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"It's like they are sending a signal to black folks in Paris that you stay in your place in this community, in the shadows, intimidated."
March 21, 2007 4:10 PM   Subscribe

In Texas, a white teenager burns down her family's home and receives probation. A black one shoves a hall monitor and gets 7 years in prison. The state NAACP calls it `a signal to black folks.' The youth had no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor--a 58-year-old teacher's aide--was not seriously injured. But Shaquanda was tried in March 2006 in the town's juvenile court, convicted of assault. Passwords here.
posted by paulinsanjuan (202 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pshh, I guess next they'll be demanding their own drinking fountains...oh wait...
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:16 PM on March 21, 2007


Is it really about race, or is it about money? In American justice, the greatest determining factor for conviction isn't guilt, it isn't race, it's how much money you can spend on defense. Just ask OJ.
posted by nomisxid at 4:18 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Is it really about race, or is it about money? In American justice, the greatest determining factor for conviction isn't guilt, it isn't race, it's how much money you can spend on defense. Just ask OJ.

"If OJ drove a bus, he'd be Orenthal the Bus Drivin' Murderer!" - Chris Rock
posted by Mikey-San at 4:27 PM on March 21, 2007


In American justice, the greatest determining factor for conviction isn't guilt, it isn't race, it's how much money you can spend on defense

And on Metafilter, the greatest determining factor for making a claim isn't accuracy, it's how convinced you are in your point.

The American judicial system has significant racial problems independent of class issues and class issues independent of race issues. To say that there is a greatest determining factor for guilt is nonsense.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:29 PM on March 21, 2007 [15 favorites]


There was the 19-year-old white man, convicted last July of criminally negligent homicide for killing a 54-year-old black woman and her 3-year-old grandson with his truck, who was sentenced in Paris to probation and required to send an annual Christmas card to the victims' family.

"Remember me? I'm the guy who killed your mom and your baby boy. Merry Christmas!"

Any system that allows 7-year sentences for 14-year-olds is seriously deranged.

the insistence of school officials at her trial that she deserved prison rather than probation for the shoving incident

School officials? Really? Now I know why I should avoid Texas.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:30 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Does the Tribune really think people will register to read the 2nd page of the story?
posted by smackfu at 4:32 PM on March 21, 2007




Shaquanda Cotton is like the coolest name ever.
posted by dhammond at 4:42 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Goddamn French people!
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on March 21, 2007


Is there more detail on the girl who burned her parent's house down? Specifically, was it an accident and did she express remorse at the hearing?

I think Shaquanda got shafted but she did break the law....and she's been written up many times. She doesn't deserve any jail time. Definitely lots of community service.

Sending this kid to jail isn't sending a message, it's just wasting tax payer revenue and will absolutely create another drain on the system. Community service will straighten her up.

Eh......I hope the town dries up and blows away.
posted by strontiumdog at 4:44 PM on March 21, 2007


I'm pretty sure the name Shaquanda is a fairly potent bad-luck force-multiplier.

This would never have happened to a Nancy.
posted by isopraxis at 4:48 PM on March 21, 2007


Is there more detail on the girl who burned her parent's house down?

I read somewhere that it was a property damage case, whereas in Shaquanda's case, what she did was considered an assault.
posted by phaedon at 4:52 PM on March 21, 2007


Shaquanda
Shaquanda shaquanda est ? :D
posted by elpapacito at 4:52 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


School officials? Really? Now I know why I should avoid Texas.

I've spent a lot of time in texas, visiting my Dad during the summers when I was growing up. This was in the Dallas area (mesquite). It really is an awful place, to the extent that places can be bad, it's bad.

The people and the government seem to absolutely hate the poor and weak, and especially children (well, pre-teens) and teenagers. There is just this overwhelming sense of meanness there that you just don't get in Iowa (where I spent the rest of my childhood and live today)
posted by delmoi at 4:55 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm not even sure she needed community service; she doesn't deny shoving the aide, but says that the aide shoved her first. That's the kind of claim a kid would make if they were being truthful, and foolishingly expecting adults to live by the same rules they do.

The school officials here had cited this girl for pouring too much paint in a cup in art class; there's obviously a lot more going on here than meets the eye, and I don't think it's likely to be Shaquanda who's at fault.

I'm still just stunned... seven years for shoving an aide, for a juvenile first offender, when ADULTS who commit MURDER can get less time than that? That's insane.

What the fuck are these people thinking?
posted by Malor at 4:55 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


sigh. "foolishly".
posted by Malor at 4:57 PM on March 21, 2007


What the fuck are these people thinking?

Silly Malor, assuming anyone involved in this decision was thinking at all.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:00 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


The school officials here had cited this girl for pouring too much paint in a cup in art class and defacing a desk that school officials later conceded bore no signs of damage.
Shaquanda's mother, Creola Cotton, does not dispute that her daughter can behave impulsively and was sometimes guilty of tardiness or speaking out of turn at school--behaviors that she said were manifestations of Shaquanda's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which the teen was taking prescription medication.
This is a cruel, cruel world. But it's man made justice that can alleviate or exaggerate cruelty.

Texas knows exactly what it's doing here.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:06 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


I prefer "foolishingly"
posted by wayside at 5:06 PM on March 21, 2007


Three times she has tried to injure herself, first by scratching her face, then by cutting her arm. The last time, she said, she copied a method she saw another young inmate try, knotting a sweater around her neck and yanking it tight so she couldn't breathe. The guards noticed her sprawled inside her cell before it was too late.

She tried to harm herself, Shaquanda said, out of depression, desperation and fear of the hardened young thieves, robbers, sex offenders and parole violators all around her whom she must try to avoid each day.

"I get paranoid when I get around some of these girls," Shaquanda said. "Sometimes I feel like I just can't do this no more--that I can't survive this."

Texas is taking some serious risks here. I hope they haven't miscalculated.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:11 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is Texas
This is redneck
This is lone star
This is wetback
I am Texas (x 4)
This is Texas
This is bad-ass
This is chain-gang
This is mustache
I am Texas (x 5)
posted by boo_radley at 5:12 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


The worst thing is that it's hard to escape the impression that the school officials are *happy* that they've sent a child to jail for seven years.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:13 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


I keep tellin' you guys...just fucking give Texas back.
Problem solved.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:14 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Y'all come back now, ya hear? Except you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:14 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Some of the write-ups weren't fair to her or accurate

Jail isn't the answer, but why do I think this statement is neither fair nor accurate?
posted by frogan at 5:16 PM on March 21, 2007


The school officials here had cited this girl for pouring too much paint in a cup in art class...

... according to her lawyer. Missed that part.
posted by frogan at 5:23 PM on March 21, 2007


This is fucking horrible and outrageous.


Some of the comments in this thread are pretty bad too. The first comment - what are you trying to say exactly 'thirteenkiller'? Sometimes it's embarassing to be part of this community.
posted by serazin at 5:23 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Jail isn't the answer, but why do I think this statement is neither fair nor accurate? -- frogan

Huh? What are you trying to say? That the school administrators are being totally honest?

The school officials here had cited this girl for pouring too much paint in a cup in art class and defacing a desk that school officials later conceded bore no signs of damage. -- dash_slot-
posted by delmoi at 5:26 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


When did they repeal the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution"]Eighth Amendment[/url]?
posted by elmwood at 5:34 PM on March 21, 2007


Huh? What are you trying to say? That the school administrators are being totally honest?

Yes, that is a distinct possibility. Or rather, that the truth is likely at least shaded here. I'm generally not in the habit of believing everything I read on the internets, nor do I believe everything a lawyer tells me about their client.

However, if you are so inclined, I have some land in Florida to talk to you about...
posted by frogan at 5:40 PM on March 21, 2007


I'll go ahead and admit ashamedly that this is indeed my home town.

It seems like every time Paris makes national news, it's for something racist. The last incident was when the PHS band did a halftime tribute to WWII which featured big Nazi flags. Is it any more racist here than anywhere else? I don't think so (in my experience, Chicago was worse) but I produce local hip hop acts so I run with a fairly mixed crowd.

For what it's worth, I think most of the locals (even the actual racists) feel this particular case involves somebody having an axe to grind, and that the whole thing is just some old bullshit. Will there be repercussions at the courthouse over it? Doubt it. Would it change how they operate up there anyway? hah! no.

I must stress that those folks at said courthouse DO NOT reflect the will of the people in this area. Many locals marched with the Black Panthers when they came to town Monday. I find the whole "dry up and blow away Paris!" and "boycott KFC and Soup" thing a little misguided and off-putting. Also, the most famous landmark isn't "the public fairgrounds where black men were routinely lynched as white spectators cheered", but probably either the Eiffel Tower with a cowboy hat or the gravestone with a statue of Jesus in cowboy boots.

As for Mr. Van Winkle, the Parisian government has apologized for Vanilla Ice on several occasions.
posted by First Post at 5:48 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I must stress that those folks at said courthouse DO NOT reflect the will of the people in this area.

Repeated for emphasis. Also, I find the generalizations going on in this thread completely ridiculous.
posted by puke & cry at 5:50 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, come on frogan. Whether you believe the paint-spilling particulars of the case, how can any justice system possibly justify sending a child to prison for seven years for shoving someone?
posted by jack_mo at 5:56 PM on March 21, 2007


WTF? I don't want *adults* sent to jail for a single day for just 'shoving' someone. Not even 27 year olds with red ferraris and scary tattoos. Sheesh!
posted by Firas at 6:07 PM on March 21, 2007


Well, that doesn't work. Let's say 27-year-olds with scary tattoos.
posted by Firas at 6:08 PM on March 21, 2007


Goddamn insane.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on March 21, 2007


thirteenkiller writes: "Why does god let bad things happen to black people? WHY?!"

That's probably the stupidest, most inappropriate and ill-conceived comment I've ever seen on a MetaFilter thread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Or rather, that the truth is likely at least shaded here. I'm generally not in the habit of believing everything I read on the internets, nor do I believe everything a lawyer tells me about their client.

However, if you are so inclined, I have some land in Florida to talk to you about...


Thank GOD I'm not the only one who thought this on first read. Seriously...you people are trying to tell me you've done the same due-diligence on the truths of this story that you do in the case of an article that...oh, I dunno...supports Christianity...or slanders Al Gore?
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:14 PM on March 21, 2007


I'm generally not in the habit of believing everything I read on the internets, nor do I believe everything a lawyer tells me about their client.

So, you doubt there's any systemic discrimination going on in Paris, Texas? Further, your doubt is confirmed because it is contradicted by an article published online by the Chiacgo Tribune, and by the statements of an attorney?
posted by owhydididoit at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2007


"No jury in the world is going to convict a baby... Maybe Texas."
posted by aerotive at 6:25 PM on March 21, 2007


Firas writes 'WTF? I don't want *adults* sent to jail for a single day for just "shoving" someone. Not even 27 year olds with red ferraris and scary tattoos. Sheesh!'

