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Dougherty schools’ parents have been asleep too long

Guest commentary

Thelma Adams Johnson

Thelma Adams Johnson

We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System have been asleep too long. We have allowed our children’s education to dwindle and lie in ruins. We have stood on the sidelines and allowed this to happen. We are yet again faced with school administration changes, and ineffective teachers influencing our children’s education. We are a school system in turmoil and yet to be stabilized.

How can we expect our children to adjust if every year there are changes in administration and faculty? The system implemented a policy of stabilization to prevent a child from being uprooted and faced with the idea of having to make too many changes within the school year. This is what is happening to our children, the only difference is change comes in the form of administration, policies and procedures. We, the parents, are allowing this to happen and things to affect our children and we say nothing. We have yet to meet our new superintendent. Our new superintendent has yet to have a school-wide meeting to inform us, the parents of what is happening and why it is happening. I understand that the position is interim, but don’t we deserve to know where you are leading us and what your intentions are. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, are tired and weary, but we cannot and will not continue to stand silent.

We have allowed a scandal, CRCT Cheating, to tell us that our children were uneducable, meaning that the teachers had to resort to cheating to get our children to pass a standardized test. How can we teach our children that our justice system works? When if found not guilty by your peers, you are still punished for a crime that your peers said you did not commit. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, have to be careful of the message that is sent to our children when the world around you seems so unfair. Will we ever get past the CRCT scandal and get back to the business of educating? It has been too long. We have spent too much time on this issue, the tribunals have spoken, and we, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, demand that we move pass this. We are not a court system, we are an education system. This is our business, and we should be doing it, educating.

We have allowed our top administrators to toy with our children’s education by focusing on administration rather than education. What is the product at hand? The product is a quality education. The focus by the school board is administration. Whether there are personal agendas or demands made by wanting to bring in or hire those that are right for our system, we don’t know. We, the parents, have been quiet too long. We, the parents, have not taken a stand to be more involved in the educational process of our children. I am not talking about just attending a school board meeting or meeting with the teachers who teach your child. I am talking about taking a stand to influence the overall policies and procedures for the Dougherty County School System. When you think about it, who is responsible for the revenues that support the school system? We, the parents of Dougherty County, are responsible. We pay taxes, our children make up the full-time equivalent numbers for our school system to receive funding. We are the backbone of the school system, yet we remain silent and have allowed this train wreck to stand in rumbles too long.

We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System are allowing individuals to make decisions that will affect our children’s future, and we say nothing. Some don’t even have children in the system or never have had children in the system. Some have good intentions, yet others are making decisions based on personal agendas or paybacks for mistreatment in the past. The issue at hand is not your agenda or how you were mistreated, but the quality of education our children are receiving.

Education is vital and important to the lives of children, and we, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, should expect more than what is being done. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, have the right to influence the education of our children. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, should become a voice that is heard, and not chatter outside the door that is ignored.

If I purchase a vehicle or any product and it is defective, what happens? It is sent back for a recall. Who is responsible? Maybe the engineer in its design, or maybe the assembly workers in putting it together, or maybe even the CEO in his disregard for quality and allow the defective product to be sold, or maybe the shareholders who have a vested interest in the company, and they have allowed the company to operate without any accountability. So, I ask you. Who is responsible for the decline in our educational system in Dougherty County? Who will help to address the recall? Who will take a stand to play an active role in producing a quality product, one that we all can be proud to say, we did that? Who, I ask you, the parents of the Dougherty County School System? Who will take a stand and no longer be silent or sit on the sidelines and watch our children be mistreated, misguided and miseducated.

The vision for Parent engagement as stated on Georgia Department of Education website:

The Parent Engagement Program believes that parents, schools, families, and communities working together can create meaningful partnerships that ultimately lead to significant gains across the board in student achievement.

Let’s make this statement a reality for community, go above and beyond what is seen as traditional engagement. The Georgia Department of Education has adopted National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships as the state’s model in engaging parents, students and the community. Most of the schools in the Dougherty County School System, if they have one, operates an independent Parent Teacher Organization with very little standards or participation.

