Mychal Bell, the second youngest member of the Jena Six and the one who is most in the public eye because of the fact that he was erroneously tried as an adult for his alleged crimes, was released on bail yesterday.
But this post isn’t about him; it’s about you, American parents of children from nine to seventeen.
What I would humbly request is that you, American parents, sit your children down and point them toward the sites which give them knowledge about the turbulent history of race relations in this country. Sit them down and tell them how low black people were regarded up until the years in which America began to take the ideas and ideals of its Founding Fathers seriously.
It doesn’t matter what color, race or ethnic group you are, American parents; it doesn’t matter if your lineage extends back to the Mayflower or if your children are the first generation to have been born here, you need to do this. Because if you don’t, your children will be either victim or perpetrator of the type of actions perpetrated by the Jena Six or by those kids which may have provoked the actions of the Six. Why? Because that's what unguided children do; they look for reasons to divide and conquer.
Stop allowing you children to be ignorant. Teach them well or if you can’t, find someone else who can. Show them what America was and how this country which we love evolved into what it is today.
The education regarding America’s social history used to be the province of the public educators, but it isn’t anymore. You, American parents, have to take up that slack now. Don’t allow history to be forgotten and, as a result, allow America to revert to that other version which found it convenient to ignore its foundation.
Don’t let our country become an even uglier version of the America which used race to make its character judgments. You may think that, one way or the other, allowing your children to remain ignorant of this part of our past makes no difference. However, if you fail in this area, you’re ignoring the chance that your offspring can become purveyors of that old social trend of which Jena is merely a symptom. In your home, in front of your computer and at your local library, you can make a difference in your family. And, from there, your midgets can possibly make even more of a difference at his/her school. And from there…
Just stop handing off the factual and moral education of your children to those institutions and individuals which couldn't care less about optimizing that education. That’s all we—your fellow citizens—ask.