Me neither, obviously! The fact that it's a child just swings it from 'totally fucking insane' to 'gibberingly pig-fucking insane' on the batshit-o-meter.
posted by jack_mo at 6:26 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


just this morning I was watching my favorite comedy channel, Fox News, and they were all in a huff about this white kid from North Carolina who didn't like to camp in the woods or something and walked away by himself and ended up missing for 48 hours, and it was like this huge breaking news situation, yellow ribbons all around the all-Aryan suburban neighborhood (no shit, I didn't see one brown-haired local in the entire broadcast, much less a non-white), thus obscuring minor news items such Iraq, Afghanistan, the first remotely serious investigation of the Bush administration's modus operandi, not to mention, you know, that little total war in Mogadishu.

and then I thought, shit, I'm sure they'd make so much noise about this kid's disappearance if he were, instead, some black kid from the projects.

but then, you know, one doesn't want to be shrill.
posted by matteo at 6:32 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


This article from The Paris News places a lot of the blame on her mother. I'm not sure exactly what to say about the entire situation but I wanted to share this because it offers some information that isn't found in the Tribune article. Also, further up the page, there is an article about the house burning.
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:36 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


On a strictly personal note, the whole thing makes me feel very unsettled inside.
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:37 PM on March 21, 2007


inconsequentialist + 1. Me too.
posted by wires at 6:49 PM on March 21, 2007


Michael Johnson, a teacher/coach at the alternative school, said after a teacher “wrote her up” for violation of rules, the girl told him “I’m going to bust her in the nose.” She wanted to go home, but he made her go to the office with him, Johnson said. He said she told him, “You don’t know me very well, because I’ll burn this school down.”

I'm having a hard time coming up with sympathy for Shaquanda.
posted by ColdChef at 6:54 PM on March 21, 2007


It reminds me of this, in a general perversion of justice sense.
posted by wires at 6:54 PM on March 21, 2007


I thought Paris Texas was awesome. But then, it did have Nastassja Kinski in it.

Seriously though, this case is some serious bullshit. Quite extraordinary.
posted by wilful at 6:59 PM on March 21, 2007


(not to monopolise this thread, but one more comment):

ColdChef: Really? Never got really, really angry at injustice when you were a teenager? Never talked trash?

I wrote the word "kill" on the wall of my jr. high (shortly after columbine) because I was having severe emotional issues. I was kicked out of school with a week left of eighth grade to go. Shortly after the incident, those same problems turned out to respond to medication--maybe this girl needs some extra-familial help as well? Meds? Or maybe she just needs to learn how to blow off steam in a productive way.

I never touched anyone, and I deserved to go to jail more than her.

Lay off. Seven fucking years.
posted by wires at 7:01 PM on March 21, 2007


Chef - you sure that, having quoted the angry and aggrieved teen in another incident, you're not convicting her of crimes she didn't commit? Haven't many of us said stuff similar when angry?

You really unsympathetic to a kid, possibly an ADHD sufferer, seemingly raised by a nutcase, getting potentially 7 years inside for a push?

Would an adult deserve that?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:03 PM on March 21, 2007


Same shitbags, new century.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:06 PM on March 21, 2007


this article proves something that i've been trying to explain to people outside the state for years now:

Texas isn't just horses, farms, and white people in cowboy clothes. We do have blacks, mexicans, asians, etc, etc... in fact, we're the 3rd most diverse state in the country.

I've been doing internships in small-town public schools around Texas for the last 2 years now... and it's true that these towns are still heavily segregated (just like every other city I've been to in America)... but in the schools i've been working in (elementary & middle schools) the kids are really well integrated and don't seem to perpetuate a lot of the race misconceptions of their parents. so, there is hope for the future.

This story is deeply troubling... and the reason why it's received national publicity is because it is such a rare incident. As First Post suggested, it sounds like there is some personal vendetta being carried out here...

Hopefully you all won't assimilate this in your minds as Texas = Racists = White Hicks = Public Lynchings = George W = Conservatives = War = Killing = Hate ... but... it looks like many of you already have... :-/
posted by eli_d at 7:07 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Among the write-ups Shaquanda received, according to Reynerson, were citations for wearing a skirt that was an inch too short, pouring too much paint into a cup during an art class and defacing a desk that school officials later conceded bore no signs of damage.

What the fuck?

Now I know why I should avoid Texas.

Ahem.
posted by oaf at 7:08 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've never understood how people can be unsympathetic to children. I would guess that this girl was having a difficult time at home. She's obviously angry. Maybe the adults in her life have let her down, and she's lashing out.

Seven years for a 14-year-old girl that shoved a person is ridiculous. It's shameful. If anything these people should be reaching out to this girl, not sending her to prison.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:18 PM on March 21, 2007


I'm not saying that seven years isn't a harsh sentence. I'm not saying that there aren't probably other sides to this story that haven't been brought out. What I am saying is that (at least according to her own admission and the story linked directly above by inconsequentalist), this girl has a pattern of behavior problems, possibly stemming from a (real or imagined) sense of persecution. Fine. She has my pity. But not my support.

I'm reminded of Jesse Jackson coming to the defense of high schoolers who started a brawl at a football game in Decatur, IL. This wasn't innocent teenagers being expelled (as Jackson claimed) because they were black. The whole incident was caught on tape. The footage showed a scary miniature riot -- thuggish kids raging through the bleachers, beating up bystanders, scattering terrified parents and students.

And Jackson came to the defense of these assholes (and they were MOST CERTAINLY assholes) and invoked the name of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And that's when I lost it.

ColdChef: Really? Never got really, really angry at injustice when you were a teenager? Never talked trash?

Well, I was never accused of shoving an old lady or threatening to burn the school down. Not being let into the school is not an injustice, unless your standards for justice are shockingly low.

You really unsympathetic to a kid, possibly an ADHD sufferer, seemingly raised by a nutcase, getting potentially 7 years inside for a push?

As the second article said, the long sentence (which may eventually be as short as one year) was an attempt to get her away from her mother, who they felt was a troubling influence. I'm not seeing a lot of information to suggest otherwise.

And then there's this: Chanting “No justice! No peace! and “Go back to hell, devil!” about 100 New Black Panther Party and Millions More Movement members and some Paris residents marched on Paris Independent School District Administration building Monday afternoon.....Many members of the original Black Panthers believe the group is illegitimate and does not follow their ideology. The New Black Panther Party has often been criticized for its view of Jews. Many of the party's leaders claim Jews were involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Again, my heart is somehow not overflowing with sympathy.
posted by ColdChef at 7:21 PM on March 21, 2007


i must stress that those folks at said courthouse DO NOT reflect the will of the people in this area.

right. somehow, the good folks of that area elected a court or elected officials who appointed a court that does not reflect their will.

note that what's going on there involves more than just the "renegade" court -- it's the school officials as well, beyond shaquanda's teachers/

The Education Department asked the U.S. Justice Department to try to mediate disputes between black parents and the district, but school officials pulled out of the process last December before it was concluded.

and "There is a philosophy of giving white kids a break and coming down on black kids," said the teacher, who is white.

so the good folks of paris not only have a court that does not reflect their will, their teachers and education officials also do not reflect their will. i wouldn't be surprised to learn that the police similarly do not reflect the will of the people in the area.

damn, when you look at it like that, they're the real victims, not shaquanda or any other black people.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:21 PM on March 21, 2007


Yes, that is a distinct possibility. Or rather, that the truth is likely at least shaded here. I'm generally not in the habit of believing everything I read on the internets, nor do I believe everything a lawyer tells me about their client. -- frogan

But you are going to believe people who think putting a 14 year old in prison for seven is a good idea? You're incredulously credulous? Seems like kind of weird stance.

Interesting, the "Paris News" article indicates that she could get out in as little as one year, rather then seven. It also paints a much more grim picture of the girl, who seemingly has a mother who won't discipline her.
posted by delmoi at 7:23 PM on March 21, 2007


Yeah, coz an years' worth of jail is so going to cause less trouble in this kid's head than staying with her mother for an year. Look let's be clear. If the mother is really messing things up, the state has the authority to remove the kid from the mother's influence. Jail is hardly going to fix anything.
posted by Firas at 7:27 PM on March 21, 2007


jack_mo: yeah, I wasn't replying to your comment. And my previous comment was re: ColdChef. Who seems to have the view that if the Black Panthers support someone, that someone totally should go to jail.
posted by Firas at 7:29 PM on March 21, 2007


I'm not saying that seven years isn't a harsh sentence. I'm not saying that there aren't probably other sides to this story that haven't been brought out. What I am saying is that (at least according to her own admission and the story linked directly above by inconsequentalist), this girl has a pattern of behavior problems, possibly stemming from a (real or imagined) sense of persecution. Fine. She has my pity. But not my support. --ColdChef

So what you're saying is, even though she has not done anything to deserve it, she should go to jail for being, in general, a bitch? Or just that it's okay with you if she goes to jail for seven years, because she's a bitch?

And then there's this: …"Many of the party's leaders claim Jews were involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks."

Again, my heart is somehow not overflowing with sympathy.


What does any of this have to do with the girl?
posted by delmoi at 7:31 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Man, you people with your "truth is a beast of many shades and colors". She might have up and punched the dude for all we know, that's still not seven years in jail bad for a minor. Shit, I could mow a person down in my car and kill him and get about 7 years. How's that for some due fuckin' diligence? I could sell you meth and then beat you within an inch of your life and get 8 years. The punishment she recieved is concordant with a Class 2 or Class 3 fuckin' felony in Colorado. She would have to have a dirty bomb or rape someone to get a sentence like this where I live.

The prison she's in is for "[...] chronic, serious offenders who already have exhausted county-level programs such as probation and local treatment or detention." That's a huge abberation for a girl with no priors, don't you think?

Due diligence. Christ.
posted by boo_radley at 7:36 PM on March 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


What does any of this have to do with the girl?
Nothing. Everyone pretty much agrees that the sentence was bullshit, so drama has to be manufactured somehow.
posted by IronLizard at 7:39 PM on March 21, 2007


The poor kid's already spent fourteen years in Texas. Isn't that punishment enough?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:43 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Article on the girl who got probation for arson.
posted by inconsequentialist at 7:45 PM on March 21, 2007


And my previous comment was re: ColdChef. Who seems to have the view that if the Black Panthers support someone, that someone totally should go to jail.

So what you're saying is, even though she has not done anything to deserve it, she should go to jail for being, in general, a bitch? Or just that it's okay with you if she goes to jail for seven years, because she's a bitch?

Wow. Okay, let me try this again. I'm NOT saying that her sentence isn't harsh. It is. Fucking harsh. Unfair. Whatever.

But if you read what I said, it seems like many of her problems come from her mother (and the nutjobs that her mother allies herself with (them being the New Black Panthers)), who blames everyone, including other blacks of racism. I know people like this. These people point the finger at everyone but themselves. So, excuse me if I can't muster up some outrage here. I'll pick my battles, thank you.
posted by ColdChef at 7:45 PM on March 21, 2007


14 years old. holy shit. 14 fucking years old. this is batshit insane.
posted by mano at 7:50 PM on March 21, 2007


it seems like many of her problems come from her mother (and the nutjobs that her mother allies herself with (them being the New Black Panthers)) --ColdChef

Right, but again, what does that have to do with her? I agree it's an unfortunate situation, but you're holding her accountable for the actions of others. You have one article in the Chicago Tribute that's sympathetic, and another in a local paper that's not. Is one more accurate then the other, or is the truth in the middle somewhere? (It seems that the ChiTrib would be less biased, and more professional) Obviously we don't know, but I don't think it's fair to blame her for the crackpottery or ineptitude of others.

So, excuse me if I can't muster up some outrage here. I'll pick my battles, thank you. --ColdChef

Right, but ultimately what you're saying here is that it's OK with you if she goes to jail from one year to seven because you just don't like her mom?
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does any of our "being okay" with her going to jail make any difference to whether or not she's going to go to jail, for one year or for seven?
posted by cgc373 at 8:04 PM on March 21, 2007


Obviously we don't know, but I don't think it's fair to blame her for the crackpottery or ineptitude of others.

No, you're right. The truth is, we can't know the whole story from a few articles. But it seems to me that we'd have never heard Shaquanda's story if we didn't have the arson story to compare it to. I may be wrong, but stories like this don't usually hit the national level without some sort of sensationalist edge to it. So, what's the outrage here? That the black girl got judged too harshly or that the white girl got off too easy? Perhaps a little of both, but without the arson story, I doubt you'd have had such a rallying point.

Right, but ultimately what you're saying here is that it's OK with you if she goes to jail from one year to seven because you just don't like her mom?

If it could keep her from turning into her mother, I'd say yes. But that's just me.
posted by ColdChef at 8:06 PM on March 21, 2007


I hate people who use their children as a crowbar.
posted by ColdChef at 8:08 PM on March 21, 2007


This is disgusting and happens all over the country--we need so much more justice in this country (and not the GOP version of it)
posted by amberglow at 8:12 PM on March 21, 2007


Do you know these people personally or something? Because you're coming to conclusions that I can't really draw from the article in good conscience. Do you really think prison makes anyone a better person?
posted by IronLizard at 8:12 PM on March 21, 2007


how can any justice system possibly justify sending a child to prison for seven years for shoving someone?

But you are going to believe people who think putting a 14 year old in prison for seven is a good idea?

Bugger off, ye trolls and myopic dolts. Notice the very first thing I said here was "Jail is not the answer..."
posted by frogan at 8:17 PM on March 21, 2007


Do you know these people personally or something? Because you're coming to conclusions that I can't really draw from the article in good conscience.

No, I don't know these people. You're right to call me out for it. I'm making an assumption based on the information I've read in these articles and on people who I know in real life who remind me of these people. I'm pretty sure that's what we're all doing here, though. Unless someone here knows more about Shaquanda's innocence and they're not speaking up, it's all we have to go by.

So, let me restate. It SEEMS like her mother is using her child as a pawn to fight her battles for her. IF THAT IS THE CASE, then her daughter is better off not being in her care.
posted by ColdChef at 8:25 PM on March 21, 2007


...in my opinion.
posted by ColdChef at 8:26 PM on March 21, 2007


Cold Chef,

Your comments make no sense. You're conflating unrelated incidents with this one and blaming the girl for this other incidents, then shrugging your shoulders and saying "Oh well, maybe it'll help her get away from her mother." Seriously, your comments just make no sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Remember, folks, Dan White got 7 years and served 5. And that was for killing two people. 7 years for assault.... W.T.F.
posted by e40 at 8:32 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


IronLizard writes "Do you know these people personally or something? Because you're coming to conclusions that I can't really draw from the article in good conscience. Do you really think prison makes anyone a better person?"

I think some of the comments in this thread are extremely illuminating.

If you look at the pattern of discrimination in the US criminal justice system, it's nigh on impossible to avoid the conclusion that here are obviously large numbers of white Americans who loathe and fear black people. They see them as too loud, too ungrateful, too demanding, and since segregation ended, the only way that such people feel they can possibly get some piece of mind is by locking up as many of them as possible for as long as possible.

To be honest, I don't think such people care whether prison makes them better people or not -- even if they are only fourteen year old kids. As this story shows, it's more about the mindset of the people who fill US juries and vote for some of your choice politicians than about a discourteous kid who pushes an adult in a fit of pique.

It's a bit weird to see this attitude shared by people on Metafilter though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:40 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Cold Chef, Your comments make no sense. You're conflating unrelated incidents with this one and blaming the girl for this other incidents,

I did no such thing. I said that it reminded me of similar incidents.

then shrugging your shoulders and saying "Oh well, maybe it'll help her get away from her mother."

I did, in fact, say that. And I stand by it. Based on my (admittedly) limited information.
posted by ColdChef at 8:41 PM on March 21, 2007


So, what's the outrage here? That the black girl got judged too harshly or that the white girl got off too easy? Perhaps a little of both, but without the arson story, I doubt you'd have had such a rallying point.

The outrage is that someone, regardless of age, regardless of color, that *someone* got sentenced to 7 years for shoving someone. Saying that her mom is crazy is a red herring, and irrellevant. Saying that there's a white girl arsonist who's not in prison is irrellevant. Saying that she got in trouble at school alot is irrellevant. Black Panther friends? Irrellevant.

Someone got 7 years for shoving someone. That, and nothing else, is what I am outraged about.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:41 PM on March 21, 2007


CC,

You're really saying that sending that kid to jail is better than leaving her with mom? What do you would be so terrible about her staying with mom and how would going to jail make her better?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 PM on March 21, 2007


Someone got 7 years for shoving someone. That, and nothing else, is what I am outraged about.

Fair enough.
posted by ColdChef at 8:47 PM on March 21, 2007


If you look at the pattern of discrimination in the US criminal justice system, it's nigh on impossible to avoid the conclusion that here are obviously large numbers of white Americans who loathe and fear black people.

Exactly--and it's not just blacks--it's anyone who's different (and they've been egged on in that by the rightwing and GOP for years and years).
posted by amberglow at 8:48 PM on March 21, 2007


Uh, ColdChef, even if we agree that she would be better off out of the care of her mother, how on earth does it follow that her being sent to jail is the right way to go about it?
posted by wierdo at 8:53 PM on March 21, 2007


Uh, ColdChef, even if we agree that she would be better off out of the care of her mother, how on earth does it follow that her being sent to jail is the right way to go about it?

I'd never argue that jail was the best or the only choice.
posted by ColdChef at 9:01 PM on March 21, 2007


So, let me restate. It SEEMS like her mother is using her child as a pawn to fight her battles for her. IF THAT IS THE CASE, then her daughter is better off not being in her care.

So you lock a child in jail because of that?

If it could keep her from turning into her mother

Right. . . I'm sure she will feel much better about our society after this little 'correction.'
posted by pwedza at 9:08 PM on March 21, 2007


So, let me restate. It SEEMS like her mother is using her child as a pawn to fight her battles for her. IF THAT IS THE CASE, then her daughter is better off not being in her care.

That may be the case, but that doesn't mean she should go to jail, in fact the idea of sending some to prison "for their own good" is disgusting, really. Prison is a punishment, and no matter how much you want to control someone's life, it's not your place to decide what's best for her, only to punish her appropriately for any laws she may have violated. If you think the mother is a bad one, there are government processes in place to relive her of custody. In my opinion.

To be honest, I don't think such people care whether prison makes them better people or not -- even if they are only fourteen year old kids. As this story shows, it's more about the mindset of the people who fill US juries and vote for some of your choice politicians than about a discourteous kid who pushes an adult in a fit of pique.

One of the Jurors was black, and the Jury wasn't responsible for sentencing. If I was on the jury, I probably would have convicted her too, I mean she did it, I couldn't have expected that she would have gone to jail for even a year, especially being only 14. I remember an episode of frontline where a jury convicted a young man (a high school student) who they thought was "nice" on a cocaine charge, based entirely on the testimony of plea-bargained kids who had been caught. The juror they interviewed thought the guy might get 30 days or so in jail. Turns out the guy got a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years. It's not really fair to blame the Jury, rather then the judge in this case.

I'd never argue that jail was the best or the only choice.

But you are saying it's an appropriate thing to do, and it's better to punish someone severely then allow them to use their free will to associate with someone you don't like.
posted by delmoi at 9:13 PM on March 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Right. . . I'm sure she will feel much better about our society after this little 'correction.'

No kidding. Throwing an innocent person in prison is not a good way to cure someone of a racial persecution complex.
posted by delmoi at 9:15 PM on March 21, 2007


I pledge allegiance to the flag . . . .with liberty and justice for all who can afford it.
posted by augustweed at 9:32 PM on March 21, 2007


I wonder how many people here read the second page of the article. Apparently the girl has self-harmed in jail, to the point of tying a sweater around her neck so she couldn't breathe. She's in jail with youths who are "most violent or most habitual" and it's a "last resort" facility.

How could it ever be at all justifiable to send a kid there? In what way will she emerge a better person? Even if you think she deserved punishment, needed to get away from her mom, is lying through her teeth - any of that, even if I don't believe it you're entitled to - she doesn't need one day in 'last resort' jail. She might need to be removed to foster care or placed in therapy or given probation or maybe even if all the worst stuff in the story is true, minimum security detention. But that jail? Jesus, people, at the very least have some common sense and think about what you're going to be getting after any time spent in there vs. the fact that this kid could have still been "saved", as it were.

Also, the article states that Shaquanda wanted to enter the school before it opened to go to the nurses' office to get her ADD medication. Which is a little different from "just wanted to get in the school" or however ColdChef put it. I'm not saying it's necessarily 100% accurate. But there's only so many facts available, it's nice to try to make use of them.
posted by livii at 9:38 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Which is a little different from "just wanted to get in the school" or however ColdChef put it. I'm not saying it's necessarily 100% accurate. But there's only so many facts available, it's nice to try to make use of them.

The article also went on to say that at no point did Shaquanda say to the hall monitor or the principal that she was going inside for her medicine (which would have allowed her entry). Still, I can't see how that justifies pushing someone out of her way.
posted by ColdChef at 9:42 PM on March 21, 2007


It doesn't justify pushing someone (though she claims the monitor pushed her first, which is worth considering). But it's not like she was some wild and reckless youth who was trying to get in the school to cause trouble. Also, if we're taking the local newspaper as truth (I feel privileging one over the other is foolish), then it also notes, where the Chicago Tribune article did not, that the monitor was treated for injuries immediately while Shaquanda sat in the office with a contusion on her head and a sprained neck. Pleasant. Makes you totally believe the administration in this situation.