I, Thelma Adams Johnson, will and I call upon you, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, to do the same, to take one with me. Let us begin the process to become fully integrated within the system that educates our children. Let’s make a difference in the lives of children during the 2013-14 school year, one that can influence positive change and not just any old change as usual.

Thelma Adams Johnson, of Dougherty County, has two children and is the president/CEO of Albany Community Together Inc.

Comments

MRKIA 11 months ago

MANY WORDS, NO SUBSTANCE . A REHASH OF THE SAME OLD SAME OLD. DR MOSLEY IS NOT HERE TO MEET THE PEOPLE, HE'S HERE TO SET UPRIGHT THIS UPSIDE-DOWN SINKING SHIP OF A SCHOOL SYSTEM.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

DR MOSLEY IS LEADING THE DCSS IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF MURFREE AND WHATLEY.

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FryarTuk 11 months ago

Squawker says: "Our new superintendent has yet to have a school-wide meeting to inform us, the parents of what is happening and why it is happening. I understand that the position is interim, but don’t we deserve to know where you are leading us and what your intentions are."

Mam, the school board and superintendent have meetings almost weekly and the public is always welcomed and wanted. Take the initiative to call the DCSS office and get a schedule and show up. You can attend as many as you like and they have procedures where you can ask questions if you like.

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waltspecht 11 months ago

So, how many Board Meetings have you attended? What have you done to get a grass roots movement going that will take the schools back from the pencil pushers? What have you done to remove both the problem Teachers, and Students? Just curious.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

SHE BECAME A PRESIDENT/CEO OF A NPO. ALL SHE NEEDS IS A GRANT AND SOME DONATIONS AND SHE'LL BE PAID.

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Retired_guy 11 months ago

Lots of talk. I was confused until I saw where she worked. That's what we need, a community organizer.

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Citizen1 11 months ago

Good start, good comments and observations Ms. Johnson. Parental involvement is so important. Every board meeting should be packed with parents.This new board leadership and their hired hatchet man don't care what you think. Most of the people making comments here don't care either. They enjoy watching the hatchet man work. Watch these comments.

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FryarTuk 11 months ago

Hail Citizen! She's about 6 months late to the party don't you think? Well, better late than never. Hatchet man? Hell, don't you know what a bulldozer sounds like? You clear and prepare the land before you plant the good seed. These folks at DCSS are the only people in 20 years who not only care for the students but know how to care. Previously, it was all about self service with free lunches and booty on the side. Students and families be damned.

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erock 11 months ago

Do you want some cheese to go with that whine citizen?

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agirl_25 11 months ago

Having no kids in the DCSS, I will ask one question. Why didn't you do this rant when the prior superintendent was in charge? You remember, the one who didn't know what was going on, appeared poorly educated, and I feel, lied about his credentials.

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cdeiter1 11 months ago

The parents have been involved. They elected the flunkies who ran down the current system. They voted color and notquality. I vote quality no mattter what. Several of the past school board members couldnt read write or spell. ?????????? And the parents voted them in. You asked for it and you got it. Now , finally someone who isnt afraid of the Albany majority is cleaning house. Straight from the Gov's office. Havent heard any lip from the group have you??? Wonder why?? More than meets the eye in the background, All kinds of hands in the pot maybe. Albany is moving foward but no way it will last until "parents get involved" and vote intelligently.

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FryarTuk 11 months ago

"Straight from the Gov's office." Really? Nathan Deal was about to close down the CRCT investigations until former AG Mike Bowers and former DeKalb DA Bob Wilson talked him out of it. I think you are right about a hand moving in the background but it might be Dr. John Barge the State School Superintendent who is an upstanding professional educator. Out of professional courtesy I seriously doubt Nathan Deal would ever abort any good scam operation of an office holder.

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nolebama 11 months ago

29.5 years in education and retiring this year. Get 1 thing straight- I have taught in 3 different schools in DCSS and for the most part found teachers good. However, the discipline is so bad because parents cannot and will not control the product they send to school that teachers are ineffective due to chaos. From the Governor to the locals the ADULTS allow the students to run the schools- much like our society is becoming. They only do what adults allow. The ADM.lack of student control is why I'm leaving but in their defense, when you take paddling out and dont want to suspend because they cant pass tests scores at home then what meanas do you have????? A queston I couldnt answer. When our Govt. begins holding parents accountable for their childs actions at school teachers will be fine for the most part.

