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  #1  
Old 05-22-2003, 02:04 PM
NinjaPoodle NinjaPoodle is offline
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Post Article re:Hazing-'Hazing' is a nice word for white kids who act violently

I'm also posting this in the hazing forum


'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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Last edited by NinjaPoodle; 05-23-2003 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 05-24-2003, 08:19 AM
SeriousSigma22 SeriousSigma22 is offline
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