Friday, April 22, 2005

Remember the Bullies

     I'll keep this short, since I rambled yesterday. One year ago, a bully victim in Clayton County, Georgia, was convicted and sentenced for fighting back against his tormenter with a pencil. The boy, Darryl Gray, left a scar on the bully's face. Darryl got 90 days probation, a $232 restitution fine (to the bully), and a permanent record. The bully got away with hitting Darryl, calling him gay, and urinating on him. But that was all in the past. Darryl's first response, the pencil attack, was caught and Darryl was punished. This all made national news, of course, and thousands of people were outraged at the injustice of it all. The question is, do you support Darryl's right to fight back, even if most of the bullying were done weeks or months earlier?
     Of course, what Darryl did was wrong. Even a pencil can blind a person or even kill them, especially if used towards the face. I still can't think of a better solution for Darryl and I'm not sure I would have done differently if I were in his shoes. Can you?
     The reason I ask is because people seem to think racism and old wounds have just disappeared into the past. The fairly recent Confederate Flag flaps in Georgia and South Carolina are good examples. Just because you may have forgotten the bullying and torment and terror the flag represented 50 years ago doesn't mean everyone has. Are we going to ask Southern Blacks to forget about what happened to them in their youth just because it's in the past? Or blackface. A recent comment here questioned what was so bad about a high school teacher wearing blackface to a school event. He commented that the movie "White Chicks" with the Wayans brother did not elicit such an outcry. Despite the fact that it was a lousy movie with a tasteless gimmick, there is no history of Blacks terrorizing Whites wearing "whiteface". There is a long history of White people terrorizing and lampooning Blacks with blackface. If you take these incidents at face value (despite the inanity of trying to compare behavior standards of movie stars vs high school teachers) and forget about the history, you're missing the real picture.
     We should never forget what bullies and terrorists and racists have done. Move on? Yes. Forgive? Perhaps. Forget? Never. The victim never forgets. The bully doesn't remember or care. Which one are you?

25 comments:

Ben said...

The kid should be punished for the pencil incident, and the people running the school ought to be censured for letting it get to this point. I read about this story when it first came out, and, if I remember correctly, both the kid and his parents went to the school multiple times to report the chronic bullying going on, and were ignored. If they had done their jobs, then this kid wouldn't have had to use violence to protect himself.

Mike said...

I can't agree with Darryl's behavior. He could have gone to his teacher or principle, but maybe he already did that. The punishment for Darryl fit the crime. What he did was wrong, but he acted in self defense so all he really got was a slap on the wrist. And I bet the bully won't bother him again.
Now, I'm not sure I see the connection between this story and racism in America. I guess you're saying whites bully blacks or at least they did in the past. So are saying blacks should be violent against whites and fight back? Or are you saying it would be wrong to do that?
Anyway, I think at some point people have to move on. When you think about it, it's kind of ridiculous for someone to hold a grudge against me because of something my great great grandparents might have done against their great great grandparents. Using that logic I guess I should hate all Jews since you know they did kill Jesus and persecute millions of Christians. In fact, I think I'm now offended by the star of David. I think it is a symbol of hate. And you know what, the british oppressed us 300 years ago so now I'm offended by the Union Jack. I demand they take it down. Of course, these are ridiculous examples but they are the same none-the-less.

Scott said...

Uh, Mike - we don't fly the Union Jack in the United States. And I'm not talking about issues that happened 2000 years ago or 200 years ago. I'm talking about something that happened in peoples' lifetimes. I did say move on. I also said that what Darryl did was wrong. Thirdly I said we should not forget. That means the people who can't get why blackface and Confederate flags and such are extraordinarily offensive to certain people need to remember that old scars don't disappear just because you want them to or because you have forgotten what caused them.

canis lupus said...

The sad thing is that this is not a rarity. As much as I hate to say it, we're going to see several more Columbines before dumb kids get the message. Ben, has a good point about the school letting it get to a certain point. The problem with most bullies is that they'll maintain compliance during school hours and when school lets out ... all's fair game. I speak from experience as a bullied kid. Unfortunately for my bully I grew up with a father with a military/law enforcement background. One day, the poor sap, hopped up on his own arrogance decided to attack me without his usual entourage. Let's just say he got the fear of God instilled in him and I'll leave it that. It gets better, his father (alpha male wannabe) showed up and started berating MY father over what I had done to his "angelic" son. He is shouting off, and my father just stood their talking to him calmly and staring him in the eye. It was uneventful however. This is the point, of all of the times my parents showed up to the school to deal with this situation, this kid's father was no where to be seen. Only his mother was present. This kid was suspended several times, because apparently I wasn't the only subject of his pummeling. After he returned from his suspension, he'd wait after school with his "posse" to mess with kids. Oh yes, this is junior high in California. Sometimes a lot of those bullies get their cues from their parents. So I'd add, maybe the parents of the perp might be at fault also.

Mike said...

