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Old 03-09-2001, 12:02 AM
12dn94dst 12dn94dst is offline
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Post Interesting read

DISCLAIMER: this is not posted to start a race war and/or flames, just to foster more healthy, intelligent discussion. If you CANNOT handle healthy, intelligent discussion, if you CANNOT express your points clearly and intelligently without severely offending others, your posts WILL BE DELETED. If you have an issue with the writer's logic, his e-mail address is at the end of the piece.


School Shootings and White Denial

Tim Wise, AlterNet

March 6, 2001

I can think of no other way to say this, so here goes: white people need to pull our heads out of our collective ass.

Two more white children are dead and thirteen are injured, and another "nice" community is scratching its blonde head, utterly perplexed at how a school shooting the likes of the one yesterday in Santee, California could happen. After all, as the Mayor of the town said in an interview with CNN: "We're a solid town, a good town, with good kids, a good church-going town…an All-American town." Yeah, well maybe that's the

I said this after Columbine and no one listened so I'll say it again: white people live in an utter state of self-delusion. We think danger is black, brown and poor, and if we can just move far enough away from "those people" in the cities we'll be safe. If we can just find an "all-American" town, life will be better, because "things like this just don't happen here."

Well bullshit on that. In case you hadn't noticed, "here" is about the only place these kinds of things do happen. Oh sure, there is plenty of violence in urban communities and schools. But mass murder; wholesale slaughter; take-a-gun-and-see-how-many-you-can-kill kinda craziness seems made for those safe places: the white suburbs or rural communities.

And yet once again, we hear the FBI insist there is no "profile" of a school shooter. Come again? White boy after white boy after white boy, with very few exceptions to that rule (and none in the mass shooting category), decides to use their classmates for target practice, and yet there is no profile? Imagine if all these killers had been black: would we still hesitate to put a racial face on the perpetrators? Doubtful.

Indeed, if any black child in America -- especially in the mostly white suburbs of Littleton, or Santee -- were to openly discuss their plans to murder fellow students, as happened both at Columbine and now Santana High, you can bet your ass that somebody would have turned them in, and the cops would have beat a path to their doorstep. But when whites discuss their murderous intentions, our stereotypes of what danger looks like cause us to ignore it -- they're just "talking" and won't really do anything. How many kids have to die before we rethink that nonsense? How many dazed and confused parents, Mayors and Sheriffs do we have to listen to, describing how "normal" and safe their community is, and how they just can't understand what went wrong?

I'll tell you what went wrong and it's not TV, rap music, video games or a lack of prayer in school. What went wrong is that white Americans decided to ignore dysfunction and violence when it only affected other communities, and thereby blinded themselves to the inevitable creeping of chaos which never remains isolated too long. What affects the urban "ghetto" today will be coming to a Wall-Mart near you tomorrow, and unless you address the emptiness, pain, isolation and lack of hope felt by children of color and the poor, then don't be shocked when the support systems aren't there for your kids either.

What went wrong is that we allowed ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by media representations of crime and violence that portray both as the province of those who are anything but white like us. We ignore the warning signs, because in our minds the warning signs don't live in our neighborhood, but across town, in that place where we lock our car doors on the rare occasion we have to drive there. That false sense of security -- the result of racist and classist stereotypes -- then gets people killed. And still we act amazed.

But listen up my fellow white Americans: your children are no better, no nicer, no more moral, no more decent than anyone else. Dysfunction is all around you, whether you choose to recognize it or not.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, and Department of Health and Human Services, it is your children, and not those of the urban ghetto, who are most likely to use drugs. That's right: white high school students are seven times more likely than blacks to have used cocaine; eight times more likely to have smoked crack; ten times more likely to have used LSD and seven times more likely to have used heroin. In fact, there are more white high school students who have used crystal methamphetamine (the most addictive drug on the streets) than there are black students who smoke cigarettes.