(I also wonder, idly I admit, that if because she hadn't had her medication she was less coherent about telling them about her reasons).
posted by livii at 9:49 PM on March 21, 2007


(I also wonder, idly I admit, that if because she hadn't had her medication she was less coherent about telling them about her reasons).

Well, that's certainly consistent with the theory that it's everyone else's fault except for hers.
posted by ColdChef at 9:52 PM on March 21, 2007


ColdChef: could we perhaps agree that Social Services might have been a better agency to refer Shaquanda to?
posted by boo_radley at 9:53 PM on March 21, 2007


inconsequentialist posted a follow-up article on the white teenager who torched the family's house. Here's an excerpt:
At yesterday’s hearing, the teen pled “true” to probation violations. Testimony included the girl to be openly defiant and belligerent with her mother in the presence of her probation officer as well as other court officials on more than one occasion.

While issues of adequate supervision were brought up in the original trial, juvenile probation officer Debbie Kennedy testified Tuesday that the girl’s mother has made sure all appointments have been kept, the girl is receiving weekly counseling from multiple sources and is reportedly taking prescribed medication.

Kennedy also testified that although local resources are being utilized, the girl’s behavior has not changed.

The youth’s attorney, Ben Massar, says he believes the county judge made a prudent decision about “a difficult situation.”

“She has emotional problems that need to be dealt with, but I don’t think she is going to reoffend and I don’t think TYC would be the place for her to receive the help she needs,” Massar said.

“I think the judge looked at this juvenile as an individual, took the case seriously and did what he thought was in the best interest of this child,” Massar said. “I believe he listened to my arguments and sees potential here.”
ColdChef, why didn't Shaquanda Cotton receive this kind of attention or consideration from the court?

Shaquanda's mother may well be the kind of self-absorbed perma-adolescent who can't see her own child as anything other than an impediment or an instrument -- but that's not Shaquanda's fault. From all published accounts, nobody within the legal system looked at Shaquanda as an individual, took her case seriously, and acted in her best interests. No one listened to her lawyer's arguments, or saw her potential.

That's what's wrong here.
posted by vetiver at 9:56 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus, I've never said it was nobody's fault but hers. No one here's said that. Way to totally fucking misread everything we're saying.

What I'm saying is - she was given a totally bum deal. What she did do, wasn't that bad, and did not deserve that punishment. Yeah, she needs to learn to straighten up but one extremely biased account either way of a push by a girl with no prior history and who happens to be FOURTEEN YEARS OLD is in no way compatible with jail time. Getting away from her mom is not compatible with jail time. And also - what the fuck is wrong with considering the fact that she's not 100% the evil villain here?

This is why I never comment on Metafilter anymore. I'm out of this thread; feeling like I need to beat my head against a brick wall is not fun. Feel free to misinterpret that however you like, call me a troll, whatever. I don't give a shit.
posted by livii at 9:59 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


WTF? I don't want *adults* sent to jail for a single day for just 'shoving' someone. Not even 27 year olds with red ferraris and scary tattoos. Sheesh!
posted by Firas at 6:07 PM on March 21

Well, that doesn't work. Let's say 27-year-olds with scary tattoos.


what the fuck does that mean? tattoos = someone that can't get a ferrari? that's as fucking stupid as thirteenkiller's comment.
posted by andywolf at 10:04 PM on March 21, 2007


ColdChef: could we perhaps agree that Social Services might have been a better agency to refer Shaquanda to?

I absolutely agree. I never said otherwise.

And after re-reading the article about how hard jail is for Shaquanda (the self-abuse, the horrid conditions), I will relent that I suppose I do feel sorry for her and her situation. It's a shitty place for a young person to be. Especially for such a long sentence. My initial reaction to this story was based on her thuggish actions and my immediate response to it.

But I'm not without compassion and I'm willing to admit that perhaps I judged her too harshly. I hope for Shaquanda's sake that she learns a lesson, not about the world's cruelty, but about how to live in a society--even a severely flawed one like ours. She has a chance to grow from this.
posted by ColdChef at 10:05 PM on March 21, 2007


Jesus, I've never said it was nobody's fault but hers. No one here's said that. Way to totally fucking misread everything we're saying.

I apologize to livii for being such a smartass.
posted by ColdChef at 10:08 PM on March 21, 2007


pardon the way i phrased the above comment. i just have to say that if that's the intent of the tattoo comment, then it's no less bigoted then if you replaced the word with any racial slur you prefer.
posted by andywolf at 10:11 PM on March 21, 2007


the only way that such people feel they can possibly get some piece of mind is by locking up as many of them as possible for as long as possible.

To be honest, I don't think such people care whether prison makes them better people or not -- even if they are only fourteen year old kids


But the good news is that they can choose to be transferred to Colorado, where they will be used as manual labourers due to a illegal immigrant shortage. We'll still have cheap salads! Yay!

Or maybe they can choose to go to Ohio, where they can get a kidney hacked out in exchange for their freedom. Why, Shaquanda could conceivably end up saving your very life!

Or perhaps another state, where they can choose to enlist in a private mercenary corporation like Blackwater, on high-risk assignments that earn them their freedom. The long war is going to need lots of hard men. Who better to send to Iraq than some rage-'roiding gangbanger muscle, all hate and spite and evil.

Yeah, cool. What a neat experiment.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


And, hey, those prisoners, they don't get to vote.

Is the USA recycling 1830? Shit sakes, your prison population is bigger, per capita, than any in the world, and several of your States are serious about treating prisoners as slavery chattel. There's the thinnest veneer of "choice" about it all... as if in a penal system where rape is an expectation there is a "choice" about much anything.

Slavery is coming back to the USA.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 PM on March 21, 2007


Interesting that so many people make this a race issue:

1. Has the NAACCP/Black Panthers made it habit to protest injustices done to members that don't belong to their special interest group? What is it called when "Pro-White" organization only work on behalf of members of their special interest group(s)?

2. Has class been equalized? Has this same court shown harsh sentencing towards rich members of (insert special interest group)?

3. I don't deny that poor people get the short shrift in the justice system. However, I do admit that most Americans support big government and seem to be "shocked" when it misbehaves (i.e. acts in a way they don't like). You can't have your cake and eat it too.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:30 PM on March 21, 2007


The article also went on to say that at no point did Shaquanda say to the hall monitor or the principal that she was going inside for her medicine (which would have allowed her entry). Still, I can't see how that justifies pushing someone out of her way. -ColdChef

Let's be clear: the article from a local paper, posted on the DA's blog said that the hall monitor claimed she never mentioned her medicine. You should be able to see how that does not actually mean she didn't

Well, that's certainly consistent with the theory that it's everyone else's fault except for hers. --ColdChef

Who exactly has that theory?

Anyway, you're entire argument seems to come down to not caring what happens to her, not because she's done something worth this kind of punishment, not because society would be better off, not because it's best for her, but because she reminds you of people you don't like. This, frankly, is disgusting.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Slavery is coming back to the USA.

You're joking, right?
posted by oaf at 10:41 PM on March 21, 2007


I was one of those well-behaved kids in school when I was growing up. You know, the kids that always do well, and who teachers all liked, and who wasn't angry and wasn't acting out. Arguably, I was usually the nicest kid in the room.

And somehow I still managed to punch someone in the face in 7th grade, get in a fistfight with a stranger outside of the gym in 10th grade, and get into various verbal altercations with peers and authority figures during that time.

When you're a teenager, or a preteen, you're overwhelmed by hormones and under a lot of pressure from your parents, your friends, your authority figures, and yourself. It's a struggle, even if you're not disadvantaged economically or socially, or have parents who are divorcing, or happen to be the daughter of a woman who might not have your best interests at heart, or be of a race that gets the short shrift where you live (and you can't move away, because you're fourteen years old.)

It seems to be going hand-in-hand with the increase in fear. When I was growing up, my parents watched me get on my bike and go for multiple-mile rides through the forest preserve bike trail every few days, with no phone, no helmet, and them having no idea where I was going or what I was doing. That doesn't happen now. Similarly, there used to be a tolerance for behavior that's typical for a teen or preteen, but now that tolerance is gone, if fourteen year olds are being sentenced to felony jail time for being a teenager and some people aren't outraged.

Seriously, I thought I was going to get older and say things like "these kids today, they can do whatever they want, no discipline, no control" and instead I'm saying the opposite: "these kids today, they're nannied under the twin thumbs of their parent's fear and the frenzied authority of petty tyrants -- when do they get to be teenagers?"
posted by davejay at 10:51 PM on March 21, 2007 [11 favorites]


Any of us can end up in this girl's shoes. (To avoid said shoes, it helps if you're a fat white guy like me, but if even then, if I pissed off the right people, I'm gone, too. There's a million laws, and every one of us breaks any number of them every day. Throw enough shit, and some will stick.)

I have the same reaction to this story as when I hear about another Macho Letter Agency rounding up "illegal" aliens. These are all people, for the most part, who just want the chance to live lives with a bit of hope in them. They put up with unbelievable amounts of shit to try and create said hope.

Can you even imagine being a 14-year-old without any anchors in the world--and if you're even a little bit smart all you can see in your future is an endless gloomy tunnel? How polite, how respectful of authority will you be, when you're already shit in their eyes and you know it?

I mean, what the fuck?

People get such a hard-on for "law and order." Yeah, some crooks are Bad People and should be dealt with. But a lot of them are just people with petty vices or minor control problems, things that there are hundreds of better ways of dealing with than throwing them in jail.
posted by maxwelton at 11:00 PM on March 21, 2007


I'm cool with ColdChef too - sorry for the arguing in the thread, folks.
posted by livii at 11:02 PM on March 21, 2007


To paraphrase a famous poem:
First they came for the bitchy black 14-year-old girl with a bad mother and I did nothing because I'm not a bitchy black 14-year-old girl with a bad mother...

Sorry, ColdChef, I gotta call you out here. There is a lot in Shaquanda's background that explains the court's treatment of her, but nothing, NOTHING that excuses it.

We should consider ourselves damned lucky if she doesn't get out of the "jail better than her mother's care" in a year - or probably longer* - then join the New Black Panthers, rise quickly through their ranks and become responsible for one of the worst terrorist acts of the 2020s. Or maybe we'll be lucky and she'll only kill herself. Or maybe we'll be real lucky if she "turns herself around" in jail, comes out and becomes a popular self-help author who recommends a year or two in Last Chance Jail for all uppity teenagers...

*You don't think her self-destructive actions are going to be considered strikes against her early realease on "good behavior"?
posted by wendell at 11:03 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


here's a million laws, and every one of us breaks any number of them every day.

Exactly!

