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Obama Touts Record to African-Americans

By Michael A. Fletcher

Saying his administration has done more in the past 30 days to advance "progressive change" than has been done in many years, President Obama touted his early record to a meeting of black leaders in Los Angeles.

In remarks prepared for delivery over a video link to the 2009 "State of the Black Union" conference, Obama said that his administration's efforts to expand health care, make college more affordable, reduce taxes for lower income Americans, and stimulate the slumping economy would make a big difference among African-Americans.

"You know that tough times for America often mean tougher times for African-Americans," Obama said. "This recession has been no exception. The unemployment rate among black Americans is a full five points higher than the rate among Americans as a whole."

As a candidate for president, Obama has run into some criticism for past decisions to skip the annual confabs, which are meetings of black intellectuals and opinion leaders brought together by influential talk show host Tavis Smiley. Obama skipped last year's meeting in New Orleans, while campaigning in crucial primary states. He also missed the 2007 meeting in Virginia, which fell on the day he officially launched his presidential campaign.

After Obama missed the meetings, some critics accused him of trying to avoid directly addressing African-American concerns, for fear that it would cost him support among whites. But today Obama had only kind words for the meeting in his short remarks. "It represents an incredible opportunity to highlight not only the challenges facing the African-American community--but also the ways in which ordinary men and women are working to meet them," he said.

By Patricia E. Gaston  |  February 28, 2009; 4:50 PM ET
 
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Comments

You stinking racists! We are to love our neighbors as ourselves!

Posted by: Lydia83 | March 4, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Toritto-

That is not fair!

I want you to know I have NOTHING against People of Color.

I honestly think everyone should own at least one or two! ;~)

THAT, was JUST A JOKE!

TRUTH, I lived in Texas, went to Hawaii, and ended up in L.A., California, BEFORE I ever encountered actual "Racism"!

In Houston Texas, Alan Keyes is the Man! Houston and Hawaii both could JOKE about the differences!

L.A.? Sorry! Blacks are Sooooooo D'mned Racist, most people soon realize trying to get along with them is just too much Walking on Egg-Shells, too Often!

The hatred for anyone doing better than themselves exhibited by WATTS Residents is SHAMEFUL!

The poor Koreans really took a blow during the latest Riots! Seems THEY found the neighborhood to be quite build-able, and THAT really got to the Dead-Beats who spent decades trying to claim otherwise!

Never lived there, but I'd HAVE to assume DC shares the same 'Tude!

As stated earlier, O'Bomba and all the other RACISTS that would attend anything as blatantly RACIST as a BLACK Convention,

PROVE their Guilt by doing so!

I DO NOT go out to participate in ANYTHING "Pro-White".

Don't know anybody who does!

BUT, maybe, just MAYBE, we SHOULD!

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 2, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Mention race and it really brings out the best in anonymous posters, doesn't it?

Posted by: nodebris | March 2, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Saint: This is the dry cleaners.

Your hood and robes are ready.

:-)

Posted by: toritto | March 1, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

jbjb918-LOL! :-D

Allow ME to Rock your World!

Slaves, and Slavery.

Quite a lot of Blame on the good People of the US!

But, didn't the Slaves COME from Africa, and places like Europe(Indentured Servitude-of which ALL slaves in Texas were labeled!)?

Seems to me, the Slaves already WERE! Back where they were Enslaved;

BEFORE they got lucky and ended up here!

Want reparations? Send your complaints to all those filthy rich Brethren doing so great back where your Ancestors WERE ENSLAVED!

Ohhhh, DARN! Seems you are all doing a whole lot better HERE, than 99% of them are THERE huh!

What was the "Nancy Pelosi" again? ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 1, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh give me a break! Why don't you people stop whining! I was not born during slave time and therefore owe no apology! If you say I owe an apology to all black people because of the way white people treated black people years ago then all you black people owe me an apology for a black man robbing me. Yes I am white and proud of it! But I love all people! If black people would stop playing the victim and stop living in the past and realize they have just as much opportunity as I do any black person could succeed in whatever endeavor they pursue. I treat all people the way I would have them treat me.

Posted by: Lydia83 | March 1, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

without a doubt president obama has chosen the path of not addressing black political groups in fear of alienating white voters.
tavis smiley's state of the black union serves only as a source for people of recognition to echo frustration of blacks but has no concrete solutions to offer.i watched the first two years with great anticipation but today i'd rather rent "amos 'n andy" videos than to watch these black politicians and celebrities who has made it but now are trying to incite the masses.tavis smiley is in the same mode as jesse jackson and al sharpton who sells their constitutents out by going to white corporate boards threatening boycotts of their businesses if they aren't given monetary for their personal accounts.tavis smiley is just hot air making money off his books and tv shows.

