14 year old black girl sentenced to 7 years in prison

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14 year old black girl sentenced to 7 years in prison

Unread post by 'X' » March 21st, 2007, 9:28 pm

14 year old black girl sentenced to 7 years in prison

To some in Paris, sinister past is back
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.'

By Howard Witt
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PARIS, Texas -- The public fairgrounds in this small east Texas town look ordinary enough, like so many other well-worn county fair sites across the nation. Unless you know the history of the place.

There are no plaques or markers to denote it, but several of the most notorious public lynchings of black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were staged at the Paris Fairgrounds, where thousands of white spectators would gather to watch and cheer as black men were dragged onto a scaffold, scalded with hot irons and finally burned to death or hanged.


Brenda Cherry, a local civil rights activist, can see the fairgrounds from the front yard of her modest home, in the heart of the "black" side of this starkly segregated town of 26,000. And lately, Cherry says, she's begun to wonder whether the racist legacy of those lynchings is rebounding in a place that calls itself "the best small town in Texas."

"Some of the things that happen here would not happen if we were in Dallas or Houston," Cherry said. "They happen because we are in this closed town. I compare it to 1930s."

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.

There are the Paris public schools, which are under investigation by the U.S. Education Department after repeated complaints that administrators discipline black students more frequently, and more harshly, than white students.

And then there is the case that most troubles Cherry and leaders of the Texas NAACP, involving a 14-year-old black freshman, Shaquanda Cotton, who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun.

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 on a public servant" and sentenced by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to prison for up to 7 years, until she turns 21.

Just three months earlier, Superville sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family's house, to probation.

"All Shaquanda did was grab somebody and she will be in jail for 5 or 6 years?" said Gary Bledsoe, an Austin attorney who is president of the state NAACP branch. "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."

The Tribune generally does not identify criminal suspects younger than age 17, but is doing so in this case because the girl and her family have chosen to go public with their story.

None of the officials involved in Shaquanda's case, including the local prosecutor, the judge and Paris school district administrators, would agree to speak about their handling of it, citing a court appeal under way.

But the teen's defenders assert that long before the September 2005 shoving incident, Paris school officials targeted Shaquanda for scrutiny because her mother had frequently accused school officials of racism.

Retaliation alleged

"Shaquanda started getting written up a lot after her mother became involved in a protest march in front of a school," said Sharon Reynerson, an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid, who has represented Shaquanda during challenges to several of the disciplinary citations she received. "Some of the write-ups weren't fair to her or accurate, so we felt like we had to challenge each one to get the whole story."

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.

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.

Nor does Shaquanda herself deny that she pushed the hall monitor after the teacher's aide refused her permission to enter the school before the morning bell--although Shaquanda maintains that she was supposed to have been allowed to visit the school nurse to take her medication, and that the teacher's aide pushed her first.

But Cherry alleges that Shaquanda's frequent disciplinary write-ups, and the insistence of school officials at her trial that she deserved prison rather than probation for the shoving incident, fits in a larger pattern of systemic discrimination against black students in the Paris Independent School District.

In the past five years, black parents have filed at least a dozen discrimination complaints against the school district with the federal Education Department, asserting that their children, who constitute 40 percent of the district's nearly 4,000 students, were singled out for excessive discipline.



An attorney for the school district, Dennis Eichelbaum, said the Education Department had determined all of the complaints to be unfounded.

"The [department] has explained that the school district has not and does not discriminate, that the school district has been a leader and very progressive when it comes to race relations, and that there was no validity to the allegations made by the complainants," Eichelbaum said.

Not so clear

But the federal investigations of the school district are not so clear-cut, and they are not finished. In one 2004 finding, Education Department officials determined that black students at a Paris middle school were being written up for disciplinary infractions more than twice as often as white students--and eight times as often in one category, "class disruption."

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 in April 2006, the Education Department notified Paris school officials that it was opening a new, comprehensive review to determine "whether the district discriminated against African-American students on the basis of race" between 2004 and 2006. Federal officials say that investigation is still in progress.

According to one veteran Paris teacher, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, such discrimination is widespread.

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

Not everyone in Paris agrees, however, that blacks are treated unfairly by the city's institutions.

