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  •  Right (17+ / 0-)

    Well, I work in juvenile defense (or I did, for the last five months, and that's public defense, too). And I could cite dozens of instances of concrete, specific racism if it wouldn't violate the rules of professional conduct.

    There is nothing vague about it.

    I'm growing VERY tired of the apologetics that some members of this site are engaging in. It's wrong-headed, naive, nefarious, or some combination of those three.

    I could write many volumes of diaries with empirical data detailing why your anecdotal claims are empty. Yes, zero tolerance policies sweep up lots of kids, white ones included. NO that does not mean they are applied equally.

    "We forward in this generation, triumphantly."

    by Grizzard on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:12:49 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  The odds of a white kid getting off for this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2, jhannon

      approach zero.

      You imagine school districts care wouldn't care about hydrochloric acid being sprayed around on school property?  Think lawsuits.  School districts have little interest in being bankrupted by parents whose kids' eyes were damaged on school property.

      As I have stated, the arrest charges were absurd.  But there is no way a kid doing this wouldn't get suspended--whether white, black, Asian, Southern Baptist, honors student, or teacher's daughter.

      It's 2013 and, for better or worse, it's a new world out there.

      •  Suspended, quite possibly. BUt that's not what (18+ / 0-)


        Look, your comment about an assailant and victim both being suspended is a reflection of what's wrong with zero tolerance, and I agree that white kids as well as kids of color get hurt.  But still, I've read studies of disparities in punishment of white and black youths, for the same infraction, matched for age and by whether they had had previous disciplinary actions.  Schools may say "zero tolerance," but it doesn't come out the same.  Just as (by FBI stats) kids found with marijuana are more likely to be arrested if they're black than if they're white.  And those arrested are more likely to go to trial if they're black, and those who are convicted are more likely to be given jail time if they're black.  I know that's not the law, but it's what happens.  Racism is insidious and often unconscious, and there are many ways for people in charge to define situations as different when their assumptions lead them to.

        We shouldn't need to fight over this.  We should be able to see that a) our country has gone a little nuts since "Homeland Security" took over our thinking; and 2) zero tolerance is a crappy concept in which adults decide they don't need to make responsible decisions case by case; and 3) racial disparities in the treatment of students is still a serious problem, especially when class differences are involved too.  

        --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

        by Fiona West on Thu May 23, 2013 at 03:56:17 PM PDT

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        •  Fair enough. I am in complete agreement. (9+ / 0-)

          I agree that a suspension would have been the appropriate response.  
          All your points are very reasonable and well stated.  

        •  That all could be true. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Be Skeptical

          But that does not mean that it applies in this specific case. Your arguments are statistical in nature, and as you know not all cases come out the same way. That is why it is fine to bring race up as part of this conversation, but it is not fine to accuse the administrators in this story of racism. There is a difference between the general and the specific.

          •  That's going to be hard to prove (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            since the girl is black, and the overwhelming historical precedent is against her color.  

          •  The argument may be statistical, but the harm is (4+ / 0-)

            not general.  It is very specific.  The way our school system doles out punishment causes very real harm to specific individual youths. And while harm strikes youths of all colors, the fact is that if consistently and repeatedly strikes black and hispanic youths more often than white.  Lives are damaged.  The damage may be quite high, and some will not recover.  

            This is why the concept of institutional racism is so important.  Whether the DA (or whatever her title is -- I can't remember) -- whether she feels personal animosity toward blacks or not, the system itself shows ongoing institutionalized racism.  Harm is being done, and that harm is disproportionately directed at certain young people, who are distinguished by their color.  You can't expect people not to talk about that, not to point out that race is involved here, not to be upset and angry.

            Granted, it's confusing to talk about racism when moving between individual and institutional levels.  There's a system here which has serious racially discriminatory impacts, even tho not all people running the system may want it to.  So that's confusing.  But we have to talk about it anyway, or it keeps going forever.

            --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

            by Fiona West on Thu May 23, 2013 at 07:36:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The fact is that I strongly suspect this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Naniboujou, jplanner

              DA (or whatever) of personal racism.  She told the cop to remove the girl to a detention center and file felony charges against her --AS AN ADULT -- pretty drastic action, in my view, to take without waiting to investigate the situation.  Maybe she would have done the same thing if the girl had been white.  You'll have to excuse me for doubting it.  

              But the key thing is that the system is racist, and if that's going to change, people will have to demand careful consideration of whether or not it's being applied fairly in any given case. The DA was not showing careful consideration. She was acting as if a 16 year old were a throw-away item.  Whether that was because of personal racism, or "merely" because of lack of understanding of how the system actaully works, or callous indifference, or political considerations, or whatever -- it's appropriate to raise some hell.

              --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

              by Fiona West on Thu May 23, 2013 at 07:54:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Anecdotal evidence better than no evidence (0+ / 0-)

      and I'm sorry you're so VERY tired of people who have different opinions and experience but it doesn't make them wrong-headed, naive, nefarious or anything else.  

      Try making a solid argument instead of unfounded assertions and name-calling.

      In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act--Orwell

      by jhannon on Thu May 23, 2013 at 08:42:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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