What's more, white youth ages 12-17 are more likely to sell drugs: 34% more likely, in fact than their black counterparts. And it is white youth who are twice as likely to binge drink, and nearly twice as likely as blacks to drive drunk. And white males are twice as likely to bring a weapon to school as are black males.

And yet I would bet a valued body part that there aren't 100 white people in Santee, California, or most any other "nice" community who have ever heard a single one of the statistics above. Even though they were collected by government agencies using these folks' tax money for the purpose. Because the media doesn't report on white dysfunction.

A few years ago, U.S. News ran a story entitled: "A Shocking look at blacks and crime." Yet never have they or any other news outlet discussed the "shocking" whiteness of these shoot-em-ups. Indeed, every time media commentators discuss the similarities in these crimes they mention that the shooters were boys, they were loners, they got picked on, but never do they seem to notice a certain highly visible melanin deficiency. Color-blind, I guess.

White-blind is more like it, as I figure these folks would spot color mighty damn quick were some of it to stroll into their community. Santee's whiteness is so taken for granted by its residents that the Mayor, in that CNN interview, thought nothing of saying on the one hand that the town was 82 percent white, but on the other hand that "this is America."

Well that isn't America, and it especially isn't California, where whites are only half of the population. This is a town that is removed from America, and yet its Mayor thinks they are the normal ones -- so much so that when asked about racial diversity, he replied that there weren't many of different "ethni-tis-tities." Not a word. Not even close.

I'd like to think that after this one, people would wake up. Take note. Rethink their stereotypes of who the dangerous ones are. But deep down, I know better. The folks hitting the snooze button on this none-too-subtle alarm are my own people, after all, and I know their blindness like the back of my hand.

Tim Wise is a Nashville-based writer and activist and can be reached at

[This message has been edited by 12dn94dst (edited March 09, 2001).]
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Old 03-09-2001, 04:35 AM
ZChi4Life ZChi4Life is offline
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***In an Elmer Fudd voice***
This is vawey intewesting.

Seriously though, I was definitely feeling him on a lot of things. But this...
...Dysfunction is all around you, whether you choose to recognize it or not.
He should of said that twice!
Again, very interesting read indeed!

[This message has been edited by ZChi4Life (edited March 09, 2001).]
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Old 03-09-2001, 08:18 AM
mccoyred mccoyred is offline
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....Yet another shooting just happened yesterday in Williamsport, Pa, a small town in the Poconos. This time the shooter was an eighth grade white female.

The author is right, 'they' need to wake up and smell the gunpowder. When Blacks were killing each other, it was okay; just chalk it up to the violent behavior of inner city Blacks. But now that their 'chickens are coming home to roost', they are getting scared.

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Old 03-09-2001, 01:24 PM
Rachel0497 Rachel0497 is offline
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Extremely interesting-now whites are worried about what's going on. They never seem to to crying about society's problems until it starts affecting THEIR KIDS...just another example of how a lot of whites seem to still have this mindset that violence and crime is for those "uncivilized" people.

The Women of Zeta Phi Beta...Simply Irresistible!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-09-2001, 04:33 PM
BlueReign BlueReign is offline
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You see, this is what I have been preaching in my school for the last 3 years and these other teachers don't listen!! I have never been afraid of our children. Even the students who point their finger in my face and curse me out. It's the quiet white students in the back of the room, who are settled, working and are bussed in from their communities. THAT'S WHO I AM AFRAID OF!!

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Old 03-09-2001, 04:56 PM
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Originally posted by 12dn94dst:

What's more, white youth ages 12-17 are more likely to sell drugs: 34% more likely, in fact than their black counterparts.
I completely agree with this comment; I attended a high school that was in the south suburbs of Chicago, one of the best schools in the state, winner of the Blue Ribbon Award (the highest award given to any high school), and Clinton spoke there to recongnize the achivements of my school. YET... during any passing period you could go and buy ANY drug you wanted in the hallways from some rich white kid. They were the ones doing acid in the restrooms and selling crack cocaine to each other....but yet it was the 8% of US who caused the problems in this SAFE, suburban, college prep, high school.

