in 2 to 5 business days.

A care package party is being planned for the four young women later this month or early next month at

The women can be reached as below:

Patreese Johnson # 07-G-0635
Renata Hill # 07-G-0636

are being held at

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1000
Bedford Hills, NY 10507

Terrain Dandridge # 07-G-0637
Venice Brown # 07-G-0640

are being held at

Albion Correctional Facility
3595 State School Road
Albion, NY 14411-9399

TIP: Don't bother to send self-addressed stamped envelopes; they're not allowed to get stuff like that from outside.

Daisy Deadhead said...

I linked you in the comments on my piece today (on the NJ4)--Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone. I'm starting a letter-writing campaign on behalf of the New Jersey Four. Here's the template: