When I turned on CNN it actually warmed my heart to see this many people marching this morning.I think it is extremely important to distinguish that the purpose of the march is to respond to injustice in the criminal justice system perpetrated by the DA in this case, and to call of "equal justice" in this case. I agree with you and I think Tyler Perry said it best when they interviewed him this morning - he said "we're all out here today to ask that these teenagers be given a fair shake. That is all." There are some accounts of the incident that allege that some of the "Jena 6" were actually not involved in the beating of the white victim but were incorrectly accused of participating. At this point, who knows. Those are matters of fact to be determined by a jury.What we do know at this point is that there is certainly an undenyable racial inference raised by the events surrounding this case. Furthermore, it didn't help matters much when the DA tried to make a case out of a tennis shoe being a "deadly weapon." I haven't researched all of the criminal case law in Louisiana but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that such an argument is just a little bit of a stretch.
Spencer Overton,at Black Prof, argues at least one of the Jena 6 is definitely a hero. I tend to agree:"Make no mistake about it though Mychal Bell is a hero. By most accounts, Mr. Bell should have taken a plea agreement at the time of his trial. “A plea bargain would have put him back on the streets in a matter of months” (ISR interview with Alan Bean). He was an emerging High School football star with interest from various college programs. But Bell opted to be a soldier in the quagmire of the culture wars. And on this front Bell risked his football career in order to assert his innocence and to highlight the injustices surrounding the racially charged incidents in Jena, LA. In this sense he is more Jim Brown than (insert your favorite running back here). He is more like Bill Russell than Shaq; and he is more Ali than Tyson. He is an athlete who understands that the playing field is often times an extension or reflection of the politics that operate in the public sphere. Moreover, Mr. Bell understood that whatever his football career might have been or might still become, he couldn’t submit to a ‘justice’ system that required him to co-sign racial injustice with a circumstantially coerced guilty plea. Bell’s courage set the stage for leaders and activists to fully engage the complex racial conundrum that Jena, LA has become. His time spent in jail, for a crime that this recent overturning suggests he could not have committed, is part of the heavy lifting required to confront the problems of race and class in our selectively aggressive criminal justice system. A sad but corollary fact of Bell’s stand is that it unveils the kind of legal environment (racialized and unforgiving) within which too many young black men must make similar decisions about life, innocence, and justice."