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NotVinceDooley 11 months ago

I agree for the most part, except where you say the Government needs to hold parents accountable. No. More government is never the answer. Parents need to own up and become responsible adults, not children with children. We need a return to traditional values and solid support from churches. Teachers need to be allowed to discipline the kids as well, without fear some pansy will sue them for looking cross-eyed at their little Johnny. Finally, the teachers themselves need to wake up from their overwhelmingly liberal mind-set and return to basics.

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DoctorDorite 11 months ago

Mrs Johnson, in your 2nd paragraph you ask "how can we expect our kids to "adjust" when every year there are changes in administration and faculty ? " The kids can "adjust" easily to changes but what you should really be worried about is the "learning" part that you left out, THAT is whats important !

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Terry.Lewis 11 months ago

Dear Mrs. Johnson,
Where were you three years ago?

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MRKIA 11 months ago

WELL MIZZ. JOHNSON, CARE TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION? WE'RE WAITING. WE ALL KNOW YOU WILL READ THIS ARTICLE AND IT'S COMMENTS.

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Black_Falcon 11 months ago

What you have to realize is that far too many Black folk refuse to hold other Black folk accountable for their actions. This is especially true when it comes to Black folk who are in positions of authority. Black folk usually absolve their Black leaders of any responsibility to uphold the duties of the positions they hold. This is why for years Black folk have remained quiet about the conditions of the DCSS. I mean, who could they blame? The school board was majority Black with a Black superintendent. Now, however, there are problems???

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nolebama 11 months ago

Adults from the Governor to the locals cannot or will not control the actions of the students in the schools and will not hold parents accountable for their kids actions at school and teachers fight chaos all day and put out fires all day. This from a 29.5 year vet of education that taught in 3 different dcss schools and found most teachers plenty good enough for an education IF the parents AND kids wanted it. It all starts will discipline in the schools and that comes from ADULTS. When you remove paddling and dont want to suspend because your afraid they cant pass test scores if they are at home what means do you have to force a behavior change. I couldnt answer that question so I'm retiring. The adults drove me out because that refuse to run the schools

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

"The Community" has become a code word for ___.

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boyoboy 11 months ago

WOW! Another community organizer at work. What a load of spit!

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DoctorDorite 11 months ago

I'm curious, just what political seat do you have your eyes set on ?? School board maybe ?? After all thats gone down in the last few years your now concerned now about the mass house cleaning going on ?? Most people think its great the system is being sterilized from top to bottom and long overdue but of course there's always a few which don't.

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B4it 11 months ago

How can we expect our children to adjust if every year there are changes in administration and faculty?

So much bloviating and so little substance in this article. How would you expect a child to learn and to be educated if the past administration were allowed to continue their self-serving agendas? In farming, the weeds need to be pulled to keep from choking the life from the crops, and to allow the crops to grow. In our government and school system, changes are sometimes needed to bring in fresh ideas and to rid the system of corrupt and ineffective behaviour. The new School Board and interim superintendent should be congratulated for taking the long awaited actions to prepare the school system for an improved learning environment!!! Continue to get rid of the weeds who are negatively affecting the students ability to learn.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

SEEMS AFTER ALL THE DAMAGE AND THE CLEAN-UP HAS BEGUN, A LITE GOES OFF IN HER HEAD.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

I wonder if it's where you ACT like you're doing something, make a few speeches, write some letters, and get a few hundred thousand dollars granted to you by the Feds, State, and Local "authorities".

I wonder.

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DoctorDorite 11 months ago

I don't think Mrs Johnson was expecting these type comments against her agenda, LOL I wish she'd expain what Albany Community Together Inc. is and what it does ? Could it be another city grant "front" and waste of taxpayer money.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

I MIGHT ADD THAT THE PARENTS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE REVENUES THAT SUPPORT THE DCSS, THE TAXPAYERS ARE.

