Taylor: Make Martinez School Board Chair, Testani Permanent Education Chief

File image of Chris Taylor, left, with school board members John Weldon and Jessica Martinez.

Board of Education member Chris Taylor says Jessica Martinez will get his vote for school board chair at the board’s organizational meeting in December. He also wants Acting Superintendent of Schools Mike Testani named permanent district leader while a national search is underway.

When Aresta Johnson resigned it was announced that Testani would serve as a bridge to a longer-term superintendent. Testani has received a waiver from the state as he attends classes to fulfill state certification to lead a school district.

In an email exchange with Board Chair John Weldon, Taylor asserts “Testani is doing a great job and 2/3rds of the Board agrees so why lie to the public? Let me be clear I will be supporting Testani for the permanent position after The Superintendent chooses his own choice for HR Director and schedules the forensic audit as he promised.”

Testani is also in good stead with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa who wields political influence with some board members.

Taylor told OIB on Tuesday that he thinks Martinez, the current vice chair, will have the five votes necessary to cement the chairmanship.

Meanwhile on Tuesday outgoing school board member Maria Pereira, who’ll be joining the City Council, sent an email to Weldon, with a copy to all board members, reminding of the timeline in place to select a permanent school chief that also prohibited Testani’s application.

In May 2019, the Board voted unanimously to set a time-line regarding contracting with a search firm to find a highly qualified Superintendent.

The RFP was to be released on June 1st and the Board was to award the contract week ending August 3, 2019. In addition, the Board voted unanimously that the Board would approve a CONTRACT with the selected search firm at its first regular meeting of the 2019/2020 school year held on August 26, 2019. The anticipated contract start date was to be September 16, 2019.

Due to your failure to call required meetings and your failure to follow a set timeline approved unanimously by the Board, it is now November 19, 2019 and the Board has yet to approve a contract with the selected search firm.

On November 26, 2019, we will be three months behind schedule in approving a contract with the selected search firm.

The Board voted to select the search firm on October 15, 2019, therefore the contract should have been negotiated and prepared for the Board’s approval. Please forward that contract to the Board for our review. In addition, please ensure it is on the Regular Meeting Agenda for Monday, November 25, 2019 so that we may vote on the contract.

I am well aware that corrupt DTC Chair Mario Testa, corrupt Mayor Ganim, and Chief of Staff Dan Shamus have made it a priority to maintain the highly unqualified Mike Testani as the permanent Superintendent. In fact, Southport resident Chris Taylor has placed in writing that he and at least two-thirds of the Board have indicated they want to retain Mike Testani as the permanent Superintendent.

May I remind all of you, especially Mr. Illingworth who recommended and insisted on the provision, that it was the majority that placed in the requirement that the individual chosen as the “Acting” Superintendent could not serve as permanent Superintendent.

The RFP specifically stated in bold lettering that “The individual selected as Interim Superintendent will be precluded from APPLYING for the position on a permanent basis. As such, the Board will entertain a contractual provision returning any current BPS employee to their prior position at the end of this assignment, if they are selected as the Interim Superintendent.”

Furthermore, a provision was placed in the highly unqualified Acting Superintendent’s contract that he may not apply/serve as the permanent Superintendent. I voted against Mike Testani’s contract, however those in attendance at that Special Meeting voted in favor of it which included John Weldon, Hernan Illingworth, Lamar Kennedy and I believe Joseph Lombard.

I just want to codify all of this in writing prior to moving forward.

On Monday Taylor and Weldon engaged in emails addressing the controversy of outgoing board member LaMar Kennedy replacing John Bagley as Harding basketball coach.

From Weldon:

Agree with it or not, the “Kennedy issue” was resolved a week ago, after consultation with our attorney. Afterward, Ms. Martinez agreed to the personnel committee meeting being held tomorrow, but had a last-minute change in plans that would cause her to not be present, leaving just Mr. Kennedy and myself to conduct the interviews for the HR Director position, which certain people feel could pose a conflict given his potential employment. I don’t agree with that but, in deference to the sentiments of others, and due to Ms. Martinez not being able to attend but wanting to ultimately participate in the interview process, I cancelled the meeting with an explanation of the underlying reasons. I was not blaming Ms. Martinez for anything.

Having said that, your day-long fixation on this issue (a week after it was resolved) by disparaging me, Mr. Kennedy and others on social media and implying that some sort of “fix” is in for any candidate is what damages the image of this Board. Had you simply picked up a telephone and expressed yourself like a gentleman, instead of making accusations of all manner of conspiracy theories, we may have resolved the issue without you turning it into a ridiculous display that embarrasses the image of the Board.

