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Risk Management - Hazing & etc. This forum covers Risk Management topics such as: Hazing, Alcohol Abuse/Awareness, Date Rape Awareness, Eating Disorder Prevention, Liability, etc.


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  #1  
Old 05-22-2003, 02:05 PM
NinjaPoodle NinjaPoodle is offline
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Lightbulb 'Hazing' is a nice word for white kids who act violently

'Hazing' is a nice word for white kids who act violently

May 11, 2003

BY MARY MITCHELL SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

If you think there's plenty of blame to go around in the Glenbrook North High School beating incident, consider the double standards this story has exposed.

From school shootings to domestic violence, when violence erupts in suburbia, the subtle suggestion is that we ought to be shocked. The Glenbrook North High School debacle, in which five junior girls were injured as a result of an assault by senior girls in off-campus hazing, is no exception.

The videotaped beatings of the girls have been broadcast across the world. Even Oprah wants to talk about it. Yet the so-called powder puff football game that included senior girls using objects to punch the heck out of junior girls is the same kind of beatdown that routinely occurs when young black teenagers join a gang.

I don't think Oprah has ever had a segment about that.

When white kids behave violently, it is either an "oh-my-God-how-could-this-happen-here?" or a "teens-will-be-teens" moment. Unless one of them is gunned down, violence between black teens is often ignored.

There is an exception to this rule, however.

When black kids behave violently, or for that matter, if too many show up in a white neighborhood, then we are back to "oh-my-God-how-could-this-happen-here?"

Remember FreakNic a few years back?

When thousands of black college students showed up in Schiller Woods on the Northwest Side and some of them engaged in lewd and drunken behavior (only 22 people were arrested in a crowd estimated to be 10,000), the media went wild because homeowners were upset. Needless to say, that was the end of FreakNic.

Although girls involved in the Glenbrook incident sustained broken bones and bruises, the worldwide public has been told more about this episode than they were the murder of 15-year-old Jonathan Williams in April. The New Orleans high school student was killed and three teenage girls wounded when gunmen armed with an assault rifle and a handgun sprayed more than 30 bullets in a packed gym.

These students were black. The shootings were gang-related. And that was the end of that.

There wasn't a segment on Oprah about that violence, either.

The reason we are getting a blow-by-blow report of the Northbrook beatings is because the violence involved white students from an affluent suburb. This is a double standard that reinforces negative stereotypes about black youth and also feeds the myth that lives of poor black people have less human value than the lives of well-to-do white ones.

Even the words we choose to describe the violence in a Northbrook vs. the words we use to describe urban violence show a bias. For example, the Northbrook seniors were "hazing," not "assaulting," as if hitting people in the head with a trash can is a perfectly normal rite of passage.

We may not get the connection between the girls who join street gangs on the South Side of Chicago and those who mark their ascension into the cool crowd by going through a beatdown, but the mentality is the same. Although we abhor the low self-esteem that drives a young person to seek approval from a gang, we tolerate the same behavior when it comes to "cliques."

Black youth are not the only ones harmed by this stereotyping.

White youth who believe it is OK to do whatever--from driving their parents' luxury car into a bad neighborhood to score drugs because they know they won't be stopped for DWB, to participating in a drunken brawl in a local forest preserve because they know whatever happens, it won't impact their future goals--are on a dangerous path.

What the Northbrook hazing incident shows is that unsupervised teenagers can make some incredibly bad decisions no matter where they come from. And, bad parenting is not confined to urban homes.

According to a tip received by Northbrook police, there's a good reason the "powder puff football" game turned violent.

Apparently, parents provided these underage girls with a keg of beer or two.

After watching the Northbrook beatings explode in the media, I asked Reta Wilcox, CEO of Girl Scouts--Illinois Crossroads Council what she thought. Girl Scouts seems to be a place girls from Northbrook would have passed through.

"People find this kind of incident shocking because they try to believe that in the modern world values are not important," said Wilcox, who grew up in Girl Scouts. "But as it turns out, it is the lack of values that causes this kind of thing," she pointed out.

"Values stick. Anyone who was honest and fair, considerate and caring, or responsible for what they do or respectful to others, would be precluded from such rash actions," Wilcox said.

Honey, hush.

When white, middle-class kids are involved, we don't talk about that.
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2003, 02:27 PM
FuzzieAlum FuzzieAlum is offline
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White people aren't the only ones who have been accused of hazing, using that exact word. I agree that it's unfair of society to be more shocked when violence occurs among the white community, but the author is confusing "hazing," which is a legal term, with the amount of media coverage. It wasn't hazing because the kids were white; it was hazing because it fit the legal definition, which refers to only a certain kind of violence among young people of any race.