"I've lived here all my life, and I don't see that," said Mary Ann Reed Fisher, one of two black members of the Paris City Council. "My kids went to Paris High School, and they never had one minute of a problem with the school system, the courts or the police."

A peculiar inmate

Meanwhile, Shaquanda, a first-time offender, remains something of an anomaly inside the Texas Youth Commission prison system, where officials say 95 percent of the 2,500 juveniles in their custody are chronic, serious offenders who already have exhausted county-level programs such as probation and local treatment or detention.

"The Texas Youth Commission is reserved for those youth who are most violent or most habitual," said commission spokesman Tim Savoy. "The whole concept of commitment until your 21st birthday should be recognized as a severe penalty, and that's why it's typically the last resort of the juvenile system in Texas."

Inside the youth prison in Brownwood where she has been incarcerated for the past 10 months--a prison currently at the center of a state scandal involving a guard who allegedly sexually abused teenage inmates--Shaquanda, who is now 15, says she has not been doing well.

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."

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Unread post by 'X' » March 21st, 2007, 9:35 pm

Yep good ole america has changed so much right? Justice is given so evenly today unlike in the past right?

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Unread post by dont_fear » March 22nd, 2007, 3:33 am

We are living in 21st slavery and black people need to wake up and start to get our minds together, stopping the genocide that goes on today and educate ourselves is the way to break the chains.
A lot of these people are sub-humans and evil so you cannot trust them to be fair.

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Unread post by Black Top » March 22nd, 2007, 7:02 am

then people wonder why we on some fuck ya'll shit! for real the community gotta stop layin down and lettin this shit slide.

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Unread post by johnnnny » March 22nd, 2007, 7:52 am

America is fucked up i hate the country and the people, no lies i hate you fuckers :D . Fuck America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-we have whites using the law and justice against blacks to put them down
For example this article

-then you have blacks going around raping and killing whites. Cause they filled with hate towards a race of people of a certain color, cause the stupid fucks in charge are just that stupid. For example when hurricane katrina destroyed new orleans i was reading that white people who risked there lives to help the folks there were being targeted for murder. And that the "FEW" whites in the refugee camps were threatened with murder....
-To be totally honest no one in america is getting the message
-Plain and Simple you fucking stupid americans arent learning shit

i hope that cleared up some things :D

The sooner americans stop killing each other the sooner you guys will realize that its the government whose fucking you all up

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Unread post by johnnnny » March 22nd, 2007, 8:01 am

-i dont see anyone talking about america's actions outside of america so heres a reminder of what americans are doing outside of america. You guys always fighting with yourselves but you forget what you are doing outside of america.

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Heres a mom whose SO PROUD HER SON FOUGHT FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. Wow....

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Unread post by EmperorPenguin » March 22nd, 2007, 8:40 am

What's sad as well is that this story is over a year old and it's just getting attention now.

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Unread post by johnnnny » March 22nd, 2007, 9:00 am

WHATS EVEN SADDER IS THAT AMERICA WILL NEVER LEARN!!!!!

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Unread post by dont_fear » March 22nd, 2007, 12:10 pm

The whole system in America is fucked up, thats why the mexicans and other minorities have this hatred towards blacks
They have been brain washed by the evil government of the so called the best country in the world, no wonder there is so much ignorance in the USA, everyone thinks they are the best.
America a big fucking joke.

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Unread post by se11 » March 22nd, 2007, 1:02 pm

dont_fear wrote:The whole system in America is #%@& up, thats why the mexicans and other minorities have this hatred towards blacks
They have been brain washed by the evil government of the so called the best country in the world, no wonder there is so much ignorance in the USA, everyone thinks they are the best.
America a big #%@&#%@ joke.
are you talking about mexicans in mexico, and minorities over seas? or are you talking about mexican-americans?

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Unread post by northsidehtown » March 22nd, 2007, 4:27 pm

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT ?

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Unread post by Sentenza » March 22nd, 2007, 4:36 pm

WTF is wrong with those people?

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Unread post by Sentenza » March 22nd, 2007, 4:38 pm

Id like to give a signal to those Redneck fuckers.

MiChuhSuh

Unread post by MiChuhSuh » March 22nd, 2007, 4:56 pm

that's some cold BS... has there been an appeal filed?