No need to respond. I am moving on from this topic and I suggest everyone else does the same.

Taylor did not move on:

I called you twice and left a voice message on your cell phone before I did anything and p.s. the phone works two ways, and yes the fix was in. Apparently from what I was told your were ordered to select a certain person for the job of Human Resources Director who controls all the jobs in the BBOE. Everyone in Bridgeport knew it but me, only because I have been out sick and then on my honeymoon. Let’s play it straight just like this Superintendent search is/was a waste of time and money. Testani is doing a great job and 2/3rds of the Board agrees so why lie to the public? Let me be clear I will be supporting Testani for the permanent position after The Superintendent chooses his own choice for HR Director and schedules the forensic audit as he promised. As of today I have vote for Jessica as Chair and Hernan as Vice Chair. It’s not personal at all, I like you and respect you however I am consituatant {sic} driven and the people of Bridgeport’s eyes are wide open.

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44 comments

  1. ALL City Governance is(including City Council and BOE/BPS) getting worse in JG3. IMHO,this reorganization is moving the chairs around on the Titanic. I think it’s pure PR. Some might depart but another puppet will be appointed. IMHO,Ganim is/will be angling for a Federal job/DC if a Democrat becomes President in 2020. Pure speculation but this “reorganization” will be nice to put on a resume. I just read in the CT Post that Ganim had said that he will be more do more in reaching to the Community of Bridgeport in JG3. Where has Joe been these last 4 years while he was holding the mayoralty of City of Bridgeport?

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      1. Mayor Ganim already left town to attend the Mayors Conference.

        Many City Council members are in attendance as well.

        Nessah and Karen should certainly not be in attendance considering their term ends on November 30th.

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        1. Maria –
          *techbically* Nessah and Karen are still on the City Council because they still have – what? 10 days? left to their tems. they’re probably using up the last of their stipends on a mini-vacation.

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          1. The purpose of elected officials attending a conference is to garner critical information or knowledge regarding those areas of governance that directly impact their constituents so that they may better serve their constituents.

            No individual that is not reelected in November should be allowed to take a vacation on the taxpayers dime. As of December 1, 2019, Nessah & Karen will no longer have constituents they serve, therefore it would be highly unethical to attend an out-of-state conference on the tax payers dime.

            Elected and appointed official should apply the following guiding principle: If you wouldn’t spend your own financial resources on something then don’t spend overburdened taxpayer funds on it.

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  2. Bwahaha! Wow! What will it take for Bridgeport to wake up and wonder how these clowns were ever elected to oversee the education of it’s children. What an absolute joke. No, an insult!

    Martinez, the Charter $chool charlatan who can’t be counted on to show up, but craves the power to promote herself.
    Taylor, the felon who doesn’t even live in Bridgeport. Hurry up FBI!
    Weldon, who suffers from a Napolean complex yet never makes a decision without first consulting City Hall.
    Allen, the fraudster who does what ever the DTC dictates.
    Illingworth, who flips and flops like a fish on land.
    And now…enter Fluffy!

    This is the team who will be deciding policy for educating the most vulnerable of our city! They will be hiring the next educational leader for the schools. They will be managing the budget. They will be setting educational and curricular policies. They will oversee building projects. They will be chairing vital committees, approving contracts, and directing 2500 educators. All of these duties require the ability to read and comprehend hundreds of pages of documents per week in preparation to make educated decisions to move the district forward. Wow.

    I pray for our children.

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    1. IMHO,This will be the WORST Board of Education in the history of Bridgeport. This is literally an emergency. It’s like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop$$$$$$$$

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  3. Ben Walker, I know that you are not surprise of the direction that BBOE is going in because with the election of Joe Ganim that it was going to be business as usual. So where your voice on why Joe Ganim should not be reelected? Republican candidate John Rodriguez would have been a better choice than Joe Ganim for mayor in the general election and Senator Marilyn Moore would had been a better candidate for mayor in the Democrat primary than Joe Ganim but didn’t hear or read anywhere where your voice was heard saying anything but Joe Ganim, so don’t be surprise of what is going on with the BBOE.

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    1. Right. John Rodriguez who is Chair of a Charter $chool Governance Council which is on probation for horrific academic performance, excessive teacher turnover, and excessive suspensions/expulsions of Black & Brown students would make a great Mayor.

      P-L-E-A-S-E.

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      1. Maria, you are a “deserter” of the voters of Bridgeport because you didn’t give a dam who the mayor would be, you didn’t care who funded the education of the students of Bridgeport because you made it know publicly that you were not going to support ANYBODY for mayor because you don’t care about anything or anybody other than yourself.