A gunman going into a school and shooting is much worse than hazing, and it may be totally unfair that it received less coverage than this hazing incident. That doesn't mean that it's wrong to call one "hazing" and the other a "shooting spree."
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Last edited by FuzzieAlum; 05-22-2003 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 05-22-2003, 02:35 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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I agree that he doesn't understand the term hazing...hazing can include assault.

And I think we have heard all these same arguments before during the JonBenet Ramsey saga. I don't think it has to do with black or white. It has to do with the sick happiness of seeing rich people with their balls caught in a vise. If this had happened at my high school - which is pretty much all white, but not anywhere near as affluent as GBN - I doubt we would be seeing all this media coverage either.
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Old 05-22-2003, 03:12 PM
Peaches-n-Cream Peaches-n-Cream is offline
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I think that the fact that there is a videotape of these white girls is the reason that there is a story here. I never heard of FreakNic.

In NYC many of the news stories about violent crimes have victims who are all different races. I do agree that the big national stories about school violence and shootings seem to focus on suburban white victims, as if the violence in big city public schools with non white victims was insignificant. I remember in the mid 1990s, many students of color were being shot in NYC public schools as if that were a part of the educational experience. The country finally noticed when the shootings occured in suburban or rural schools with white victims and shooters.
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Old 05-22-2003, 03:15 PM
LeslieAGD LeslieAGD is offline
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Thumbs down

Is this article about hazing vs. violence or black vs. white crimes?
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  #6  
Old 05-22-2003, 03:37 PM
Honeykiss1974 Honeykiss1974 is offline
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Hmm, the author does however make an interesting point....why is this incident called "hazing" instead of assault or (for lack of a better term) a violent beatdown? It's not like the juniors were "pledging" to join a high school organization (From reading post in the High School hazing thread)?

What really is the difference between what these girls did vs. gang jump-ins or activity? Could the only difference be the media's coverage? Has America just become immune to urban violence and just don't believe that the 'burbs are as safe as they think?

Well, even if other folks don't get it, this article did make me think about this?
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Old 05-22-2003, 03:49 PM
Lady Pi Phi Lady Pi Phi is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Honeykiss1974
Hmm, the author does however make an interesting point....why is this incident called "hazing" instead of assault or (for lack of a better term) a violent beatdown? It's not like the juniors were "pledging" to join a high school organization (From reading post in the High School hazing thread...
I agree with Honeykiss1974 on this one. My highschool had a few "hazing" incidents of its own. But they were never called hazing. In fact, the perpetrators were arrested and charged with assault.
What I'm not understanding, is when serious injuries occur how these individuals are NOT charged with assault?

edited because I can't spell

Last edited by Lady Pi Phi; 05-22-2003 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 05-22-2003, 03:54 PM
FuzzieAlum FuzzieAlum is offline
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I really don't believe it's all a matter of perception.

To be hazing, it does not have to be an official, structured organization like a sorority. It can also include general peer acceptance, which would be the case here. Hazing implies those being beaten are not the "enemy" as in gang-on-gang violence but the "friend." That's not a small distinction. If my gang beats me up to test my toughness so I can get in, that's hazing. If my gang goes out and beats up the next gang over, that's not hazing.

Now either way a cycle of violence is perpetrated, but in a different way. With hazing, it's the recent hazees that become the next hazers. With gang violence (or a family feud, or long-standing ethnic wars like in the Balkans), it's the same people going back and forth. The Serbs attack the Croations and then the Croations attack the Serbs ad naseum. But with hazing, the hazees don't rise up and haze the hazers back.

P.S. I'm not saying it shouldn't be considered assault. But assault is a very broad category. Hazing is a more specific term and might not even involve assault is some cases (forcing pledges to drink too much). There's no reason not to charge these girls with both hazing and assault.
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Old 05-22-2003, 04:05 PM
Honeykiss1974 Honeykiss1974 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by FuzzieAlum

Now either way a cycle of violence is perpetrated, but in a different way. With hazing, it's the recent hazees that become the next hazers. With gang violence (or a family feud, or long-standing ethnic wars like in the Balkans), it's the same people going back and forth. The Serbs attack the Croations and then the Croations attack the Serbs ad naseum. But with hazing, the hazees don't rise up and haze the hazers back.
When it comes to initiation into a gang, every year (or however often they do it) current members of the gang are bringing in new people. Again, how is that different in terms of being labeled "hazing"?
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Old 05-22-2003, 04:08 PM
FuzzieAlum FuzzieAlum is offline
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I guess to put it bluntly, what I object to is the article's suggestions that "hazing" is a meaningless euphamism for something else. Hazing has a cultural definition and a legal one just as much as assult does.