Posted by: ronaldtennillegeorgia1 | March 1, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Why on earth do we need a "State of the Black Union?" Do we have a State of the White Union,a State of the Latino Union, a State of the (fill in the blank) for all other race and ethnic groups Union?
Aren't we all Americans?
Separating people by skin color is racist and only divides, not unites.

Posted by: morningglory51 | March 1, 2009 5:34 AM | Report abuse


Challenge to the author of this article:

You are perpetuating a systematic social error in using color of skin references (i.e. black) AND, unless a first generation legal immigrant referring to persons by ancestral geographical origin (i.e., African American)!!!

I have, recently, heard only one person in the media get it right. Candy Crowley, on Lou Dobbs of CNN accurately referred to a person in her story as of "African Descent".

The POTUS of the U.S. should know better, and all professional writers should as well. And then there is the matter of having a "Black Caucus" in Congress....is there a "pink" , "white" or "green caucus"?

Continued usage of these errors shows how many persons in the public sector are of limited intellect!

Our census is coming up next year....this is serious....will it be ACCURATE? Will it ask if we are AMERICANS (vs. any hyphenated version)?

Posted by: DiscerningCitizen | March 1, 2009 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Wow, comments improved immensely here from the funky ones at the start. Torrito, bless you, man, I needed that! America, I love you, because you don't do physical harm to the most offensive hate-filled people. You do great comedy with it, though!

I'll behave better, again, try - again - to teach and not kick back. Word. I seriously overloaded trying to objectively watch that hate-filled conference with the Rush on a whole 'nother side of town. Can't do that again, it was toxic, gotta bathe now.

Peace.

Posted by: VCubed | March 1, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to say which is worse: The educated writer, putting absolutely nothing about the yearly conference into context and titling it "Touts", as if Obama had to prove himself after getting over 90% of the black vote - or the ignorant comments in 4 out of 6 responses.

If I had not volunteered for 2 years in 3 states for our President Obama, I would have a terrible impression of America - but I did, so I don't. The Americans who are making us proud of our country once again won this election.

Lunatic Fringe - dismissed! Don't freeze out there. Or, do freeze. Whatever. Stop flaunting how bad your own self-esteem is, we beg you. Think of how many people around the world are looking at you and admiring Obama more than ever, to have gotten past the likes of you poor folks who made that outrageously ugly Limpbaugh a multimillionaire - for no one's benefit but his own. Limpbaugh laughs at his followers, he believes in nothing but his millions. Limpbaugh is not "your buddy". LimpB's sick with envy. No one travels for two years from state to state for LimpB. Millions of people don't hand millions, almost a billion dollars to LimpB, other than the advertisers selling you trash from overseas. LimpB can't draw 75,000-100,000 people in one town/city, never mind nation-wide, to see him in person. This weekend's conservative conference: 8,000 - that is all.

If his millions depended on people doing anything harder than turning on a radio, he'd be as broke as you.

Posted by: VCubed | March 1, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

In speaking of "the ways in which ordinary men and women are working to meet" problems confronting the African American community, the say-it-like-it-is President Obama was indicting some sit-tight, camera mendicant Black leaders who talk more and do less. For too long, the news media have vigorously promoted the notion that solutions to problems and challenges facing the African American community begin and end with such camera mendicant "leaders". In this era of personal responsibility and accountability, such "leaders" should be called upon to show palpable people-uplifting and transforming results they have delivered, not same'ol, same 'ol TV appearances and poverty pimping protest marches.

Posted by: paashanbooks | March 1, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Youreanidiottoall - you're a first act loser due to your own sense of entitlement, arrogance, and in the end apothy. Afirmative action has nothing to due to with the pit you're in. Get a clue buddy, if you wanna blame anyone, blame your parents for failing to instill in you a proper work ethic, or urgency to be competitive.

Posted by: htruman1 | February 28, 2009 8:55 PM

------------------------
Where the heck do you even get the idea that my parents failed to teach me work ethic and competitiveness? I think after 25 years in the Marines I know both those issues first hand. And now that I own my own company I have the luxury of NOT hiring people who don't deserve a single thing in life other than what they can earn on their own.

Posted by: Youreanidiottoall | February 28, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I wish that the typical white supremist in this country could have heard the three presentations/speeches that I heard early this afternoon on CSPAN. If they understood what they heard, they would be amazed at the scholarly, insightful way that these people spoke. The strong emphasis on personal responsibility was not masked by woe-is-me jargon. When one contrasts these presentations with those at CPAC, CPAC was spreading fear and hatred, not to mention the woe-is-me-I-am-rich-and-will-be-soaked.