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        1. I “deserted” no one. I am not REQUIRED to support or vote for ANY candidate.

          I repeatedly told you to get off your big, Black, fat ass and get out and work to get YOUR candidate elected. Of course you couldn’t do that. You ran for City Council and garnered only 27% of the vote, therefore you couldn’t possibly deliver any significant amount of votes to YOUR candidate because you couldn’t get a significant amount of voters to vote for you.

          Ben, nor I, owe you any explanations regarding who we did or did not support.

          Ben and I have done more for our 20,400 public school students than you will do in your entire lifetime.

          I cared enough about our students not to replace one Mayor who had done NOTHING for our 20,400 students with another Mayor that has done NOTHING for our 20,400 students.

          If this is going to be your answer for every single thing for the next four years; please don’t waste our time.

          NO one is required to support YOUR candidate.

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          1. Maria, tell that to your mother because you sure not talking to me. You have absolutely NO credibility, how hell do you expect change for the next four years? You don’t because by being a coward you decided to vote for Joe Ganim because that was your best choice so shut your fat ass mouth, you got your Joe Ganim for the next four years so you won, no. Marilyn Moore because your candidate won.

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          2. Ron,

            This is not about my deceased mother or your mother. Keep it right here.

            It is YOU who has ZERO credibility. All you do is whine on OIB.

            And, posting that I am a “coward” and I chose to “vote for Joe Ganim ” only serves as evidence that you have ZERO credibility.

            All I know is I am going to sit and munch on some popcorn with my “fat ass mouth” as Marilyn Moore fights to keep her senate seat this spring/summer. It’s going to be quite a show.

            The DTC already has Moore’s challenger and it is going to be pretty interesting.

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          3. Maria, as I said before, you won, your guy got reelected as mayor and Mario Testa is even stronger because of Ganim back in power because you were a coward to make a stand against Ganim and Testa, we all know that you couldn’t go against Joe you Mario because of that $1200.00 of the good friend that Joe, Mario and you have in John Ricci. We all know one thing that you could never get elected again for any Citywide elected position because your act is getting tired plus the black community saw how you attacked Marilyn Moore.

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          4. I did not “attack” Marilyn Moore. Why would I need to?

            Members of the Black community took care of “attacking” Marilyn Moore.

            It always puzzles me when those that ran for office and could not get elected attack those of us that have run for office over and over again and do get elected.

            If I wanted that minority party seat on the Board of Education I could have had it. The numbers clearly show it. I did not knock on a single door, only phone banked my precinct, did not send out a single mailer, only had 6 poll standers at four of 22 polling locations with only three of us working 6:00 AM -8:00 PM, and did not even send out an email to my friends, family and supporters to please vote for Row D for the Board of Education.

            We ran a 26 day campaign on a new party line with no name recognition on the fourth row with no top of the ticket and I received 1,067 votes. If I had spend the entire summer campaigning I would have easily taken the minority party seat.

            When I am working on a campaign and people who have never won an election try to give me unsolicited advice my response is “how many campaigns have YOU won?” Usually the answer is none or one or two. My response then becomes “when you win 18 out of 21 campaigns then I will seek and respect your advice. Since that is not the case just do what I ask and you’ll/ we’ll win.”

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    2. Mr. Mackey,

      I try to keep my own council. I ran for BOE in ’16 and won with a significant plurality, but I was a neophyte politically. I really thought I could help. I had no political ties and owed no one…totally independent. I was fortunate enough to team up with Maria Periera, who helped me get elected and was a terrific mentor. We were both bouyed by teaming up with Sauda Baraka and Howard Gardner. Along with running mate Dennis Bradley, we should have been able to initiate a progressive educational direction. Little did we know that Mr. Bradley would immediately prove himself to be a two-faced turncoat who was only interested in serving himself. This was the first of many, many disappointing lessons in Bridgeport politics to follow. With the loss of Ms. Baraka and Mr. Gardner in ’18, my effectiveness came into question.

      Once Mr. Weldon was able to rewrite the bylaws to stifle any opposing voice and give himself autonomy, my effectiveness was essentially nullified. I made the choice to quit the board. This decision was difficult, but it cost me any pretense of credibility. I quit. Why should anyone listen to me? I try to keep my own council, but when something is so egregiously wrong, my mouth overrides my better sense.

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      1. Ben Walker, I totally understand what you said and thanks for your service but after you saw what was going on as far the mayor you had a choice on the direction of the BBOE and who would be the mayor is the concern that I have with you, it seems that you followed the lead of Maria by not making sure the Joe Ganim and Mario Testa would have no more power over the BBOE, instead Maria choice was she didn’t care who the next mayor but know what your position was.

