Saturday, February 14, 2009

Race problems are "not as big as we think"

Check out this excellent, quite troubling article by the New York Times' James C McKinley Jr. As the article reports, already terrible race relations in the town of Paris, Texas have been inflamed by the recent murder of a black man by two white friends of his. Brandon McLelland was struck by a pickup truck and dragged 40 feet before he died; the two accused initially lied to investigators and still deny their involvement.
The article is a rude, brutal awakening from the daydreams of racial harmony that have pervaded our media since Barack Obama's election.

his gruesome death has reignited ugly feelings between races that have plagued this small town for generations, going back to the days 100 years ago when it was the scene of brutal public lynchings. Blacks complain that the justice system is tilted against them; whites complain about the crime, teenage pregnancy and drug use ravaging black neighborhoods.

[Isn't it wild that white people are allowed to complain about horrific living conditions in black neighborhoods? As if that's some kind of retort against accusations of institutional racism? Black people say, "There's institutional racism." White people say, "Yeah, well, your neighborhoods suck!" Presumed response from black people: "Yeah, we know, ass holes."]

Mr. McClelland’s death comes a year after another incident stirred up accusations of racism here. Shaquanda Cotton, a 14-year-old black girl, was sentenced by Judge Superville to juvenile prison after she shoved a hall monitor into a wall. Three months earlier, Judge Superville had sentenced a 14-year-old white girl to probation for burning down her family’s house.National civil rights groups protested what they called the unequal and harsh treatment of Miss Cotton, who spent a year in a West Texas juvenile prison.

Here's what mayor has to say:

The mayor of Paris, Jesse James Freelen, who is white, dismissed such complaints as the result of “a lack of communication.” He pointed out that the town previously elected a black mayor and now had a black mayor pro tem.

“Once we start communicating,” Mr. Freelen said, “I believe we will find out the problems we believe we have are not as big as we think.”

Communicating? Yikes. And we wonder why people start burning shit.

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