Posted by: EarlC | February 28, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

President Obama just cannot be everywhere all the time. He deserves a free weekend with his family. As a southern white man, I was fascinated with the speeches that I heard on CSPAN which covered this event in LA. There was nothing said that I heard that would have bothered Obama. In fact, I heard nothing but words of praise from the speakers for Obama.

In an alternate universe, we also got to hear the fearmongering at CPAC.

Posted by: EarlC | February 28, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

-- Matthew 6:14-15

Black Americans, American Indians, Japanese Americans, Latin Americans, and other minorities have suffered the injustice of prejudice and discrimination in America. No one argues that point. Many minorities want an apology. Many of the majority feel no obligation to apologize for their parents, grandparents and ancestors. Many others in the majority secretly feel guilty about their abuses. Some don’t, and are proud of their slave owner heritage. The media looks for every opportunity to turn political issues into racial issues in order to sensationalize the stories. Sensationalism riles everyone up, increases website hits, sells papers, improves ratings, and increases advertising rates.

But none of this moves us forward. None of it solves anything. We just go back and forth. We tell the tales of idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

People, if we are bitter, we have to learn to forgive. If we are prejudice, we have to learn to be tolerant. No matter what our race or background, if we work hard enough, we can achieve anything. Allow President Obama to teach us that. No one gave him anything. He earned everything he received. He is not the Messiah – he did not descend from the sky and he cannot walk on water, heal disease or cast out demons. But he is an inspiration to us all. In order to fully appreciate what he represents, in order to allow him to inspire us to be better, we have to let go of the pain and the hate. We have to learn to forgive and to be tolerant of those not like ourselves.

Black Americans, American Indians, Japanese Americans, Latin Americans, Jewish Americans, Italian Americans, British Americans, German Americans, French Americans, etc., etc. How about just Americans? We have all fought, sacrificed, and died for this country. Culturally and historically, we are all very different. Patriotically, we can agree that we are privileged to live in the greatest country on Earth. We have to work together to get through these tough times. Let’s focus on what we have in common instead of on what tears us apart.

Posted by: BrotherLove | February 28, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

jbjb918: Many thanks for your kind words.

There is no point going through life if you don't learn something along the way.

:-)

Posted by: toritto | February 28, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm an old retired "wop". When I was a kid I lived in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn and never saw a black face. In public school every kid's name ended in a vowel. I learned nothing in school of Jim Crow or segregation in the South. I learned nothing of black history other than they were slaves before the Civil War and Booker T. Washington. I learned nothing of my own history. The "history of America" was quite sanitized. I got a job in a bank mail room in the '50s when I was 16 and met my first black man up close and personal. I'll call him J. J. He was a grown man doing the same job as a high school kid. I cringe to this day when I think of the fact that I called him "boy" more than once. Why? Because I had seen it in the movies and didn't know any better. I was totally ignorant.. After I did it several times he quietly but firmly asked that I not call him that. His name was "John". He had the dignity of my old Italian father. He looked at me like a disapproving father. I learned from that man his struggles and his family's struggles and what it meant to be a black man in America. I left that job and went on to college in the South and learned. I spent four years in the Army during Vietnam and learned some more. John and I stayed close. During the sixties, the riots, the marches, the killings. He is gone now. The night Obama was elected I thought of him. I called his son. We laughed, celebrated and cried that a good man wasn't here to see the day.

America has changed a great deal since the 1940s - get used to it - there ain't no going back.

Sir...I would like to thank you on so many different levels. Thank you for getting to know someone and not hating him for the color of his skin. I would also like to thank you for not continuing the racist practices that you saw on TV. And lastly, I would like to thank you for your service.
I hope somebody else reads what you wrote and treat someone in their lives better as a result. Blacks and whites need to have more real conversation about race in this country. Thank You

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

How about I blame your ancestors for starting all this, and not teaching your parents right from wrong. Can you admit that slavery was wrong? Can you admit that the racism that your grandparents past down to your parents was wrong? Lets start there before we go into what my parents may or may not have done. I will be glad to talk about my grandparents struggles that were passed down to my parents after you talk about the fact that your folks were directly responsible for most of what is going on here today. Lets deal with one thing at a time shall we?

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

ImpeachObama - quit mooching off my federal tax dollars you angry white trash.

Yes, I'm a high paid white dude from San Francisco. I bet you feel real superior to that don't you?