...And they had the nerve to say they wanted to re-do the district, to cut out the lower income/outside common bounds areas (the blacks).

YEAH we really need to rethink things!!

[This message has been edited by dee_style1 (edited March 09, 2001).]
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Old 03-09-2001, 05:55 PM
CrimsonTide4 CrimsonTide4 is offline
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Originally posted by BlueReign:
You see, this is what I have been preaching in my school for the last 3 years and these other teachers don't listen!! I have never been afraid of our children. Even the students who point their finger in my face and curse me out. It's the quiet white students in the back of the room, who are settled, working and are bussed in from their communities. THAT'S WHO I AM AFRAID OF!!

In my 3 years of teaching, I TOTALLY AGREE With you. The attitude having BLACK and WHITE kids are no problem. Like e'eryybody's mama, grandmama, and l'il old lady next door have always said: Baby, it's them QUIET ones you have to watch out for!!

I truly believe that in the next few years this will be our country's epidemic is the EXPLOSION of these children who are quietly steaming and plotting inside.

Looking at the Santee incident, 2 mornings later, they interviewed the mom who lives in South Carolina and she simply replied when asked what about her son, "He's Lost ". I feel for her as a parent but these parents need to be MORE ACTIVE in their children's lives. I remember my mom founding a letter I wrote when I was 13 telling my cousin I wanted to kill myself because some boys were mad at me for telling my friend what their secret club meant (even then I was not serious about it) and my mom found it during a school day, when I came out of school to catch the bus home, my MOM was standing at the bus door wanting to talk to me and MAKE SURE i was not going to kill myself, in other words: MY MOTHER SOUGHT HER CHILD OUT and GOT TO THE BOTTOM of wHAT WAS BOTHERING ME!!

Also as a psychology major who studied adolescent behavior, this will become a trend because at this age, teenagers are very EGO CENTRIC or ALL ABOUT ME ME ME!! So if killing some classmates gains lil old Andy Williams attention for the next few months and some little old student across the country is feeling overlooked and isolated and alone but remembers how his soulmate killed someone and was all over the TV, newspaper, etc. I CAN GUARANTEE you this kid will fimd a gun and go on a similar rampage if he does not recognize or is taught by his parents that individuality is an asset.

*DONE with my lecture for the HOUR )*

[This message has been edited by CrimsonTide4 (edited March 09, 2001).]
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Old 03-09-2001, 08:46 PM
kiml122 kiml122 is offline
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Earlier today I didn't read this thread. Now that I am home and finally have time, I just read this post. This was damn interesting, and I have to say as well as many of you have said, it's the quiet ones that you have to be watchful of. I hope that no one is offended when I say this but...WHITE AMERICA AND ALL OVER, NEED TO WAKE THE "F" UP. It's like the last scene from the movie "School Daze" where Lawrence Fishburn (sp) is yelling "WAKE UP"


[This message has been edited by kiml122 (edited March 10, 2001).]
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Old 03-10-2001, 04:51 PM
meeks meeks is offline
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"because "things like this just don't happen here."

you know, i have a school and society class i am taking (mind you i am the only non-white in the class) and the teacher showed us a movie called 'savage inequalities' its about the differences in schooling among poor districts and their richer counterparts. they showed a clip on a school that was in a rural white area. the roof was leaking, the paint was peeling, and the students had to go OUTSIDE to an outhouse like thing to use the restroom.

THE FIRST THING someone in my class said after she turned the movie off was "Man I didn't think that sort of thing happened outside the inner city" I was like what the... (fill in w/ explixitive) I could not believe it. Just b/c it was Caucasions that were viewed in the disadvantaged situation. Moreover, these are future teachers! anyway i could write a thesis on this but i'll stop here.

The truly educated never graduate!
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