These are all people, for the most part, who just want the chance to live lives with a bit of hope in them. They put up with unbelievable amounts of shit to try and create said hope

I agree, people like tax resisters, minimum wage subversives, and drug dealers want the same. No doubt there are scary characters amongst them, but it is the system that calls these things crimes. They create them. In America, the philosophy is "I know how to run your life better than you do. And my way is better that yours"
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 11:04 PM on March 21, 2007


White girl with "problems": Judge superville sentences her to probation, won't send her to juvy even after she vilated probation.

Black girl with an "uppitty" attitude and a "trouble-making" mother (a mother at least partially responsible for the Feds investigating the school for civil rights violations): seven years in juvy.

Come on, this is either pure racism ("keep them in their place") or at best, punishing the kid for her mother's political dissent. Either way, it's disgusting. But thankfully, even at MetaFilter, there's someone "...not without compassion...." who sees in an unjust sentence for a 14 year old, because of what her mother did, a silver lining for the kid and for White society:
"I hope for Shaquanda's sake that she learns a lesson, not about the world's cruelty, but about how to live in a society--even a severely flawed one like ours. She has a chance to grow from this."
What lesson for living in our society would that be? Maybe just "don't complain to the Justice Department about City Hall if you have a vulnerable kid, City Hall will find a way to punish you"?

Or is it a more fundamental lesson that Shaquanda needs to learn to get along in the white society that is Paris Texas? Perhaps, "If you're black, don't talk back?" Is her "chance to grow" the chance to grow up a person afraid of the local Boss Hogg, or the chanceto grow into a good little Stephan Fetchit"?

Or is the simple and time-tested message of white society to black Americans, "be very afraid, boy, we'll lynch you, one way or another, if not with a rope then with a pen"?

Valuable lessons indeed, but I'd hoped those weren't lessons black kids, American kids, needed to learn in the 21st century. But I think we've all "learned a lesson" today, about American racism and injustice and about those who would justify injustice as giving its victims "a chance to grow".
posted by orthogonality at 11:09 PM on March 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


To paraphrase a famous poem:
First they came for the


Way to Godwin it up there.
posted by frogan at 11:17 PM on March 21, 2007


the long sentence (which may eventually be as short as one year) was an attempt to get her away from her mother

Prison is not a great way to help a kid with problems at home, school behavior problems, and no prior arrest record.

One year is a huuuuuuuuuuge amount of time for a young teenager.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:17 PM on March 21, 2007


"what the fuck does that mean? tattoos = someone that can't get a ferrari? that's as fucking stupid as thirteenkiller's comment."

Nah, I just mean someone with a ferrari is liable to get off coz of class/demeanor issues, and I wanted to say that even if someone's a random street punk he shouldn't be locked up for 7 for 'shoving' someone. Clearer?
posted by Firas at 11:47 PM on March 21, 2007


What is it called when "Pro-White" organization only work on behalf of members of their special interest group(s)?

Legislation?

Your argument is akin to the complaints of people about BET: "Why are the blacks so special that they get their own TV network? Why isn't there a White Entertainment Television? Why isn't there a White History Month?" I'll let you figure out the answer.
posted by papakwanz at 11:55 PM on March 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, and how the fuck is this poor girl anything like a tax resistor, minimum wage subversive (whatever the hell that is), or a drug dealer, GN?

And this is not a case of "big government gone wild," so please don't ride your Libertarian hobby horse into this. It is a case of "Racist and/or classist assholes in government gone wild."
posted by papakwanz at 11:58 PM on March 21, 2007


Legislation?

I don't think "legislators" can be called pro-white these days. In fact, it has been a century or two since I've ever heard that defended

Oh, and how the fuck is this poor girl anything like a tax resistor, minimum wage subversive (whatever the hell that is), or a drug dealer, GN?

No political pawn/totem is like any other political pawn/totem is the point. Partisans are always partisan to totems that fit their ideology. Had this been a teen forbidden to say "under God" in "The Pledge" there would be similar outrage.

And this is not a case of "big government gone wild," so please don't ride your Libertarian hobby horse into this. It is a case of "Racist and/or classist assholes in government gone wild."

Well, for one I'm not a Libertarian. For seconds, I've seen no evidence of it being a "racist" decision. What I have seen is people criticizing excessive government behaving as if government never brings a heavy hand down upon white people. Maybe it is true. I, however, have not heard such an assertion made. I wonder if the self-righteous citizens, taking a stand against "racism" would have posted in the same manner if the subject was a "White Chick"
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 12:21 AM on March 22, 2007


I wonder if the self-righteous citizens, taking a stand against "racism" would have posted in the same manner if the subject was a "White Chick"

No, because it wouldn't have been the same situation, if the girl put through the mincer that Texas has for a legal system was white. I find it entirely believeable that the same could be done to a white girl, and I expect that the commenter response would also be that this was a horrible and unjust outcome. It wouldn't have the same character of racism, but it would still be unjust.

Seven years in jail for a simple assault committed by a 14-year-old is unsupportable to any decent person. I wonder what other horrors of injustice that judge might have overseen?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:35 AM on March 22, 2007


One point. She didn't automatically get seven years. She got at least ONE year, with the rest of the time determined by her behavior. Still shitty though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:40 AM on March 22, 2007


Coldchef: Have you ever BEEN in jail? Do you have any idea how deliberately horrible those places are?

Saying that a girl should go to jail -- for SEVEN YEARS -- to get her away from a mother you don't like is among the most ignorant and awful things I've ever seen a MeFite say. :(
posted by Malor at 2:42 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


i'm going to name my first black daughter shaquonsar.
posted by quonsar at 4:29 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying that seven years isn't a harsh sentence.

you're SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO liberal!

and what the hell does Jesse Jackson and the football players brawl thing have to do with anything -- except that it confirms your own quite evident bias when discussing unruly Negroes? what we're discussing here is a 7-year jail sentence for shoving someone: you can obviously argue that your country has made a lot progress re: this issues, because 60 years ago she certainly would have been lynched on the spot, and that's certainly a harsher sentence than 7 years in jail.

but it's not about your sympathy -- or mine, for that matter. it's about the sheer folly of such a treatment of black people in 2007 America -- because it's all about that, I hope you're not pretending that a white girl would have gotten the same treatment.

as the post title says, it's a perfectly obvious signal to black people, in Texas and not necessarily just there -- this is not a jail sentence, it's a big white cross burned on Black America's front porch.
posted by matteo at 4:40 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, for one I'm not a Libertarian.

no, you're an apologist for white separatism ... you don't approve of civil right laws, you don't care if the law is unequally applied between black and white and you want an identity politics that represents YOUR race

you aren't going to get much sympathy here for any of that
posted by pyramid termite at 4:43 AM on March 22, 2007


What is it called when "Pro-White" organization only work on behalf of members of their special interest group(s)?

I call it "Business as usual."

Imagine a bizzaro universe, where a 14 year old white girl stands accused of shoving a school staffer. Most of the school staff is black, the cops are mostly black, the judge is black, and the jury is 91.6% black -- one token white person on the jury. Her mom has ties to the KKK and is generally a little loony; somehow this is relevant. Meanwhile, in the nice neighborhood, a mouthy black girl burns down her family's house.

The black girl gets probation for arson ("oh, she's just going through a phase..."), while the white girl gets SEVEN YEARS IN JAIL for shoving somebody, on the partial justification that it will be good to get her away from her crazy mother.

.
.
.

Okay, step back... Assess that scenario, think about how the injustice of it makes you feel, and tell me when in the history of mankind has that ever happened??

You're so conditioned to America's pervasive racism you can't recognize it.
posted by LordSludge at 7:09 AM on March 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


The glib attempts at cuteness in this thread are disgusting. This is a fucking travesty and tragedy. Did you assholes even read the article?

Three times she has tried to injure herself, first by scratching her face, then by cutting her arm. The last time, she said, she copied a method she saw another young inmate try, knotting a sweater around her neck and yanking it tight so she couldn't breathe. The guards noticed her sprawled inside her cell before it was too late.

She tried to harm herself, Shaquanda said, out of depression, desperation and fear of the hardened young thieves, robbers, sex offenders and parole violators all around her whom she must try to avoid each day.

"I get paranoid when I get around some of these girls," Shaquanda said. "Sometimes I feel like I just can't do this no more--that I can't survive this."


There's nothing funny about this.
posted by blendor at 7:12 AM on March 22, 2007


Slavery is coming back to the USA.

You're joking, right?


Yeah, come on, it's more like indentured servitude.
posted by Artw at 7:48 AM on March 22, 2007


I agree, people like tax resisters, minimum wage subversives, and drug dealers want the same. No doubt there are scary characters amongst them, but it is the system that calls these things crimes. They create them. In America, the philosophy is "I know how to run your life better than you do. And my way is better that yours" -- Gnostic Novelist

What the hell? The other day you were running around calming that any black person in prison has "No one to blame but themselves". I assume that included this girl, no?
posted by delmoi at 7:50 AM on March 22, 2007


I don't think "legislators" can be called pro-white these days. In fact, it has been a century or two since I've ever heard that defended -- Gnostic Novelist

Yes, as we all know, 2007 - 1957 = 100. Stay tuned for more insight from the sterling mind of Gnostic Novelist.

you [Gnostic Novelist] don't approve of civil right laws, you don't care if the law is unequally applied between black and white and you want an identity politics that represents YOUR race

Nu-uh, he totally claims he's black.
posted by delmoi at 8:00 AM on March 22, 2007


Does the Tribune really think people will register to read the 2nd page of the story?
posted by smackfu at 7:32 PM on March 21 [+]

[!]

Yes, that's why it's such a successful company.
posted by etaoin at 8:24 AM on March 22, 2007


When I was a kid (13) I punched a kid in the face and tried to jam him into a locker, because he had spit on me the previous afternoon. We each ended up getting in-school suspension for a day. Nobody went to jail, and we actually became friends a couple of months later. We came to realize that we were both idiots that were egged on by so-called friends into doing these stupid things to each other.

Nowadays, I fear that we'd both have done mandatory counseling sessions about our "anger issues", at the least. Maybe the school police would have jumped on us, and tasered us, who knows? Point is, we were a couple of typical teenaged boys doing what teenaged boys do. Kids need to be free to make mistakes, and should reap the consequences of those mistakes in proportion to their magnitude. I am really, truly worried that my kids are going to get in huge trouble for doing exactly the kind of things that kids are supposed to do as they learn their limits in the larger world.