MiChuhSuh

Unread post by MiChuhSuh » March 22nd, 2007, 4:56 pm

nevermind just saw it

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Unread post by Aquafresh » March 25th, 2007, 12:04 pm

Ya'll know I'm from & reside in Texas & I can say for a fact that Paris, TX is one of the most racists city's in the state.

It's a felony to "assualt" a teacher; but 1) there was not enough evidence to show that the girl PUSHED that bitch first. 2) SEVEN MUTHAFUCCIN' YEARS!! Give me a break.....

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Unread post by johnnnny » March 25th, 2007, 12:06 pm

Aquafresh wrote:Ya'll know I'm from & reside in Texas & I can say for a fact that Paris, TX is one of the most racists city's in the state.

It's a felony to "assualt" a teacher; but 1) there was not enough evidence to show that the girl PUSHED that bitch first. 2) SEVEN MUTHAFUCCIN' YEARS!! Give me a break.....
wasnt stevie ray vaughn from oak cliff, texas??

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Unread post by Aquafresh » March 25th, 2007, 12:12 pm

DID I MENTION THAT THE HEAD OF THE PARIS, TX NAACP DIVISION IS A CAUCASIAN WOMAN :?

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Unread post by Aquafresh » March 25th, 2007, 12:15 pm

WHO is stevie ray vaughn & WHAT does he/she have to do with this topic :P

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Unread post by johnnnny » March 25th, 2007, 12:15 pm

im just asking :lol: , i have a question ill pm you

NikexCortez

Unread post by NikexCortez » March 25th, 2007, 12:40 pm

MiChuhSuh wrote:that's some cold BS... has there been an appeal filed?
was there an appeal? if not they should get a lawyer and sue them dirty rich cracka ma fuckaz.

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Unread post by A Ghost » March 25th, 2007, 2:59 pm

johnnnny wrote:-then you have blacks going around raping and killing whites.
Thats not true, the majority of the crimes in America are intra-racial. That means crimes are commited against people of the same race.
'X' wrote:Yep good ole america has changed so much right? Justice is given so evenly today unlike in the past right?
well you see there is no such thing as a biased criminal justice system in America. This is 2007 there's no more racism and just like se11 said in the immigration thread, you have nothing to complain about. At least you're alive right.








(please note the obvious sarcasm)

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Unread post by justice league » March 26th, 2007, 9:17 am

Aquafresh wrote:WHO is stevie ray vaughn & WHAT does he/she have to do with this topic :P

detvie ray Vaughn is a dead blues musician (white) and I bet the implication is that there is at least one decent person from Texas...

I think Texas is an anomoly and not at all natural and people from Texas should stop claiming being a part of america,,, unless they want to claim Arkansas, then they can have their own little icky government, full of the lamest of the lame..


here's something.

Texas Prisons have a 70% mortality rate... and thats all races.
70%!! that's a lot of dead convicts.

I wanna know what the family did with their horrid little arsonistic brat? I would think they would not let her back in the house.. If it were me anyway... as a parent I would demand more than a repremand.. I would insist a lengthy lockup... and a lot of psyche evals.

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Unread post by 'X' » March 31st, 2007, 5:38 pm

Shaquanda Cotton going home early
By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
Published March 31, 2007

HOUSTON -- Shaquanda Cotton, the black teenager in the small east Texas town of Paris whose prison sentence of up to 7 years for shoving a teacher's aide sparked nationwide controversy, will be released Saturday morning, prison officials confirmed on Friday.

Her release, ordered by a special conservator appointed to overhaul the state's scandal-ridden juvenile prison system, is the first of what could be hundreds as a panel of civil rights leaders begins reviewing the sentences of every youth incarcerated by the Texas Youth Commission to weed out those being held arbitrarily.


"We have no confidence in the system that was in place," said Jim Hurley, spokesman for the conservator, Jay Kimbrough. "And this case is an example of what we expect to happen if something wrong has been done to youths being held inside that system."

Cotton, who is 15, had no prior criminal record when she was incarcerated a year ago under an indeterminate sentence that could have lasted until her 21st birthday. Her case rose to national prominence and became the focus of ongoing civil rights protests after a March 12 Tribune story detailed how a 14-year-old white girl convicted of the more serious crime of arson was sentenced to probation by the same judge.

