What does this have to do with dating?
The Story of Shaquanda Cotton
And you thought the doll test was hard to watch...
One girl burns down a house, one shoves a teacher's aid. They were both 14 in a small Texas town and sat before the same Texas judge. One goes free, the other to jail. One was white and the other was black...the year 2006. But what does this have to do with dating?
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But what does this have to do with dating? This was the question that I was asked when I said that I wanted to write about a young girl that was serving time in a Texas Youth detention facility for shoving a hall monitor at her high school. The 58 year old teacher's aid was not seriously hurt. However, she was white and Shaquanda Cotton black. Perhaps the biggest controversy in this case was not that the 14 year old black girl was sentenced to up to 7 years for shoving; but that the same judge that handed down this sentence, just a few months earlier had given another 14 year old girl (who happened to be white), probation for burning down a house. Shoving equals prison and Arson equates to probation. I'd heard that things in Texas were big, but I had no idea.
As you can imagine, once Shaquanda's story finally hit the press (almost a year after she began to serve her sentence), tempers were flaring and everyone was screaming racism. We heard every detail of the young girls defiant past. Let's see there was the multiple disciplinary issues that she received at the school after, her mother began complaining of unfair treatment too other minority children (at the time none were her own).
Coincidently, Shaquanda began to get write ups for (1) wearing a shirt that was an inch too short, (2) pouring too much paint into a cup during art class and (3) defacing a desk that later school officials reported showed no signs of damage.
During Shaquanda's trial, which by the way, (her mother was not allowed in the court room because she was told that she was a witness), school officials would testify that the 14-year old girl "demonstrated a pervasive and consistent anti-authority attitude". Wow, I think I know a few of those types. They are called TEENAGERS!
I guess that's what brings me to my point. What does this story have to do with dating? Nothing and everything. I'm sure I could find some cute and clever way to tie in the "race" card and how this poor little black girl is being treated so wrong. Or go for the angle of her single parent mom trying to raise a child and how we can learn to deal with hardships, trials and tribulations in our own relationships. But, no I'm not going to either of those places.
I'm going to that place that exists inside everyone on this "interracial" dating site, your heart. I feel the need to point out that in the year 2007; we have bigger problems and challenges in our society than getting poor service and nasty looks. It goes deeper than what a has-been comedic actor says or if we should sleep with our ex. It's important that in addition to getting all the feel good, self improvement and how to find the love of your life lessons, that we also get the information and knowledge of what social problems are going on in our world. It's important to know where you and your companion stand on these important issues.
It's imperative that we not only know about the "hot topics and issues", but that we also FEEL something. To know how we feel and how those whose opinions we respect feel. We can't allow ourselves to become numb, because in this day and age nothing surprises us anymore. We've ALL been there, done that, seen it, wrote it, lived it!
When we start to think that it's okay for a 14-year old child to be locked away for shoving while grown ass adults serve less time for drugs, rape and murder, we've got bigger problems than how to find the love of our life.
This story really has nothing to do with dating, but everything to do with understanding, compassion and love. And without those things what's the point of dating?
This is Leticia reminding you to not loose your heart; you may need it one day.