Posted by: htruman1 | February 28, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm an old retired "wop". When I was a kid I lived in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn and never saw a black face. In public school every kid's name ended in a vowel. I learned nothing in school of Jim Crow or segregation in the South. I learned nothing of black history other than they were slaves before the Civil War and Booker T. Washington. I learned nothing of my own history. The "history of America" was quite sanitized. I got a job in a bank mail room in the '50s when I was 16 and met my first black man up close and personal. I'll call him J. J. He was a grown man doing the same job as a high school kid. I cringe to this day when I think of the fact that I called him "boy" more than once. Why? Because I had seen it in the movies and didn't know any better. I was totally ignorant.. After I did it several times he quietly but firmly asked that I not call him that. His name was "John". He had the dignity of my old Italian father. He looked at me like a disapproving father. I learned from that man his struggles and his family's struggles and what it meant to be a black man in America. I left that job and went on to college in the South and learned. I spent four years in the Army during Vietnam and learned some more. John and I stayed close. During the sixties, the riots, the marches, the killings. He is gone now. The night Obama was elected I thought of him. I called his son. We laughed, celebrated and cried that a good man wasn't here to see the day.

America has changed a great deal since the 1940s - get used to it - there ain't no going back.

:-)

Posted by: toritto | February 28, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

librajoy54 - the whole basis of your post is contradictary and flawed. First you say that you're being left behind by Obama becuase he's the black's messiah. Then you preach that libertarian line of "I don't want the government's handout".

Give us a break, you're not fooling anyone.

Word to weak conservative posters. Please, please go back to high school and join the debate team so that you can conjure up a feasible argument. Heck while you're at it please go back to middle school so that you can retake that geometry course and brush up on your deductive reasoning.

Because as it sits your arguments are......Yyaawwwnnnnnnnnnnn! ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: htruman1 | February 28, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Youreanidiottoall - you're a first act loser due to your own sense of entitlement, arrogance, and in the end apothy. Afirmative action has nothing to due to with the pit you're in. Get a clue buddy, if you wanna blame anyone, blame your parents for failing to instill in you a proper work ethic, or urgency to be competitive.

Posted by: htruman1 | February 28, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

As a caucasian, whitey, I'm beginning to feel left out. It feels like he's the African-American's version of the Messiah. I ask you as a person who is a minority. I am a 54 year old woman who is disabled on SSI with hopes of Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Art and Letters. I have no experience and haven't worked for years. It looks like I made a huge mistake in that I forgot I had to pay for the loans. Ask Obama if he has a plan for people in my position. Hopefully I will get a job as a para-educator but in the economy who knows? Will Obama listen to poor white people like me on SSI who do not want to live off the government any longer but are almost tied?

Posted by: librajoy54 | February 28, 2009 8:03 PM


No dis-respect to you, but Black people in this country have been feeling left out of everything from day one. So whats wrong with this guy being a vehicle of hope for black people? I hope he serves as a messiah for all people but that would be asking to much. Just because Black people claim him as one of their own doesn't mean he isn't working for all Americans. But I hope he does listen to people like you as well as people with no health care, people who hope to get a loan to try what your already doing. All we can do is hope for the best and not hope that he fails.

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

The president of this country is not African moron. He is of mixed race and born in the US, not Africa.

Posted by: Youreanidiottoall | February 28, 2009 7:20 PM


I know exactly what he is. I said that to piss off all the haters that are posting things on here like yourself. You can call him whatever you want. Black, mixed race, the N-word. Whatever you choose is fine, but it still wont change the fact that we all gotta call him President. How about President N-word or President Black Man. Just call him President. LOL

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

As a caucasian, whitey, I'm beginning to feel left out. It feels like he's the African-American's version of the Messiah. I ask you as a person who is a minority. I am a 54 year old woman who is disabled on SSI with hopes of Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Art and Letters. I have no experience and haven't worked for years. It looks like I made a huge mistake in that I forgot I had to pay for the loans. Ask Obama if he has a plan for people in my position. Hopefully I will get a job as a para-educator but in the economy who knows? Will Obama listen to poor white people like me on SSI who do not want to live off the government any longer but are almost tied?

Posted by: librajoy54 | February 28, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I have my facts straight. After we were sold, we were stolen. That's how white people tend to do things. You would rather steal what others create. And as far as earning it goes...the 4 little girls that died in a church in Alabama in 1963 didn't earn the right to die behind the hate of racist and separates ideas. Why are people in this country so afraid of just admitting to having treated us terribly? Just admit it, and really do something to show that your sorry for what your grandmother and grandfather did. How can we get past it until its properly dealt with? I am not one of those "we shall overcome" types. I speak the truth about what is, and what isn't. Whats right and whats wrong. Whats real and whats fake. This country owes a great debt to black people and it refuses to admit it, or accept it. More recently we should be giving the people of Iraq the same apology for tearing up their country because of an idiot named George Bush. There are no weapons of mass destruction. We should have been out of there the second we didn't find anything. You all elected a guy who ran everything into the ground that he ever touched and you want to do everything possible to stop our current President for trying get us out of this hole we are in. All because your mad that he's black.