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VSU 11 months ago

Adjust to what? Learning? Getting an education? or does she mean adjust to having to learn instead of teachers changing the grades for their students?

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RedEric 11 months ago

Giving diplomas to graduates who cannot read with comprehension destroys the validity of the diplomas. A business owner looking at a potential employee who has a DCSS diploma wonders how much this person can contribute to his business. I know for a fact that there were DCSS graduates at Cooper who could not read.

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Outtahere 11 months ago

As much as I tried to give this drivel a chance, I just could not look past her grammatical errors.

For example: 3rd paragraph, third sentence from the bottom. ", demand that we move pass this." Um, don't you mean "past this"?

How about this one: "What is the product at hand?" Shouldn't that be "task" at hand? The last I heard, and educational system does not have products; they do however have children and teachers preforming tasks.

Anyway, there were more errors but I won't edit further; the "piece" just didn't flow for me. It sounded like someone who tries really hard to sound intelligent but once they speak or write, you know otherwise. I'll just say proper English and writing is not her "thing". She is however, a very pretty lady. That is a nice picture.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

SHE IS A VERY ATTRACTIVE WOMAN WITHOUT A DOUBT.

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southernbelle 11 months ago

"I, the reader" am almost at a loss for words.What I'm seeing is an excess of thundering words (plus the phrase "we, the parents" eleven times) in an attempt to stir up some sort of misguided righteous indignation and a groundswell of...something.

"We are a school system in turmoil and yet to be stabilized." ROME, AND STABILIZATION, WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY.

"How can we expect our children to adjust if every year there are changes in administration and faculty?" SOMEHOW I DOUBT THAT A FIRST GRADER, OR EVEN A MIDDLE OR HIGH SCHOOL AGED STUDENT, WOULD BE IRREPARABLY SCARRED AND MALADJUSTED FROM ADMINISTRATION SHUFFLING.

"We have allowed a scandal, CRCT Cheating, to tell us that our children were uneducable" HUH??

And the last two-thirds of the commentary were so rhetorical and stump-speechy that a train-wreck type of boredom, yet amazement, set in.

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erudite 11 months ago

When a 15 yr old has a 30 yr old mom and a 45 yr old gramma, both of whom dropped out of school to have the kid, what does the school system expect. I think that parents who had children as teenagers must go to school with the kid. If 19 and the kid is 5, the 19 yr old goes to school too. Somebody has to learn to read and think critically.

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Ihope4albany 11 months ago

This one reply has something to it. It is interesting to note that this all too often pattern of parenting closes mirrors that of the plantation. It seems as if it were only yesterday when the "masters" either studded the slave women or had the male slaves stud the women to get bodies to work the plantation. Someone must tell the black community that slavery is over, and they don't have to mate in this fashion anymore; it is not cost effective to tax payers. You see, the master barely paid anything to keep them alive. In this modern day system, it seems that too much money is being used but not in the right way. Way to go Uncle Sam. You found a new way to get bodies for big government to have work.

I hope, I hope, its off to work we go!!!!!

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

ihope............turn on WJIZ and listen for 5 minutes and then you'll understand what the REAL problem is!!!!! That is, if you are capable of being non-self-delusional.

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RedEric 11 months ago

Albany Community Tomorrow, ACT, is a nonprofit organization using government money to leverage loans to people whose business plan does not support a bank loan. They cover the gap, I should say taxpayers cover the gap. Sounds typically high risk to me. I should have kept track of all of the government programs in this town. It is truly amazing this must be what Obama meant when he said "you didn't build that".

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DoctorDorite 11 months ago

I'll bet'cha its profitable to her since she's the President/CEO of ACT, she probably has a few family members employed there too. Was'nt there a scandal locally a few years back about one of these groups and all the people onboard were family members drawing funds ?? No worry, Obama showed them how its done as an organizer and he's not going to put the IRS on them.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

When you think about it, who is responsible for the revenues that support the school system? We, the TAXPAYERS of Dougherty County.

When you think about it, who is responsible for the attitudes of the students and the school administrators and their leadership? YOU the parents of the Dougherty County School System.

The taxpayers were getting short changed you said nothing, now the heat is on to improve because of Mosley and you are claiming it is not fair.