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          1. Ben, I’m really surprised that you would throw your vote away, you know that’s how America got the current American President, because voters didn’t like either candidate so they didn’t vote.

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          2. Mr. Mackey,

            I did not have a candidate in the mayoral race. As you may know, I am a registered Libertarian. As far a the last presidential election, my vote for the Libertarian candidate would not have mattered at all. We have an Electoral College system in the United States and all that we do in our statewide presidential election is to select our electors to the Electoral College. This system is probably the most beneficial thing that our founding fathers gave us. It prevents from happening what I witnessed happening during my abreviated tenure on the Board of Education, that is a tyrannical majority stifling the voice of the minority. Even though there happens to be a Republican in the White House, you, as a Democrat, still have representatives who supposedly participate equally in the governance process. God bless the United States of America, the greatest, most prosperous, most free country in the history of our planet.

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          3. Ben Walker, you said, “God bless the United States of America, the greatest, most prosperous, most free country in the history of our planet,” let’s not forget that your family had rights, benefits and privilege that my family and millions of others didn’t have because the color of our skin and were held back by American laws with education being one of the biggest burdens we have had to overcome. Mr. Walker my father serve in U.S. Navy with submarine duty during WWII and after being discharge after serving term when he came home he didn’t have the same rights as whites had even after serving his country during war time. I serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War plus serving my city as a firefighter, so I understand what it means to put your life on the line but I also know that things aren’t fair and equal but I take my right to vote seriously and that I have a duty to vote for who I think who will address my issues not matter what political party they are. Not voting does a disservice to throw who fought to give all of us the right to vote and some of those people gave their life for that right to vote.

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  4. The individual with the worst attendance on the school board is Southport resident Chris Taylor.

    The second school board member with the worst attendance record is Jessica Martinez. If she does attend she often arrives late and frequently leaves early.

    So convicted felon and Southport resident Chris Taylor believes that Charter $chool Lobbyist Jessica Martinez, who has been arrested for three separate matters since October 2018 and is facing felony charges for assault which included a $50,000 Bond, should be the Chair of the most important Board in Bridgeport.

    Chris Taylor is also advocating the incredibly deceitful and unethical Hernan Illingworth, whose word means absolutely nothing.

    The second foreclosure on Illingworth’s Bronx Avenue home was filed in June 2019. Hernan Illingworth filed an appearance in that matter utilizing a P.O. Box in Fairfield on November 12th, just a few days ago. Hernan Illingworth never appeared for his foreclosure or filed a single motion or pleading. His wife filed an answer stating she was giving Hernan Illingworth the money to pay the mortgage each month and had no idea he wasn’t paying it because he was taking all the mail regarding the mortgage. She indicates she was completely unaware they were behind in their mortgage until she was served in June of this year. It appears the foreclosure may have just been approved.

    Hernan Illingworth’s wife then filed for divorce on September 24, 2019 utilizing their Bronx Avenue address. Hernan Illingworth filed an appearance utilizing the exact same P.O. Box in Fairfield in October. The divorce appears to have been granted on October 31, 2019.

    Can anyone think of any valid reason why an elected Bridgeport Board of Education member that is required to reside in Bridgeport would be utilizing a P.O. Box in Fairfield for their address in legal proceedings?

    Maybe he is bunking with Chris Taylor.

    You just can’t make this sh_t up!

    As of November 30th there will be no Max Medina, Bobby Simmons, Sauda Baraka, John Bagley, Howard Gardner, Ben Walker or Maria Pereira on the Board of Education.

    Our poor children. I am also truly frightened for our 20,400 students’ well being, Ben.

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  5. City Ordinance requires every elected and appointed official to file a new Residency Form with proof of any change in address within 30 days of a change of residency.

    Based on the appearance that Hernan filed for his divorce that form and proof of residence should have already been filed in the Town Clerk’s office. I just called the Town Clerk to ask them to make me a copy of it and I would pick it up later today. I was just informed Hernan Illingworth has NOT filed the required form, therefore I could not obtain a copy.

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  6. Ron you are absolutely correct in your ascertain that loud mouthed Maria is bitching and moaning about the current state of the BBOE yet but her sorry ass did absolutely nothing to change the circumstance for the children of Bridgeport by voting out the orchestra leader of this bullshit. Maria, shut your fat mouth up because you have nothing to say because you gave up your right to say anything by voting for Ganim or Jeff, which was a throw away vote. You got absolutely what you voted for, NOTHING!
    I don’t expect you to shut up your pie hole, but hope springs eternal.

