Chittlin's and Chopsticks

Writer and mother, Terris McMahan Grimes, the Mother From Another Continent, an her friends share their slighty off kilter parenting views and their takes on a whole lot of other things.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hundreds March to Free Shaquanda Cotton

Chanting "No justice! No peace! close to one hundred (I orginally wrote "hundreds" marched, but a Paris reader pointed out that the number of marchers was less) Paris, Texas residents, members of Millions More Movement, and New Black Panther Party marched on Paris Independent School District Administration building Monday afternoon.
The march was in support of Shaquanda Cotton, who was given an indeterminate sentenced in youth prison for shoving a hall monitor at her high school.

Read the complete story by Josh Edwards in The Paris News .


At 3/19/2007 11:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article says about 100 protestors marched. It looked like less to me.

Your claim of hundreds is a little missleading, don't you think?

At 3/20/2007 12:07 AM , Blogger Mother said...

Thank you. I may have misread the article. Wishful thinking.

At 3/20/2007 2:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem. Seems like an honest mistake. Thank you for the correction.

At 3/23/2007 3:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gained knowledge of case surrounding S. Cotton today. No need for me to know all the facts but she was sentenced to 7 years for shoving a hall monitor. How is the judge sleeping at night? How well is the hall monitor sleeping tonight? God stood up, because many people are praying and pulling data and additional cases of such--in Paris, Texas. Paris, Texas God has just shone His spotlight on your hearts. He is about to perform Spiritual Heart Surgery on many. I pray you each will repent, and do what is right in the eyes of the LORD. Now your heart condition will become national NEWS! I pray that many many will gather to seek justice in Paris, Texas for this young student. I am glad to hear that no one is dead, stabbed, shot or was killed. 7 years is right on time for the year 2007. Shame on you Paris, Texas!

At 3/23/2007 3:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous who said "Shame on you, Paris, Texas!":

The people of Paris, Texas are not responsible for this. Shame on you for generalizing and painting the whole town with your broad racism brush.

* * * * *

As a fairly 1990s-era graduate of Paris High, and a student for eleven years in Paris ISD schools, I am dismayed by the negative publicity this case has brought to Paris, a place I certainly hold no special love for, having spent as much time as possible, since my graduation, elsewhere. As in other small towns, we have our share of petty elitists; and Paris has pIenty of qualities I don't particularly like. Institutional racism, however, is not among them.

I say this as a proud liberal; as someone who has herself participated in public protests for civil rights. I would not deny the protesters the right to speak publicly, wherever and in whatever form they desire, but I would also like to exercise my right to disagree with the nuances of their complaint and tactics.

Beyond what has been printed in the Paris News and the Chicago Tribune, I am not familiar with the details of Miss Cotton's case. I have no opinion thus far as to whether Judge Superville's ruling was "out of proportion", as the protesters claim; though, based on his reputation in the community at large, I would err on the side of caution and refrain from making such claims, and certainly would not, at some protesters apparently did, say that he belongs in Huntsville. To equate a widely-respected judge with our state's most violent criminals, based on the as yet publicly unknown complexities of a single case, is truly out of proportion.

I was also told by several observers that some of the protesters were calling for separate schools. Have they no shame? Thousands of courageous Americans, probably including some of their own parents and grandparents, worked and protested - risked their lives, even - to ensure equal access to free, quality public education in the South. I am proud to have attended an integrated public high school with a significant black population; I would not want to attend a segregated school, and it is disgraceful for some of the protesters to call for such a thing.

Likewise, I am ashamed of my fellow Parisians for the irresponsible insults they hurled at Paul Trull and Robert High. These two educators were, among others, the backbone of the system that provided me with an enviable education; both of these men have spent countless unpaid, unthanked hours ensuring that the children of Paris have the broadest opportunities possible within the admittedly disordered priorities of the state Legislature and the patently inane demands of the No Child Left Behind Act. Mr. Trull and Mr. High personally made a difference in my life and the lives of literally thousands of other PISD students, of all ethnicities. To call Mr. High a "sell-out Negro" is especially offensive. This totally unjustified treatment of a true hero of the community is not only a slap in the face to someone who has spent his professional life trying to lift up all students, but provides a disincentive to achievement to our black children. Likewise, these invectives do not serve the protesters' cause, but, rather, make reasonable, sympathetic people like myself less likely to take them seriously and join them in their protest.