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bubbasmithredneck 11 months ago

The parents should get more involved in the schools with a positive mission. They need to stick to one agenda. One mission at a time....Change can start with one person, but many voices with the same message can make a difference.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

Change has started with a 4-3 vote for the RIGHT things (and lately a 7-0 vote) which makes me cautiously optimistic that sanity might have possibly begun to begin to return the long way back to SANITY.

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Bigaristotle 11 months ago

More accountability needs to be in the home. The problem is in the home. Everything a child learns starts from home. The brain develops the most within the first 5 years of a humans life. The years at home!!!!!

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allmylife 11 months ago

I applaud your willingness to make the comments. I agree with several of the issues you cite. One of your key remarks and points is the need to get the parents involved in the education process. That requires that you make sure that you know what homework has been assigned and make sure the child does the homework. Do not wait to the end of the school year to suddenly become involved. Go to the regularly scheduled PTO meetings and discuss your child's progress. Go to the regularly scheduled parent/teacher conferences. The teacher can only do so much in a day especially when they have to cater to the lowest level student in the room. We need to get back to the days when the students were split up into similar learning capability classes so all are being taught at the level and speed that they can handle. No, we are worried about their self-esteem. So we mix them altogether so the highest level students are ignored and the middle students get some attention, but the teacher is always having to spend time with the slowest student. There is nothing wrong with having difficulties with learning. They should get the time and attention they need. But do the other students have to be held back to accomplish this. No. The point I am making is that it is not always the teacher that is the problem. Now, don't think that I am stupid enough to think that we don't have some problem teachers. But even the good ones can only do so much if you have students disrupting the class and you get no support from the administrative people. Because if you know anything about the CRCT scandal, you know the reason to ensure all the students pass is to get the almighty federal dollar. So if the Superintendent tells the principals to make sure they pass and the principals tell the teachers to make sure little Johnny passes or we will have issues, then I guarantee you little Johnny will pass. On a side note, it only takes five weeks, count them, five weeks of summer school to ensure that little Johnny passes. We can save a great deal of the budget if we just taught the same five week curriculum that they teach in summer school during the so called 180 day required school year, all would pass. But I digress. So applaud you for your comments and although we may disagree to some extent about the problems, yes the parents have to get involved during school, after school, at the School Board, and when we vote for these people that are supposed to lead our Board and our school. Good luck with the Nepotism.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

THE RESPONSIBILITES OF PARENTS NEEDS TO BE SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED, NOT MENTIONED IN TANDEM WITH OTHER ILLS IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. THE PARENTS OF STUDENT DEFICENT IN CURRICULUM AND BEHAVIOR NEED TO BE INDENTIFIED AND CALLED ONTO THE CARPET. THOSE THAT WON'T COOPERATE, REFER TO THE COURTS AND THE DISRUPTIVE INDIVIDUALS? THROW THEIR ASSES OUT.

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cspecial199 11 months ago

great points mrs johnson.the same old racist attitudes.if you was a white woman saying what youaid they would all be aggreeing with you.dr murfree did a great job.its just the fact that he was black they were always being critical of him.blacks were jealous and gutless and wouldn"t support him.no leadeership official ever been perfect.its the support from the community that makes him successful.he didn"t get any especially from the blacks.you know the whites would be against him.thats dougherty county for years.racists.mr mosely whether hes right or wrong will automaticly get support from whites and the blacks who are weak and will be influencing them.sad case altogether.

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southernbelle 11 months ago

CSPECIAL199 says "dr murfree did a great job.its just the fact that he was black they were always being critical of him"

I SAY "if one equates a cause-and-effect of "being black" with "always being critical of a person (and inference from context would be a white person being critical of a black person)" then why do Lem Edwards, James Taylor, Anthony Parker enjoy such support and receive high praise from white people??

Easy answer in layman's terms...they're good at what they do and have good values.

I bang my head against the wall at misguided perceptions of all kinds, in this case misguided racial perceptions...it's the person, not the color. Cuts both ways and then back again.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

IT'S CALLED THE PERPETUAL VICTIM SYNDROME.

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