After some 60,000 anti-racists, largely youth, demonstrated against Jim Crow railroading of the Jena 6 (See Sept 21 Democracy Now), and Mychal Bell was denied bail, a neo-nazi white supremacist group has posted the addresses and phone numbers of Jena 6 families, on their “Lynch the Jena 6” webpage, saying if the Six are released or acquitted, “we will find out where they live and make sure that white activists and white citizens in Louisiana know it … in order to find someone willing to deliver justice.”
Earlier, CNN reported two teenagers drove past crowds returning from from the Free the Jena 6 demonstration, with nooses hanging from the back of their pickup truck, which contained an unloaded rifle and brass knuckles. One told police his parents were active in the Klan. Though possible charges are being prepared, Alexandria Chief of Police said the incident was “obviously more of a prank than anything else.” Nooses were also found in a North Carolina High School, and again police say it’s too early to determine if this was a hate crime or a prank.
As University of North Carolina history professor Harry Watson said, “To many blacks, a noose is as offensive as a Nazi swastika would be to Jewish people …It was there to remind people that there was a time when challenging white supremacy could cost you your life.” In 2002, seven black transportation workers sued the City of Raleigh’s transportation department after a noose was hung over a workman’s bench. And San Francisco residents will remember the case of the black worker at the South East Pollution Control plant who found a noose at her workplace.
Nooses and swastikas were also found in a Indianapolis factory of Navistar, which builds truck, buses, and engines and gets hundreds of millions in government contracts. This racist harassment started in the 1980s and continued until last year. A bag of nooses was discovered under the desk of the plant’s Human Resources director. Racist graffiti found throughout the plant was also allegedly ignored. Some of the employees who admitted to some of the alleged discriminatory behavior said in court documents that it was all just a joke. Historians say that in the 1920s, the Indiana chapter of the Ku Klux Klan was the most powerful domestic terrorist organization in the nation.
The government runs interference for these racists groups by minimizing their threat. In October 2003, former White House Press Secretary talked about his friendship with Rush Limbaugh on Fox News, saying “Here’s the unmentionable secret: Racism isn’t that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It’s rapidly becoming an ugly memory.” In a similar vein, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that White Pride construction company, of Baton Rouge, which first threatened to come to the Jena demonstration with guns and later offered to rebuild Jena if anti-racists razed the town, has been rewarded by numerous contracts for rebuilding the Gulf Coast.