The Chicago Tribune article smacked of do-good-ism, the brave Yankee journalist exposing the racism of East Texas, laughable in its simple stereotyping. I find this personally offensive, as I have travelled around the world and found - to my dismay - that discrimination exists everywhere, in many guises, and using as many excuses. There are racists in Lamar County, certainly; but there are as many in Chicago. And they are not confined to a single race.

I suspect the details of this case are more complex than most of us, including most of the protesters, and certainly the Chicago Tribune, know. For a large group of people to be so ready to play the race card and accuse our public servants of institutional racism is, indeed, out of proportion. In the original Tribune article, the reporter, predictably, began by harking back to the dark days of our past, relating the lynchings that occured at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds to Miss Cotton's case. This shows their deficit of basic research; most of us (and I hope the self-styled civil rights protesters foremost!) know that one of the most infamous lynchings in American history happened on February 1, 1893, on the site of today's Paris High School campus. After the rally of a white mob at the Lamar County Courthouse, Henry Smith, a black man, was brutally burnt, tortured with hot pokers, and hanged, all in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 of spectators. Surely if the Tribune reporter had been aware of this heinous crime against humanity, he would have included it to bolster his case; that he did not points to the fact that he does not have a firm grasp on our history, or of the dynamics in Lamar County. I suspect most of those protesters who came from out-of-state are also underinformed. Regardless, though it may well be an example of the failures of the Legislature's policies regarding juvenile delinquency and highlight the truly scandalous state of the Texas Youth Commission, to equate Miss Cotton's case with what happened to Mr. Smith in 1893 is, also, out of proportion.

It is my fervent hope that any state or federal review or investigation of Miss Cotton's case will be fair and impartial; likewise, I hope that Miss Cotton is afforded her Constitutionally-mandated right to due process and is able to overcome her personal difficulties, be they state- or family-imposed. But, mostly, I hope reason can reign over Paris, and the majority of Parisians, black and white (and other colors) can agree to make unity and justice their goals, and to proceed together to provide a solid, broad, and diverse education to our children.

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." - Frederick Douglass

At 3/24/2007 11:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I've lived here all my life, and I don't see that. 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."

Mary Ann Fisher - Paris City Council/Mayor Pro Tem

At 3/25/2007 7:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aah the case is not that complex, white teens murder and and burn down houses and get probation, blacks who may have shoved a white gets seven years.

At 3/25/2007 11:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one committed a murder and got probation. No one burned down houses (plural) and got probation. No one "may have shoved" someone. It happened, by the girl's own admission. This post is the kind of innaccurate crap that Paris is having to contend with. Something like this is posted on a blog and every Tom, Dick, and Harry who reads it thinks it's the gospel truth.

This incident has taught me two things:

1. To be skeptical of what is being reported by the media.

2. It's sad how many people are willing to jump to conclusions and level serious accusations without first feeling the need to explore all of the facts of a situation.

At 3/28/2007 1:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

SHE WAS NOT SENTENCED TO 7 YRS! SHE WAS OFFERED PROBATION AND HER MOTHER DECLINED IT! She would be out by now but she refuses to acknowledge that her admitted attack on the school personnel was wrong! She is in charge of her own release date. Foster care was not an option because the mother presented the judge with other relatives as options for her care.

At 7/10/2007 1:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Updates on Shaquanda Cotton?s Case. New this week (July 9, 2007) interview with Cotton?s Mother Creola Cotton, Brenda Cherry and more. Plus updates on Ginarlow Wilson case (GA). or find archive at


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