Cotton's case occurred against a backdrop of persistent allegations of racial discrimination inside the Paris public schools -- allegations that are the subject of a continuing probe by the U.S. Department of Education to determine whether black students in the district are disciplined more harshly than whites.

"When I learned about this case, I thought, this just looks so bad and smells so bad it made me hurt," said state Rep. Harold Dutton, the influential chairman of the Texas Legislature's juvenile justice committee. "I told [prison officials] I wanted her out of there immediately."

The superintendent of the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood, Texas, where Shaquanda Cotton is being held, called the girl's mother, Creola Cotton, Friday afternoon and told her she could come pick up the youth, Creola Cotton said.

But because it is a five-hour drive from Paris to Brownwood, and the weather in the area on Friday was severe, Creola Cotton said she couldn't reach the prison until Saturday morning.

Later Friday, prison officials, who had not told Shaquanda of her impending release, allowed her to call her mother.


'She nearly fell on the floor'

"She thought they were bringing her to the office to tell her I was not going to be able to visit this weekend like I was planning because of the bad weather, so she was already crying," Creola Cotton said. "I said, 'Oh, I'm still gonna come see you tomorrow. But you're going to be coming home with me.' She nearly fell on the floor."

Officials said Shaquanda Cotton was being released on 60 days' probation to allow her to access state health and counseling services. But after that, she would be completely free, they said. Creola Cotton said her daughter would not return to the Paris public schools but would pursue her GED at home.

What effect her release might have on the pending legal appeal of the youth's case was unclear.

Since she has been in prison, Shaquanda Cotton said that she had grown despondent surrounded by other youths who were hardened criminals, and that she had tried to commit suicide. Her sentence, which ultimately was up to the discretion of prison officials, had twice been extended, first because she would not admit her guilt as required by prison regulations and then because she was found with "contraband" in her cell -- an extra pair of socks.

Those sentence extensions drew the attention of Kimbrough, who was confirmed by the state Senate on Thursday as conservator of the youth prison system, which has been rocked by a sex scandal over allegations that guards and administrators coerced inmates for sex.

Kimbrough, a former deputy attorney general, said last week that he was convening a special committee to examine the sentences of all 4,700 youths in Texas juvenile prisons to determine how many might have had their sentences unfairly extended by prison authorities -- and that Shaquanda Cotton's was the first case he intended to review.

Prison officials said it was Kimbrough who personally ordered the girl's release on Friday.

Since the Tribune's first account of Shaquanda Cotton's case, her story has been circulated on more than 400 Internet blogs and featured in newspapers and radio and TV reports across the country. Two protests demanding her release were held in Paris and a third, to be led by Rev. Al Sharpton, was scheduled for Tuesday.

Even before news of her impending release broke Friday, the Lamar County District Attorney's office, which prosecuted her and pressed for her to be sent to prison for up to 7 years, made an abrupt turnaround and said the youth had served enough time and ought to be freed.


Court discrepancy revealed

"Let her out of TYC," said Allan Hubbard, spokesman for Lamar County District Atty. Gary Young. "Hell, she's done a year for pushing a teacher. That's too long."

Hubbard also backed away from claims he and Young made this week in numerous media interviews that the judge in the case, Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville, had had no choice but to send the youth to prison because her mother had testified that she would not cooperate with probation officials had the judge sentenced the teen to probation.

On Thursday, Young's official Web site contained this assertion: "This juvenile's mother (Creola Cotton) told the judge she would not comply with conditions of probation."

But a review of the full court transcript shows no such testimony. In fact, Creola Cotton repeatedly answered "yes" when asked in court whether she would comply with any conditions of probation that the judge might impose.

On Friday morning, after an inquiry about this discrepancy by the Tribune, the district attorney's Web site was altered to read: "Through her actions of non-cooperation, Ms. Cotton told the judge she would not comply with conditions of probation."

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Unread post by LcBwC » March 31st, 2007, 6:26 pm

This is most def a wake up call to those who think that America has changed so much. People try as hard as possible to act like the struggle for African Americans is gone, its not.

