The Myth of the Buck
Within segments of the African American community, the vitriolic response of elements outside of the African American community, regarding the Jena 6, is well understood; it's due to the myth of the big, Black buck.
The myth began during the time of slavery. The same types of minds conjured the over exaggerated prowess and proportions of the African male, a belief so ingrained that, it seems to be evidencing itself in the present, manifesting among those that would respond to a school yard beating, as I stated previously, a mean and deplorable act, by calling for the deaths of these young men.
The deaths of the Jena 6 are being called for if charges are dropped or the Jena 6 are acquitted. Death is an extreme and illegal action to be advocated regardless of the outcome of the case.
The myth of the big, Black buck, is responsible for untold numbers of African Americans and presumably mistakenly misidentified, darker complexioned Caucasians and others meeting their end at the end of a noose.
When lynching was at its peak, it was a popular concern that African men would swarm and were swarming upon virtuous White women, robbing them of their virtue, the pseudo-reality made light of in Mel Brooks', Blazing Saddles.
Cleavon Little inquires enthusiastically, “Where the White women at?”. Immediately, the Klansmen head over toward Wilder and Little.
That routine was one of Richard Pryor's contributions to the movie's screenplay.
Richard Pryor, one of America's greatest comic geniuses, Black or White, and his fellow screenwriters, succeeded in skillfully creating a comedy classic that touched on subtle points and ideas long held and buoyed by racism, that usually were not discussed in 'mixed company', in a way that undercut the pain and made most audiences laugh.
Sadly, in America, there was a time when a significant number of Americans from outside of the African American community believed those of African descent to be mere brutes who'd some how accomplished the ability to stand upright. There are some who still believe that way.
Because of the presumed animalistic nature attributed to the African male, his ability to wreak havoc upon civilized society took on epic proportions, requiring he always be held in check, kept in his place, ideas and beliefs still embraced by some, as evidenced by a death threat for a beating, when the youth that was beaten was out of the hospital the same day, attending a school function.
I listened to a reporter of European descent, reporting at CNN during their coverage of the march and rally of support for the Jena 6, as he called the viewing audience's attention, on several occasions during his eyewitness report at the scene, to what he was calling the latest photo of Mychal Bell.
He expounded on how, contrary to the previous photos that had been displayed, this newest photo, Mychal Bell's 'mug shot', was more recent, showing how massive he was and he began detailing Mychal Bell's height and weight.
Yes, I know his intent was to show that Mychal Bell was capable of inflicting serious harm and damage.
However, the need to accentuate the size of the youth, seemed odd to me at the time, since he repeated it more than once, not as an exchange with another anchor; just repeating the statistics, a minimum of three times.
The myth of the big, Black buck: mostly young, presumed virile, male of African descent who, as believed by some elements of American society, must be contained and controlled, if need be, by exacting the ultimate form of control, the taking of his life.