March 31, 2007

Shaquanda Cotton Freed

I will bet you $100 that there are no 14 year old white children with no priors serving 7 year sentences for pushing a hall monitor. Because they're 14, you know, their judgement and self control leave something to be desired. That's why we don't let them drive.

But today, gladly, after the release of Shaquanda Cotton, there will also be no black children in that circumstance. Shaquanda had her 15th birthday in a cell, because someone in their infinite wisdom figured that a temperamental black teenager posed an immediate danger to society that her temperamental white peers did not.

... Cotton's struggle against authorities in this small northeast Texas town focuses on a single thread: how a black teenager with no prior criminal history was sent to prison for what her supporters say was a mere brush-up against a teacher's aide, while a white classmate was given probation for burning down her family's rental property by setting a Christmas tree on fire. ...

And she was a sock smuggler, too. So I can see why authorities were concerned. Nonetheless, considering that her sentence may have been partly motivated by dislike of the girl's uppity mother, it seems hardly fair. Perhaps they should have jailed her mother, instead. Jayzus.

I suppose it's a good day when a flood of media and blog attention can actually push the system back towards justice. It would be a better day if the system was fair all on its own, even when no one was looking.

Posted by natasha at March 31, 2007 10:09 AM | Race | Technorati links |

The part of this that boggles my mind is that the altercation she was jailed for started when the teacher's aide refused to let her go to the nurse's office to get her ADHD medication.

The child was attempting to manage her cognitive deficits, for crying out loud, and she got a seven year sentence for what most likely would be tried as a misdemeanor if a drunken adult had done it.

Posted by: julia at March 31, 2007 12:32 PM

Yeah, that was wild. Because I can't relate at all to the thought process behind, 'no, you can't go to the nurse's office to get your prescription psychiatric medication.' That's just crazy talk. It's saying no just because you can, not because you have a good reason, which is just the sort of thing that drives kids up a wall.

Also, the socks thing was disturbing. What's wrong with having extra socks, anyway? I have a whole drawer full. I once bought extra socks during a busy week at work so I could hold off doing laundry. Just, very strange.

Posted by: natasha at March 31, 2007 07:41 PM