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  7. I put in over 20 years running into burning buildings saving the lives, homes and hopes of Bridgeport residents. I put my life on the line more times than I can count or remember and the color, ethnicity or religion of the people was never a factor in whether I put my life on the line for them.

    I have two (2) commendations for heroism and now I am reduced to a TV pimp by Maria! Any wonder that someone would question whether racism fueled her Psyche, her Soul and her very being!

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    1. Right, you’re a victim.

      You chose to apply to be a BFD employee knowing the risks, and for your work you were generously compensated, received exceptional benefits and receive a substantial pension.

      Every time someone has a different point-of-view or responds to your attacks your only comeback is they are racist.

      Please find some new material.

      Better yet, don’t start what you can’t finish.

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  8. Come on Huggy Bear 🙂 I don’t want to bring up racism fuel comments. Considering your heroism who reduce a Strong Spanish-ish speaking “white” woman to a Oscar the Grouch.

    Can’t speak much on the matter but I constantly keep reading how kids do have books. Like how long it for school uniforms for those families who can afford a fashion for their kids a sense of equal-ism, converting from books to computers seems to be taking a long time also. That’s policy not funding. JS people

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K97OkHHJR44

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  9. Maria, what I posted had nothing to do with being a victim, instead it showed the hypocrisy of your fat ass! You think you can change the narrative by continuing to harp on that racist all the time crap. You could have portrayed me a thousand different ways yet you choose a “PIMP”, and you now feel because I call attention to your racist statement that I am riding the racist train and not you with racism in your heart!

    I did know the dangers of my former job and I was compensated very well, but not many people are willing to put their lives on the line for a complete stranger. I did this fully knowing that I could be killed just like a good friend who worked under my command that lost his life and trust and believe that NO amount of money can replace him or myself! I say that to say a Bridgeport firefighter deserves the utmost respect and the fact that you don’t show that respect just reinforces that you are a fat mouthed lowlife. A little friendly advise, Try A Salad Sometimes. 👍

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    1. Don, Maria know nothing about the toxic gas that firefighters inhale that they have no idea in what is going into their lungs or back injuries or broken body parts from falling inside a fire or heart attacks from the stress. Firefighters run into danger like a house on fire where people are running out. We have been at fires where one of brothers have died or were seriously hurt. The late Andy Fardy was a firefighter and didn’t agree on almost on anything and we talked shit to each other on OIB but if I ran into him we would talk but I know if we were working at the same fire I knew that Andy had my back because that’s respect that firefighters have for their fellow sisters and brothers. Don, with Maria it’s all about Maria. Don I how back you were when a member of your crew died at a fire, it hurt all of us because a family member had died.

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  10. Maria, you’re right it was sophomoric because I let you pull me into your level of discourse and incivility. I am profoundly disappointed that I let you pull me into the gutter with you when I know that I am better than that.

    I let the fact that you described me as a filthy negative racial stereotype of a Black man with your pimp remark, makes me more like you than the man that I am. I was just the 4th Black Captain in the history of the BFD, a leader in my church, raised five children and put two through college and tried to be a respectable Black man, yet your characterization of me as a Pimp sent me over the edge.

    I realized that’s just who you are as a person, one that excoriates a person when you can’t have an intelligent conversation or disagreement without the benefit of a negative racial stereotypes, which are hurtful and demeaning. Maria you didn’t win a debate instead you won the classless act of the day. Good job!

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  11. The ONLY person responsible for your conduct, your commentary, your behavior and your choice of words is YOU!

    Do not attempt to portray me as the culprit for your repeated verbal attacks and horrific choice of words when posting on OIB.

    It’s ALL on YOU.

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  12. The ONLY person responsible for your conduct, your commentary, your behavior and your choice of words is YOU!

    Do not attempt to portray me as the culprit for your repeated verbal attacks and horrific choice of words when posting on OIB.

    It’s ALL on YOU.

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  13. Maria, I do own mirrors and what I see is a Black man who gave the better part of his life to uplift young Black’s, Latinos and women in the fire service. What I see is a Black man who raised five children all the while tearing down those negative stereotypes of Black men not caring or taking care of their children. WHAT I DON’T SEE IS A PIMP!
    Now you understand that I am looking at that mirror through the eyes of an honorable Black man and not the eyes of a bigoted white woman!

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    1. Don, now wait a minute, Maria is not a bigoted white woman, hmmm, let me see what does that mean,
      big·ot·ed
      /ˈbiɡədəd/
      adjective
      adjective: bigoted
      having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others.
      being

      Don, my bad, you are definitely right about Maria being bigoted white woman.

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