I am not encouraging my kids to beat the shit out of people who insult or taunt them, but if they did, I could live with that. I would make sure that they faced appropriate consequences, and I'd tell them the story above. I am not encouraging my kids to plan an elaborate hoax to make me think they are going to school, when they are really going to hang out at the mall or something, but I can live with it if they do. Kids need to break the rules sometimes, but it seems like things are so quickly blown out of proportion these days, any infraction is likely to result in huge adverse consequences. Every antisocial or rebellious act is pathologized. People need to lighten up, let the kids be kids, and for chrissakes, get some sensible gun control so that, when they do get into fistfights, there's no worry that someone's going to come shoot up your house afterwards.
posted by Mister_A at 8:25 AM on March 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


What the hell? The other day you were running around calming that any black person in prison has "No one to blame but themselves". I assume that included this girl, no?

7 years is indeed harsh. The justice system is not known for mercy (at least not the American one). People get excessive sentences for tax resistance, and sometimes sex offenders get probation. Sometimes drug users get sentences on par with murderers. It's always an injustice when it stirs political, emotional and other sympathies. It's just interesting that this is turned into a race issue when there is no evidence of it. The boys and girls have cried, "Wolf," so many times that understandably the country has tired of it.

no, you're an apologist for white separatism ... you don't approve of civil right laws, you don't care if the law is unequally applied between black and white and you want an identity politics that represents YOUR race


Well since I am black, your comment is almost incomprehensible. I don't care who wants to separate themselves from whom. Do you go around micromanaging adult's lives or something? I don't
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 8:55 AM on March 22, 2007


It's just interesting that this is turned into a race issue when there is no evidence of it.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:39 AM on March 22, 2007


It's always an injustice when it stirs political, emotional and other sympathies. It's just interesting that this is turned into a race issue when there is no evidence of it.

What's even more interesting is that since some people think this is racially motivated, other people feel less sympathy for people involved in what is still an injustice.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:42 AM on March 22, 2007


It's just interesting that this is turned into a race issue when there is no evidence of it.

I've seen nothing from the link to suggest it is a race issue. All it shows is that blacks/hispanic men commit more crimes as a percentage of the population, and are disproportionately affected by the drug war. I see a strong case for a class/poverty argument (although not a Marxist conspiratorial one). Otherwise, criminals are being put away for committing crimes.

The report even goes on to say:
In this briefing, we do not analyze the diverse reasons for these troubling statistics. Crime rates, law enforcement priorities, sentencing legislation and other factors play a role in creating racial disparities in incarceration

No controls for income? That is pretty basic. If the same ratio played out amongst the upper classes, then that would be suspicious.

Any Sociology 101 class worth its salt will take it as an axiom that police are going to actually police poor neighborhoods with greater frequency than wealthy ones (they act mostly as defenders of property when it comes to the wealthy). Even in relation to drug use, one would be hard pressed to find dealers on the corner in a wealthy neighborhood. Prostitution stings tend not to happen in wealthy neighborhoods, etc etc.

It goes back to the old adage. If you don't want to go to jail, don't commit crimes. The justice system is not prone to giving breaks to those who can't afford fancy lawyers, so if one commits a crime one will most likely be punished.

The War on Drugs is big government in action, and I oppose it, and non-violent offenders shouldn't be incarcerated in my opinion, but this is America, and clearly the country disagrees.

Shouting racism is a non-starter for a non-issue when actual criminals are committing crimes.

Poor people get tougher sentences than the rich/powerful? It's true. Addressing the causes of crimes, from broken homes to sheer hopeless poverty is an issue.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:00 AM on March 22, 2007


Aside from his inexplicable attitude about the American Justice system (which I'll boil down as "It's arbitrary, get used to it"), I can see where Gnostic Novelist is coming from. Did you listen to last week's This American Life? Dan Savage had a bit about seeing gays in popular culture; they were always portrayed as being effete lunatics walking poodles in cruisy parks in the dead of night. Savage made a point early on in his life to not be that poodle-walking mincing cruiser, and stuck with it.

Gnostic Novelist might be this black dude who's just tired of the the portrayal of blacks being semi-anarchistic lunatics who are willing to shout racism at any occasion. Not that this is slight in any way, in my opinion. There is evidence of inequality of sentencing, both in terms of comparison with the white arsonist, and in terms of general sentencing guidelines. Like I said earlier, I could commit vehicular manslaughter and expect to get around seven years in prison.
posted by boo_radley at 10:02 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sad, sad, story.

Ugly, stupid, comments.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:02 AM on March 22, 2007


What's even more interesting is that since some people think this is racially motivated, other people feel less sympathy for people involved in what is still an injustice.

That would be compounding a tragedy. The girl received a harsh sentence (although I can't say if it is 'illegal'), and it is sad to realize that in a country where many are suffering from 'race fatigue' this issue just isn't worth paying attention to. It's understandable, not preferable, but understandable.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:03 AM on March 22, 2007


I've seen nothing from the link to suggest it is a race issue.

That's because you're stupid. I thought we'd established this.
posted by delmoi at 11:02 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gnostic Novelist might be this black dude who's just tired of the the portrayal of blacks being semi-anarchistic lunatics who are willing to shout racism at any occasion.

Huh?? That's a common stereotype? Where?

On the other hand, G.N. certainly comes across like a nutbar, for sure.
posted by delmoi at 11:10 AM on March 22, 2007


I'll pick my battles, thank you.

I hate to contribute to this derail, but I really, really don't get people who feel so passionate about their "I don't care about this and neither should you" attitude that they feel compelled to post and post and post and post about it. If you're picking another battle, bully on you, but I get the feeling that if you were too busy fighting injustice elsewhere, you wouldn't be posting so much in this thread.

Here's a better topic: I feel helpless about this. What can I do to make things better in Paris, TX and elsewhere? What do y'all think? Any suggestions?
To me, juror rights comes to mind. In my knowledge and experience, the judge's instructions to the jury have no basis in law and are detrimental to the historical functioning of juries (e.g. Without the Zenger trial, there might be no free press in America).

The insistence that jurors rule on the facts and only on the facts sways an incredible amount of power away from the populace and towards those who execute the law and those who judge it. This is how we have 20 year sentences for possessing marijuana (From the Paris DA's page Sidebar: Seems like a pretty good reason to avoid Texas to me, regardless of anti-Texas bias.)
Of course, jury nullification raises its own issues with racism and injustice, but those issues clearly exist no matter where the power lies: with judges or juries or executives.

But, it seems to me, that judge's instructions are much more likely to quiet a righteous juror who is interested in justice than some juror with outright racist intent. We can also control this issue by insuring that juries really are fair and made up of real peers and not just made up of people with nothing better to do or who couldn't figure out how to dodge the jury notification.
posted by Skwirl at 11:19 AM on March 22, 2007


and it is sad to realize that in a country where many are suffering from 'race fatigue' this issue just isn't worth paying attention to. It's understandable, not preferable, but understandable.

Just ignore it and it will go away!
posted by delmoi at 11:21 AM on March 22, 2007


delmoi: semi-anarchistic lunatics who are willing to shout racism at any occasion. I could come up with more examples, I guess, but I'm lazy (WHITE).
posted by boo_radley at 11:44 AM on March 22, 2007


delmoi: semi-anarchistic lunatics who are willing to shout racism at any occasion. I could come up with more examples, I guess, but I'm lazy (WHITE).

Boo_radley: I don't deny that there are some black people like that, obviously there are. (Look at the woman who was all over TV claiming barak obama wasn't "black enough" for her), that doesn't mean the majority of black people act that way.

But it's not a common stereotype of the average black person in the media. I mean look at any will smith, Denzel Washington, etc, etc, etc movie. In comparison, until recently every gay person on TV or in the movies was portrayed as some super flaming, limp-wristed queen with a lisp. Plus I don't exactly see how complaining about racism makes you a "semi-anarchistic lunatic." Especially when you consider that most Baby Boomer blacks would have grown up at a time when Segregation was legal and racism was pervasive and out in the open.
posted by delmoi at 1:24 PM on March 22, 2007


Well since I am black, your comment is almost incomprehensible.

i'm a highly trained dog ... a polka dotted dog ... isn't the internet wonderful?

and it is sad to realize that in a country where many are suffering from 'race fatigue' this issue just isn't worth paying attention to.

you'll have to excuse me ... i'm suffering from troll fatigue
posted by pyramid termite at 1:32 PM on March 22, 2007


Does anyone else think it's interesting that Gnostic Novelist didn't mention that he was black until his 4th comment this time round?

After Delmoi reminded him @ 8am.

Is it possible he forgot?
posted by mer2113 at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2007


yes, mer2113, it's possible ... i forgot that i'm really a polka-dotted cat instead of a polka-dotted dog, so if i could forget that, i'm sure he could forget he's black ... he could even forget that he's cribbing his arguments from white separatists ... if he ever knew it to begin with
posted by pyramid termite at 2:00 PM on March 22, 2007


Ah, I thought I heard insectile chewing. Glad I finally found the thread it was coming from.
posted by hermitosis at 2:14 PM on March 22, 2007


Wow, countering somebody's race on the internet based on nothing at all. You don't have to like him, but that's a pretty big dick move.
posted by boo_radley at 2:19 PM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else think it's interesting that Gnostic Novelist didn't mention that he was black until his 4th comment this time round?

I don't go around mentioning it because I am not obsessed with race. It is interesting that on the internet it is always the "anti-racists" that seem to associate opinions with certain races.

It usually follows:

1. You disagree you are racist
2. You can't be a minority because you disagree
3. Ok, maybe you are (insert minority) but you are a uncle tom/race traitor/bootlicker/self-loather and such

Of course the worst of it is reserved for Jewish people who happen to be deemed "anti-Israel". It's like watching 1-3 on steroids.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:22 PM on March 22, 2007


Boo,

Why don't you go and read all of GN's comments and then tell me my question is based on nothing at all. K?

And the real dick move is thinking that the only difference between the way white people and black people in modern day America experience the world is in how much sunlight is absorbed/reflected by their skin.

Which is a dick move that ONLY a white person in modern day America would ever make.

GN, was your dad African-American or your mom or both?
If it's too sensitive a subject, you don't have to answer.
I'm going somewhere with this.
posted by mer2113 at 2:43 PM on March 22, 2007


Please do. I can't be the only one you're offending the fuck out of with your "White people are like this, black people are like THIS" racism. Please stop talking.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:47 PM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


23skidoo: who's that directed at?
posted by boo_radley at 2:57 PM on March 22, 2007


GN, was your dad African-American or your mom or both?

My Mother is half Native American/Black and my Father is Black.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:58 PM on March 22, 2007


23skidoo: who's that directed at?

At mer2113.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:27 PM on March 22, 2007


Oh, ok. Well, I guess we wait for his coup de grace, then.
posted by boo_radley at 3:44 PM on March 22, 2007


Please do. I can't be the only one you're offending the fuck out of with your "White people are like this, black people are like THIS" racism. Please stop talking.