I'm not shocked it happened in a nice white part of town. I'm not sure it deserves any more attention that dozens of other incidents of violence. I'm not sure the attention isn't due to the participants being white, or to them being rich.

And heck, what I object to in this article is only in the headline, so maybe it reflects the copyeditor more than the writer. But hazing is not a "nice word," nor is it only applied to "white kids."
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Old 05-22-2003, 04:11 PM
FuzzieAlum FuzzieAlum is offline
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Quote:
When it comes to initiation into a gang, every year (or however often they do it) current members of the gang are bringing in new people. Again, how is that different in terms of being labeled "hazing"?
To repeat myself: "If my gang beats me up to test my toughness so I can get in, that's hazing."

But if one gang beats up another, that is not hazing.

So a gang has two kinds of violence going on - hazing inside and inter-gang violence outside. However, even if a gang decided to be kinder and gentler to its members and model their new member process on the most PC sorority ever, inter-gang violence would still be taking place.
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Old 05-22-2003, 04:23 PM
Peaches-n-Cream Peaches-n-Cream is offline
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They just had a story about gang initiation on the local news last night. These girls were being raped in order to become members of the gang. I forget the details. That was enough for me.

There is a racial bias in the media. I don't think that is surprising.
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Old 05-22-2003, 06:57 PM
pinkyphimu pinkyphimu is offline
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a few months back, i saw a documentary about gangs. the focus was mainly on female gangs and i was shocked to hear these women speak about why they would want to be in a gang. personally, i was thinking why would these girls do these terrible things...what could they possible get from being a part of a gang. then the women explained that they were searching for....sisterhood...someone to be there always...family...support...acceptance... so many of those are reasons that people tend to join glos. as for gang initiations, this particular documentary highlighted several different activities. some of which included the "members" being abusive to the "initiates" as well as making the "initiates" perform acts such as killing or stealing. i can't imagine that at any time in history as part of a pledge program for a glo, new members were asked to kill someone else. it is very interesting to parallel gangs and glos.
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Old 05-22-2003, 07:17 PM
Honeykiss1974 Honeykiss1974 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by FuzzieAlum
To repeat myself: "If my gang beats me up to test my toughness so I can get in, that's hazing."
But if one gang beats up another, that is not hazing.

Exactly, that is why I am saying that this is NOT an example of hazing, so to repeat myself, why is this story being pawned off as that? Yes, you can argue the technicalities of the word hazing, but seriously, let's call it what it is...
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Last edited by Honeykiss1974; 05-22-2003 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 05-22-2003, 07:48 PM
FuzzieAlum FuzzieAlum is offline
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The legal reason not to consider this hazing is that many hazing laws require the activity to occur in a student organization; some laws go so far as to require the organization be school-recognized. If what you're saying, Honeykiss, is that under those laws this is not prosecutable, you are absolutely correct. I was wrong earlier when I said it didn't have to be a structured organization.

If we decide to limit our use of the word "hazing" to the legal definition, however, then violent gang initiations are not hazing either, since gangs are definitely not school-recognized.

More colloquially, I think hazing is used slightly more broadly, and I would include this high school assault in that slightly broader definition. No one else need accept anyone else's colloquialisms, of course, but I do think that from the other responses here that many people accept a wider definition of "hazing" than just violence pertaining to school groups - as most of us called gang initiation hazing. I don't think that for most of us the intent of calling this hazing is to whitewash the serious of what occurred, double entendre intended.

Here is one anti-hazing law; it happens to be West Virginia's but is very similar to most states'. The behavior described in it is similar to much of what occurred in the high school incident, but the unsanctioned powder puff game would not qualify as "any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized by an institution of higher education."

Hazing" means to cause any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health
or safety of another person or persons or causes another person or persons to destroy or remove public or private property
for the purpose of initiation or admission or affiliation with, or as a condition of continued membership with, any organization
operating under the sanction of or recognized by an institution of higher education. The term included, but is not limited to,
any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other
substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of an individual or
individuals, and includes any activity which would subject the individual or individuals to extreme mental stress, such as
sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment; or any
other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual or individuals, or any willful
destruction or removal of public or private property: Provided, That the implied or expressed consent or willingness of a
person or persons to hazing shall not be a defense under this section.

*just edited to add that some laws are considerably broader, such as Arkansas' - see http://www.uca.edu/divisions/student/greeks/hazing.htm
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