2008-12-12

Brandon McClelland Proof Of The Continuing Racial Divide



On September 16. 2008, Brandon McClelland was struck by a truck and dragged 70 feet by the truck. The two people in the truck were supposedly friends of McClelland, and were white. He was supposedly with the two friends in the truck, but ended up out of the truck and hit by the truck with his "friends" in it. His friends in response to the dragging did not call the police about the "accident", but went to wash the truck to get rid of the evidence of what happened. They also left his body on the road, where it was discovered the next day to look like a hit and run.

The argument by many white people in Paris, is that they were friends going on a beer run and the guys in question were drunk not racists, because they were McClelland's friends. They had known McClelland for 10 years, and McClelland himself went to jail for perjury trying to give one of his friends an alibi. The belief is outsiders are coming to Paris, TX to cause trouble and there is no racism in Paris, or not as much as "outsiders" want the world to believe. That there is no proof to prove that they intentionally hit the victim, that is was all an accident. The problem with this is we don't know what the evidence is, authorities refuse to release evidence on this case to the public.

On the flip side, many blacks tend to find it hard to give these two guys or the Paris, TX justice system the benefit of the doubt. This is the hometown of Shaquanda Cotton. The town isn't known for being a bastion of racial equality. It is also known as the town that held one of the most publicized lynchings in U.S. History. It seems that injustice might occur, as authorities refuse to call it a lynching or dragging James Byrd style, as they argue McClelland wasn't tied to the truck, so it wasn't premeditated. Gary Young, the district attorney assigned to the case, was once a court appointed defense lawyer for one of the accused assailants. He has since stepped aside, but how did he end up with the case anyway? I should also note that the accused, Shannon Finley was on trial for shooting a white friend. He claimed it was an accident and that he was shooting at two black men armed with guns trying to rob him and his friend. The black robbers were never found, and there was no evidence of a robbery. While in prison Finley joined some white supremacist gangs, which is typically par for the course in prison, but it doesn't help this case not being tinged with racism. So far authorities refuse to call it a hate crime. So many feel justice will not be served, even though both men were indicted for murder by the grand jury.

My take on it as a former Parisite. I remember being told by classmates that it was against God for a white person to marry a black person and make children. I was told by a childhood friend, that America could never have a black president, because that person would be a assassinated, so it was safest that black people didn't run for president. I wish I could see that guy now, he is probably so concerned about Obama right now. I was called the n-word by classmates, asked why I use Crisco in my hair and as lotion (even though I never have), and told I was ugly with big lips and a big nose. I know I grew up on the "white side" of town, rich to some because I lived in a brick house versus a frame house. I know the school I went to was the "white school" and the school across the tracks was the "black school". Or once running into a white women who told me was from Paris, and when I shared with her I at one time lived there, she asked me did I know no fewer than three black people. I didn't know them, as I haven't lived there since 1990 and might I add I was 14 when we moved to Dallas. I think racism exists a lot more in Paris, than many whites are willing to admit, which is why so many are upset "outsiders" are coming in to report on this story. Also I don't feel that just because someone is "friends", doesn't mean they can't be racist. I knew many white guys who tried to talk to me who held racist beliefs. I know many white people who consider me their friend and say some of the racist things. Maybe Brandon McClelland was more of a friend to them, than they were to him. Maybe their relationship was lopsided and unbalanced, it still doesn't justify dragging a man under your truck, and you failing not to call the authorities if it were truly an accident and attempting to wash the evidence off of your truck.

I don't know how racism is not a factor in this case, especially given the history of the accused and the history of the town they live in.