You're not. Him and delmoi. GN isn't acting like their preconcived notions on how a black person should act, so he's clearly not black. It would be funny if it wasn't so fucking racist.
posted by Snyder at 3:54 PM on March 22, 2007


ssh, he's going to put us in our places shortly.
posted by boo_radley at 3:55 PM on March 22, 2007


hee hee, true. I'm eagerly awaiting it.
posted by Snyder at 3:58 PM on March 22, 2007


Okay, I was going to try to get all Matlock with your dad's affiliation with Mensa (not alot of African-American members), but they're really cagey about releasing their demographic information on race, preferring to point up the diversity of gender and occupations of their members, and almost completely ignoring race.

The closest I could find to any sort of racial breakdown was in a 1996 Mensa document that only mentions that 88% of their members are "of European descent".
So, i guess that means the other 12%...aren't. Not real helpful.
(I also found articles from Chicago in the early 70s that point out that Mensa had zero African-American members.)

Instead, I'd like to just mention how strange I find GN's statement:
"if I was around in the 19th century I would have been a hardcore abolitionist, suffragist, and so forth"

That's assuming you lived in the North, I imagine.
Big assumption.
And I suppose you mention this to make sure we don't think you would have been one of the (free) African-Americans who wasn't a hardcore abolitionist in the 19th century, common as they were.

Also another one of your assertions interestes me:
"My views on the Constitution are fairly middle ground. Mistakes, big mistakes, have been made (16th, 17th, 18th, 22nd, amendments) but of course it is not a perfect document..."

Interesting that you don't mention any of the original big mistakes. Like the ones that would have kept you from voting.

And 23skidoo: Are you kidding? (I'm going to ignore the fact that you totally failed to read and comprehend my original statement that black people and white people have different experiences as citizens in America for reasons not solely related to pigment, and address what I think is your real issue.) You really think that a black person has the same experiences as an American as a white person? The SAME? The same reflection of themselves in popular culture? The same consideration for loan applications?


Give me a break.

And Snyder...how do you read "experiences the world" as "how a black person should act"?
posted by mer2113 at 4:08 PM on March 22, 2007


mer2113: You're flailing, off base, and have your own issues of perception to address. Take a moment to collect your thoughts.
posted by boo_radley at 4:13 PM on March 22, 2007


And lest you say discrimination against black people ended 40 years ago, here's a little documentation of hardcore, explicit discrimination that went on well into the 1990s.

http://www.fs.fed.us/people/aasg/correspondence/wp_farmers.html

It's obvious that I have a Spanish composition to write and this is my way of avoiding it.
But, I shall avoid it no more!

Voy a escribir la composicón.

(on preview, Boo: Wow. Powerful comeback. You in Mensa, too?)
posted by mer2113 at 4:17 PM on March 22, 2007


I don't go around mentioning it because I am not obsessed with race. It is interesting that on the internet it is always the "anti-racists" that seem to associate opinions with certain races.

LOL

First of all, if you weren't obsessed with race, you wouldn't even be commenting in these threads. Secondly you've mentioned your ethnicity twice whenever you get called on your idiotic bullshit.

Talk about playing the race card.
posted by delmoi at 4:23 PM on March 22, 2007


You're not. Him and delmoi. GN isn't acting like their preconcived notions on how a black person should act, so he's clearly not black. It would be funny if it wasn't so fucking racist.

No, I'm pretty sure it's still funny. I know I'm laughing.
posted by delmoi at 4:26 PM on March 22, 2007


And look, just to clarify, I think it's entirely possible that G.N. could be black, of course. It would be silly to think that every black person believes the same things. But what's also possible is that he's just an internet troll. He certainly comes off very trollish, so what's more likely? That he's a black person who believes segregation and job discrimination against black people should be legal (Remember, he opposes the Civil Rights act of 1964), or an internet troll? Surely you don't take everything you read at face value, right?

Ultimately his race makes no difference in the abject wrongness of his ideas.
posted by delmoi at 4:36 PM on March 22, 2007


Ah, I get it. You find it funny you're (acting like) a racist.
posted by Snyder at 4:41 PM on March 22, 2007


Ultimately his race makes no difference in the abject wrongness of his ideas.

Then why question it?
posted by Snyder at 4:42 PM on March 22, 2007


The closest I could find to any sort of racial breakdown was in a 1996 Mensa document that only mentions that 88% of their members are "of European descent".
So, i guess that means the other 12%...aren't. Not real helpful.
(I also found articles from Chicago in the early 70s that point out that Mensa had zero African-American members.)


I an ignorant of Mensa's racial breakdown, but if it is 12% that would make them on par with the population, in relation to excellence, and I'm sure that we could perhaps agree that 12% of the population is not genius by many means, maybe we can't agree on that. I'm not a member of MENSA, that comment was only an innocent remark and not meant to show any superiority or anything. I am not politically correct and never will be, because I don't seek to be.

That's assuming you lived in the North, I imagine.
Big assumption.
And I suppose you mention this to make sure we don't think you would have been one of the (free) African-Americans who wasn't a hardcore abolitionist in the 19th century, common as they were.


A number of my ancestors were free-slaves who lived in the North (escaped from Alabama and Georgia).

I would have been an abolitionist, according to my current views, due to the inherent oppressiveness of slavery/excessive taxation/etc. Not because of my race. My race actually has it easier in the 21st century because of the welfare state. However, that is due to the exploitation of poor and middle class people who fall outside the purview of my special interest group.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 4:42 PM on March 22, 2007


But what's also possible is that he's just an internet troll.

either that, or an incoherent idiot

I an ignorant of Mensa's racial breakdown, but if it is 12% that would make them on par with the population, in relation to excellence, and I'm sure that we could perhaps agree that 12% of the population is not genius by many means, maybe we can't agree on that. I'm not a member of MENSA, that comment was only an innocent remark and not meant to show any superiority or anything. I am not politically correct and never will be, because I don't seek to be.

i rest my case
posted by pyramid termite at 4:58 PM on March 22, 2007


Now remember, just because he disagrees with you dosen't make him a troll. Just because he can't percieve the self-evident truth of your thoughts dosen't make him a liar, hard to believe as that is. But that's ok, keep on accusing him of lying about his race, their's nothing ironic about white person accusing someone of not being "really black."
posted by Snyder at 5:07 PM on March 22, 2007


Ah, I get it. You find it funny you're (acting like) a racist.

Sure. Well, actually I just find the discussion humorous, I don't think my positions here are racist. Let's review.

1) I think it's bad when a 14 year old girl goes to jail for 7 years, uppity bitch mom or no.
2) I oppose segregation
3) I oppose discrimination against minorities in hiring decisions.
4) I think that people who disagree on points 1, 2 and 3 are wrong, and should be ridiculed.

Do those four points make me racist?

Now, I think you meant that I was a racist because I thought it was unlikely that a black person would oppose points two and three. Not impossible, but unlikely. Generally even the most conservative blacks are against oppressing themselves. Clarence Thomas is one of the most conservative Supreme Court Justices, yet he supported a ban on Cross Burning, even though other conservatives disagreed.

90% of African Americans are democrats, and after Hurricane Katrina Bush's approval rating was only three percent Among African Americans. Is it Racist of me to point out the extreme political slant among African Americans? Those are just the facts, and G.N. already brought up the fact that Black people are supposedly more likely to commit crimes, etc. I would imagine that most black people would rather be thought of as liberals then criminals, but there I am making generalizations again. So which one of us is more racist? Me for saying black people are liberal and don't like to be discriminated against, or G.N. for claiming they're more likely to be criminals?
posted by delmoi at 5:08 PM on March 22, 2007


My race actually has it easier in the 21st century because of the welfare state.

You know, Clinton went through all the trouble of getting rid of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (a.k.a welfare) in 1996, but welfare opponents still rant about how black people have it so easy thanks to it.

I feel really bad about Gnostic Novelist's apparent inability to even the simplest addition and subtraction. I find such joy in mathematics, yet here he is thinking that 1957 was more then a hundred years ago, and that 1997 was less then 6 years ago (in the 21st century).

Gnostic, please get help with your innumeracy issues, being able to do simple math is really as important as reading in today's complex world!
posted by delmoi at 5:17 PM on March 22, 2007


Clarence Thomas is one of the most conservative Supreme Court Justices, yet he supported a ban on Cross Burning, even though other conservatives disagreed.

I am not sure of your point here. Perhaps you could elaborate.

90% of African Americans are democrats, and after Hurricane Katrina Bush's approval rating was only three percent Among African Americans. Is it Racist of me to point out the extreme political slant among African Americans?

Indeed, most African-Americans are Democrats, and indeed while most of the United States of America voted Republican, African-Americans disapproved of Bush, this is true amongst a variety of minority groups (right-wing or not). This goes back to my original point, it isn't about "Racism" as much as power and political views. Bush doesn't submit to certain lobbies and therefore his popularity was low amongst them in 2004 (and low amongst the general population in 2007 for different reasons). If he rejected the Israel lobby, no doubt, like many others, he would be considered an antisemite (a la Pat Buchanan). They key isn't pointing out that members of the "(insert minority) community agree with me or disagree with me, but actually discussing the merits/flaws of each issue. I happen to be a black who is bothered by the exploitation of working-class/poor white males and/or anyone else on the basis of race, this doesn't improve or disprove another person's position, but is just another opinion in the marketplace of opinions.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 5:19 PM on March 22, 2007


their's nothing ironic about white person accusing someone of not being "really black."

Hey, 我或许中国人,对你知道!。
posted by delmoi at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2007


And 23skidoo: Are you kidding? (I'm going to ignore the fact that you totally failed to read and comprehend my original statement that black people and white people have different experiences as citizens in America for reasons not solely related to pigment, and address what I think is your real issue.) You really think that a black person has the same experiences as an American as a white person? The SAME? The same reflection of themselves in popular culture? The same consideration for loan applications?

No, I read you original statement and I comprehended it. I also ignored it, because I agree with it. What I take issue with is the assumption that a black person can't possibly think the things that GN thinks, and the phrase "only a white person would...". Any person of any color can think anything they want.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:16 PM on March 22, 2007


What I take issue with is the assumption that a black person can't possibly think the things that GN thinks, and the phrase "only a white person would...". Any person of any color can think anything they want.

Do you agree with the following: 1) There is a correlation between ethnicity and political outlook in the united states, 2) people sometimes lie on the internet.

If not, what statement do you disagree with?
posted by delmoi at 6:32 PM on March 22, 2007


Fact: Only white people in America have the dominant culture.

While I will grant you that it is theoretically possible for a non-white person in America to be completely unaware of the fact that they are not part of the dominant culture (totally improbable as the suggestion is), I think it has always been and will continue to be almost exclusively the members of the dominant culture who will be able to be blissfully (and boisterously) ignorant of the fact that a dominant culture even exists, much less that they belong to it.

So, really, only a white person would dismiss the notion that race has any bearing on a person's experiences living in the USA (cause race is just a construct, maaaan.), because only a white person has the luxury of growing up thinking that they have neither a culture nor a race. Only that kind of privileged arrogance could assume that "Since A never happens to me, A must not really exist" is a statement with any validity at all.