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Unread post by northsidehtown » April 2nd, 2007, 1:04 pm

what can we do ,almost no i do feel a weakness or some sort of lacking .I know one man cant save the world ,but what do we do in situations like this i mean this is the web im in texas and didnt even know about this we see we have the power to communicate now lets collaborate or give ideas for action not just in this incidents but ones to come . ok we sceen this and said aw man thats focked up, it is. so what do we DO now

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Unread post by 'X' » April 2nd, 2007, 5:25 pm

northsidehtown wrote: what can we do
The one thing we and they are afraid of, UNITE!
northsidehtown wrote: i mean this is the web im in texas and didnt even know about this
Amazing at what you dooesnt pushed in the media in regards to our people huh?
northsidehtown wrote: we see we have the power to communicate now lets collaborate or give ideas for action not just in this incidents but ones to come . ok we sceen this and said aw man thats focked up, it is. so what do we DO now

I feel you, but again I stress, until we collectively as a whole UNITE, nothing will change. Our UNITY has to be the first step...


Peace

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Unread post by perongregory » April 2nd, 2007, 7:11 pm

'X' wrote:
northsidehtown wrote: what can we do
The one thing we and they are afraid of, UNITE!
northsidehtown wrote: i mean this is the web im in texas and didnt even know about this
Amazing at what you dooesnt pushed in the media in regards to our people huh?
northsidehtown wrote: we see we have the power to communicate now lets collaborate or give ideas for action not just in this incidents but ones to come . ok we sceen this and said aw man thats focked up, it is. so what do we DO now

I feel you, but again I stress, until we collectively as a whole UNITE, nothing will change
. Our UNITY has to be the first step...


Peace
X got it, It's kinda like when the Hyskos (indo-European foreigners) invaded Egypt and subjugated the peopple, The kushites (The Egyptians' fellow black Africans -but also there enemies) came from the south, and in solidarity kicked out the hyskos with they brothas. Then the Egyptians got back on that BS fightin they own people over some nationalistic BS. We got to come together...the ants together slowly take down the elephant.

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Unread post by Black_Kingz86 » April 3rd, 2007, 3:28 pm

Time and time again Amerikkka proves they dont give a crap about us , and think were dirt then u still got theses uncle house slave niggaz talking that amerikkan patriotic crap , i wish black pplz will wake up and realize Amerikkka doesn love u , UNITE AMONGST OURSELVES , AND SEPERATE FROM THESES WHITE BABYLONIAN SOCIETIES!!!!

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Unread post by king phoenix » April 3rd, 2007, 5:33 pm

as i sat here reading the article and the replies, i became enraged! but i was more upset that i couldnt think of a serious solution! now what x said is right, we need to unite. but what does that really mean? and unite with who? see the problem is that we all classify, forgettin that the "white man" isnt just white! shit the way i see it. condeleeza rice is the "white man" too! the "white man" is an super upper class society that suppress the rest of the population into submisson! divide and conquer, it work then and it sure as hell works now, and untill blacks and hispanics stop killing one another, and we stop lookin at the low class white people as enemies when they might be more inclined to help than a upscale blackman! then and only then can we unite!!!!!!!
shit i feel like Martin Luther King after writing that! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Unread post by perongregory » April 3rd, 2007, 5:57 pm

I dont know, I mean we would have to unite around an ideology, a belief system, but too much of the time the lower class white man does the dirty work of the upper class white man, and thats beat our asses. Only if you were able to stop the benefits whites see they have over being non-white, mentally, spiritually, economically, etc. could the poor white man, get along with minorities.

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Unread post by king phoenix » April 3rd, 2007, 6:15 pm

perongregory wrote:I dont know, I mean we would have to unite around an ideology, a belief system, but too much of the time the lower class white man does the dirty work of the upper class white man, and thats beat our asses. Only if you were able to stop the benefits whites see they have over being non-white, mentally, spiritually, economically, etc. could the poor white man, get along with minorities.

now see im loving you for this! you disagree but you have a theory or a solid opionion to back it up with! and i feel you, you might be right! but honestly i feel that unless we end racism on our end we can never win! and the reason why is becuase every race has those who are full of it! and most of the time when i hear other "brothers" talking that black power shit it sounds stupid, especially when these is some of the same dudes out killin other blacks! so what i suggest is that we ride with who ever wants to ride with us(minorities) not just those who looks like us!

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