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

U know what...Reparations would be a start for all the things Black people have gone through in this country that was built on the free labor of slaves. Why should we leave the place you all stole from the Native Americans and the country we built? I think its funny how some people just cant admit to making mistakes. So you continue to think just like the last incompetent president we had that ran this country in the ground in the first place. Instead of supporting him you all continue to show your true colors. Keep on being mad at our AFRICAN President while he tries to clean up the mess white folks have made.

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 7:15 PM

--------------------------------

The president of this country is not African moron. He is of mixed race and born in the US, not Africa.

Posted by: Youreanidiottoall | February 28, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

jbjb918,

Might want to get your facts straight, your own people were the ones who started treating you that way.

And I'm tired of this whole "African American" b.s. You are American or black, not African. An African American was born in Africa not the US. You deserve nothing til you earn it like MY ancestors had to do.

Posted by: Youreanidiottoall | February 28, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

AA's make up approx 12 to 13% of the entire United States Population. Does anybody, including Obama, care about the other 87% of Americans? Sounds like 87% is a whole lot more than 13%, and a number that left to be UNrepresented by Obama, would be a crisis onto itself. PLEASE understand there are a whole lot more people in this country and WE are ALL in this. It is 2009! Yes, we are in the 21st CENTURY! And we have a 100% population, NOT 13%!

Posted by: Texan2007 | February 28, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

U know what...Reparations would be a start for all the things Black people have gone through in this country that was built on the free labor of slaves. Why should we leave the place you all stole from the Native Americans and the country we built? I think its funny how some people just cant admit to making mistakes. So you continue to think just like the last incompetent president we had that ran this country in the ground in the first place. Instead of supporting him you all continue to show your true colors. Keep on being mad at our AFRICAN President while he tries to clean up the mess white folks have made.

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"Ohhhh, BTW...

Where is the "State of the WHITE Union" Conference going to be? ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 28, 2009 5:19 PM

In your basement with 2 or 4 of your close friends. Tell everyone to bring their sheets and pointy hoods.

Posted by: toritto | February 28, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Good pick.

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | February 28, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

We know what these deadbeats want. Reparations. How about a one way ticket back to Africa if you hate this place so much?

Posted by: ImpeachObama | February 28, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Like it or not The White race was responsible for electing Barrack Obama President therefore Whites have their "Union Conference" every time President Obama speaks by default. Who is crying out for "Help"(welfare) now? Do I hear the noise from "God's Country" where his children all tried to foolishly run to escape "Those elements"?(race and class) Do I hear it in those overpriced urban enclaves designed to displace "Those people"?(class and race)
I believe that the promised "change"is coming. The hallmark of a "superior"people is practicing what they preach. Also the "superior" person does not need any "Petitions". If I were truly superior I would already know it without even having to be told so.

Posted by: WilliamHStokes | February 28, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

There wouldn't be a need for a State of the Black Union, NAACP,Black Panthers, Black History Month, or anything with Black issues attached to it had you all not treated us so poorly in the first place. And contrary to what any of you believe the playing field still is far from being even. That being said, don't get made at us for taking pride in ourselves and trying to make things better in our communities. We are trying to play with the cards you dealt us. We will continue to exercise our right to be proud of ourselves and our President. We know you cant stand it, but get over it just like we have had to get over all the things that have been done to us. GO President Obama!

Posted by: jbjb918 | February 28, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The fool believes his own lies.
Hey Osama you're supposed to represent all of America, not just the half that voted for you. 30 days in office and claiming greatness...this fool is scarey!!

Posted by: vet4u | February 28, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Ohhhh, BTW...

Where is the "State of the WHITE Union" Conference going to be? ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 28, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

The GOVERNMENT cannot become the Missing "DADDY" so often not involved in the development of the soon to be drop-out/Teen Pregnancy/Jail-Birds!

WHEN, Blacks get anything closely resembling REAL Pride, and STOP whining and take some responsibility for their own actions, and get anything close to a real sense of integrity-

Rather than sucking up Welfare, crying "Race", and thinking that they are "Anonymous" Enough to commit crimes and get away with it;

THEN, and ONLY THEN, will they be anything but what they are so rightfully labeled!

Enough "Special Treatment"! LEVEL the damn field!

Either THAT, or have them all sign a Petition saying they are just inherently too inferior to "Compete" with more developed Humans!

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 28, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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