Does that help explain what I was saying?
posted by mer2113 at 6:50 PM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you agree with the following: 1) There is a correlation between ethnicity and political outlook in the united states, 2) people sometimes lie on the internet.

If not, what statement do you disagree with?


I agree with both of those. I disagree with this:

3) In the absence of any verifiable information, if someone says something that is unlikely to be true, that person is probably lying, and 4) people who lie about things on the internet need to be exposed as liars.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:01 PM on March 22, 2007


So, really, only a white person would dismiss the notion that race has any bearing on a person's experiences living in the USA

There are people of every race who lead such priveleged and isolated lives that they cannot place themselves in someone else's shoes long enough to acknowledge that race would be a factor in how people treat each other.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:08 PM on March 22, 2007


Fact: Only white people in America have the dominant culture.

I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm at the mall food court, surrounded by white kids dressed like extras from Menace 2 Society.
posted by frogan at 7:58 PM on March 22, 2007


I do not enforce mer2113's theory of a "dominant culture" and soforth. It's my view that the civil rights acts of 1964, the ending of segregation, and so on, was a good thing, and that those who disagree should be objects of ridicule. I think this is a relatively uncontroversial view.
posted by delmoi at 10:00 PM on March 22, 2007


You're talking about a justice system that will send you away longer for weed than for rape in some states. Aside from the inherent racism, our justice system mets out the most ridiculous punishments.

If you want to look at the race card, though, this article from Steve Chapman illustrates it nicely.
posted by maryn at 11:10 PM on March 22, 2007


FWIW, I think delmoi's arguments in this thread have been sensible, levelheaded and clear, he's argued his points well and without hysteria, and I essentially agree with just about everything he's said. That is all.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:28 AM on March 23, 2007


My race actually has it easier in the 21st century because of the welfare state.

Do you mean easier than they (black people) had it in the 19th century (true, and kind of goes without saying IMO) or easier than white people have it today (so incredibly false it beggars the descriptive power of the word false).

White, black, or other, Gnostic Novelist is foremost a member of the saucer-eyed, infrapontine, goat-eating tribe of trolls.
posted by Mister_A at 7:06 AM on March 23, 2007


FWIW, I think delmoi's arguments in this thread have been sensible, levelheaded and clear, he's argued his points well and without hysteria, and I essentially agree with just about everything he's said. That is all.

Wow, thanks. :)
posted by delmoi at 10:18 AM on March 23, 2007


I do not enforce mer2113's theory of a "dominant culture" and soforth. It's my view that the civil

Er, I meant to say endorse not enforce Sorry.
posted by delmoi at 10:19 AM on March 23, 2007


Hey, 我或许中国人,对你知道!。

Nah, I really don't think you're Asian. You frame your arguments like a white person, so I think you're just going for minority cred.
posted by Snyder at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2007


firas,
ah, sorry to jump down your throat.
posted by andywolf at 12:14 PM on March 23, 2007


Do you mean easier than they (black people) had it in the 19th century (true, and kind of goes without saying IMO) or easier than white people have it today (so incredibly false it beggars the descriptive power of the word false).

Easier than Caucasians when controlled for class. Working class people and poor people are in similar boats and the race issue does nothing but increase hostility (understandably) that should be there. An average Joe, if he happens to be white, Christian and heterosexual, who is working-class/working poor, has to spend 8-10 hours a day working and the rest of the day getting blamed for things he had no hand in. He can be descended from a poor/working class background and could have spent his life working, working, and working harder and minding his own business, yet it is still lumped in with others as if he has some sort of priveleges.

On the other hand minorities, provided they aren't criminals, and have a level head, pretty much have a meal ticket to the middle class vis College. Many have took it up, Asians, Jews, and others who were outcasts and downtrodden a a couple of generations ago have built themselves up. This is a generalization of course, a stroll through many cities will show poverty knows no skin color.

And this idea of lumping all classes together on the basis of race grows more ludicrous by the day. The day-to-day struggles of a poor (insert minority) aren't going to be anything like the second generation descendants of the upper middle class/rich (insert minority).
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 1:32 PM on March 23, 2007


Edit: that shouldn't be there
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 1:33 PM on March 23, 2007


I would love to see your data, Gnostic Novelist. Unless the data are actually derived from your ass...

And do you really think there was affirmative action for jews in America? You really need to pass the pipe sometimes man. Puff, puff, pass.
posted by Mister_A at 4:56 PM on March 23, 2007


I would love to see your data, Gnostic Novelist. Unless the data are actually derived from your ass...

Data for what?
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 5:10 PM on March 23, 2007


On the other hand minorities, provided they aren't criminals, and have a level head, pretty much have a meal ticket to the middle class vis College.
No they don't. There aren't free city colleges anywhere anymore, unlike pre-1970s, and aid and grants are way way down all over.

And there are still quotas holding down Asians in many colleges, much like the ones that existed for Jews thru the 1/2 of the century. ... Many selective colleges before World War II had quotas on Jews. They turned down many brilliant applicants in favor of non-Jewish prep school students with lesser records. ... About 17 percent of Harvard undergraduates are Asians, who make up about 4 percent of the population. Since the percentage of Asian Americans at schools of comparable quality that do not practice affirmative action are much higher -- 40 percent at Berkeley, 50 percent at selective New York high schools such as Stuyvesant -- Chin says the Asian American percentage at Harvard and other Ivies would go up significantly if the rules were changed. ... He noted the recent estimate by Harvard humanities professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. that two thirds of blacks at Harvard were not descendants of American slaves, but the middle class children of relatively recent immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:30 PM on March 24, 2007




There aren't free city colleges anywhere anymore, unlike pre-1970s, and aid and grants are way way down all over.

There is no such thing as "free" there is a such thing as "at no cost to one person, but at the cost of another." If one has good credit then aid will be easier to obtain. A meal ticket =/= no variable cost. Admissions are key and minorities are not denied for being minorities unless it comes at the cost of admitting other minorities. There is no reason a student can't work at a job at save for college or pay as he/she goes along. I know this isn't a popular opinion in America where "study and get drunk" seems to be the philosophy of so many students. College shouldn't be free in the first place, these are not kids who don't know any better, these are legal adults who are to be held responsible for their decisions in life (have to start somewhere). I don't doubt some people would love to live the live of a post-grad, as long as they didn't have to work a real job and pay for their education.

There is nothing stopping someone who works hard from getting an education. People have been bending over backwards the last 35 years to make sure of it. This doesn't mean people should or do get a free lunch because their ancestors had it hard. Heck, everyone's ancestors had it hard at some point.

And there are still quotas holding down Asians in many colleges

Quotas have to hold down someone, there is no free lunch. If admission is limited and there are quotas, people will be denied who would have otherwise been admitted.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 8:42 PM on March 24, 2007


Why are people feeding the trolls? I said it way up in comment #4 and it bears repeating with more force: anybody who claims that once you account for class there are no racial problems in America is simply wrong and is likely a troll who deserves nothing better than to be ridiculed and then ignored.

Talking about college and affirmative action is beyond ludicrous, it's pathological. GN, get help. Everyone else, take action to help Shaquanda. Trollish threadjacking in the face of such a tragedy is pathetic, smallminded, and repulsive. And yes, this is a tragedy, her life sounds miserable. This is a miscarriage of justice.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:10 PM on March 24, 2007


Why are people feeding the trolls? I said it way up in comment #4 and it bears repeating with more force: anybody who claims that once you account for class there are no racial problems in America is simply wrong and is likely a troll who deserves nothing better than to be ridiculed and then ignored.

Talking about college and affirmative action is beyond ludicrous, it's pathological. GN, get help. Everyone else, take action to help Shaquanda. Trollish threadjacking in the face of such a tragedy is pathetic, smallminded, and repulsive. And yes, this is a tragedy, her life sounds miserable. This is a miscarriage of justice.


How is this different form the messages of all ideologues? Billions of people are religious, and of course religious views are not debatable to the majority in the same way the evils of capitalism are not debatable to a majority of communists/Marxists, or the evils of Marxism are not debatable to American Libertarians. No wonder problems persist in this world. So many people fence off their own views under the banner of ,"This is truth and facts are that my truth is undebatable." Which is interesting since those very same people don't look at what was "trollish" and "undebatable" 50 years ago, 100 years ago, centuries ago (i.e. whatever isn't the majority into which I fit is trollish and laughable, HA!HA!). It's easy to be cocksure in a forum in which isn't religious/political and/or agrees with you.

I look and the world and see that is imperfect and hellish for some. Anyone who is cocksure in a world like that should objectively look into a mirror. No doubt most people look into a mirror and say: "I'm right, the other people are stupid/idiots/trolls/racists/morons/nazis/child molestors/ etc
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 9:55 PM on March 24, 2007


There is nothing stopping someone who works hard from getting an education. People have been bending over backwards the last 35 years to make sure of it.

That's not true. Aids and grants and bills and funding were much more of a priority in the past, and as i said before, city college systems were free for decades and decades. And Lack of state and local funding is the biggest challenge facing U.S. community colleges nowadays. And Needy Students Got Less Scholarship Money.
posted by amberglow at 9:00 AM on March 26, 2007


Fact: Only white people in America have the dominant culture.
---
I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm at the mall food court, surrounded by white kids dressed like extras from Menace 2 Society.
posted by frogan



Can you say "co-opted"? It's not like for every hoodie bought by some white kid from the suburbs a black angel gets his wings. Outside of a select few, the people making money off of co-opted black culture are white men. It's the "beauty" of capitalism: it can take anything, even those things originally dreamt up as resistance, and convert it into consumer crap that you simply MUST have or you won't be complete. And this is why it is impossible -- and probably detrimental -- to try to look at anything as a "race" issue or a "gender" issue or whatever... race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, all these issues are indelibly wrapped up in one big cultural gumbo.
posted by papakwanz at 5:36 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Indelibly? Oh fucking stupid me.
Inextricably.
posted by papakwanz at 11:26 PM on March 26, 2007


all these issues are indelibly wrapped up in one big cultural gumbo.

mmmmm... gumbo!

inextricable gumbo!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:58 AM on March 27, 2007


Interesting related thing about social mobility and opportunity: ...Social mobility is in decline. The children of those on top now stay on top; the children of those on the bottom stay on the bottom. Reversing the post-WWII trends, the proportion of students at top colleges coming from poor families is dropping. Only 3% of students at selective colleges come from families in the bottom quarter of income earners; 74% come from the top quarter.
The question is whether this developing crisis is due to economic barriers or cultural barriers. Did Jews move up because of unions that made working-class jobs pay middle-class wages, free public universities, and the GI Bill, or because of their tradition of literacy and learning? ...

posted by amberglow at 8:22 PM on March 27, 2007




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