This is an area where I kind of blame the baby-boomers. The veterans did away with segregation. The baby boomers invented this whole concept of political correctness. Growing up during the civil rights movement they value equality above all else. They remember segregatoin and see the world after it. They are obsessed with not offending anyone. Don't get me wrong, equality is good and all, but why can't we admit we all have differences and be comfortable with them? Why this need to erase and rewrite history? I read an article that said most kids in school these days couldn't give the names of important battles in the Revolutionary and Civil wars, but they could tell you about the underground railroad and how George Washington owned slaves. Most kids don't know what the Batan Death March is but they know we killed thousands of people with nuclear weapons. Not saying these aren't valuable things to know, but in school kids should be learning history first and morality second.

ORF said...

Mike, I agree with you that people are often over-sensitive in addition to being so crazy about not wanting to offend. It is perhaps for that reason that I will not apologize outright for the post on my site yesterday making fun of Sen. Santorum. If one thing is holy, it all is and by that logic, we'll never have any fun anymore.

I think that saying we are "erasing" history is a little strong. Primary histories, it has been said, are written by the victor. With that in mind, much of what has been recorded throughout human past has no doubt sought to cast the victor (often an agressor) in a positive light, doing away with any transgressions. I would say that a modern examination is so much erasing history altogether, but more carefully administering all of the facts.

Then again, it might not really matter in the long run since you are right that American students appear to be getting dumber by the nanosecond.

Mike said...

I'm not saying your comments were unholy. I'm just saying they were in bad taste. You don't have to apologize to me. I wasn't the one offended. I just didn't think your comments were appropriate considering what his family went through. In effect you were kicking a man when he was down.

ORF said...

Incidentally, that baby died in 1996. I think Senator Santorum has had a few years to pick himself up off the floor, Mike.

Mike said...

Oh well, that makes it ok then. Go ahead and make fun of his dead son. That's funny stuff.

Sylvana said...

I personally think that it is not only patriotic, but perhaps should be deemed traitorous to fly the Confederate flag. It does, after all, symbolize the desire for the South to seize a chunk of land from our nation in order to break away to become their own nation.
It also represnts the desire to continue slavery. This was one of the reason those states attempted to leave the union. And in this respect, this flag is highly disrespectful to blacks. Are you going to tell the Jews to just get over it? Fly that damn Nazi flag wherever you want! Those Jews are just getting all pussy PC!

Sylvana said...

As for your question Scott, I think that the fact that he has had to endure this bully for so long without any help from the adults that were supposed to help him, he should not get punished very much if at all. The kid had it coming! If there had been more damage I would agree with more of a punishment, but what else was this kid supposed to do? A person should be allowed to defend themselves.
I didn't have many bullies pick on me in school and certainly not for long, because no matter how big they were I never let them back me down. Toe to toe. Boy or girl. Sure they could probably beat the living hell out of me, but I sure wasn't going to make it easy for them and I sure as hell was going to try to do a little damage along the way. And the authority that we were supposed to go to was never helpful. If I didn't defend myself those people would have just tortured me worse and worse, because they would have no consequences to answer to.

sideshow bob said...

What about the bullies; where's their parade?

And don't worry , some day the charmed existence the Jews have led for so long will finally end, and they'll suffer like the rest of us do!

I think white people need to realize things will calm down eventually. Like right after you get in a fight with your wife, you tip-toe around for a while, make extra nice, and soon things return to normal. We all just need to chill. I really don't see race relations as being more strained than before, in fact I see quite the opposite. For all it's detractors, I think the whole PC thing has helped, or at least done nothing to harm, the atmosphere between the different races in this country. So calm down, everything will work out fine, no matter how much the governmant does to screw it up.

And come on, cuddling a fetus is crazy...crazy and funny.

Mike said...

I agree with Bob that things will calm down eventually. It's the baby boomers who make a big deal out of race. When you look at kids today I don't think it matters as much to them.

Sylvana said...

There are still plenty of racial problems. It is just far easier to pretend that there is nothing going on than to actually deal with it.

Kroopa Shah (Kr00pz) said...

There are still plenty of racial problems. It is just far easier to pretend that there is nothing going on than to actually deal with it.

Well I am not sure you can ignore something when its right in front of you.
How can you ignore the looks of a security guard who keeps staring at you in a store when you aren't doing anything wrong just because you are black?
This is just an example and you can't do anything about it unfortunately but how can you just ignore it?

Mike said...

All I'm saying is, with younger people race isn't as big a deal as it is with older people. Younger people tolerate interracial relationships alot better than older people do. I work with and have even hired many minorities and I don't think twice about it. But some of the older workers I know have a difficult time with it. I think time heals all wounds, but it takes both sides to have a willingness to get over the past. If you're going to hold it against the entire race when one person gives you a dirty look, you're just as bad as he is and we'll never get there.

Ben said...

I got a little pissed off at my boss. During the last round of hiring, when they were going to be hiring 7 new employees, I had a friend of mine interview, and I know he's qualified. He didn't get the job. The seven people that they did hire were ALL black women between 25 and 35. Not that I mind working with any of them, they all turned out great, but my friend was just as qualified, if not more so than any of them, so I think there's a definite emphasis on hiring minorities here. All I really want is for them to hire a blonde girl every once in a while.

ORF said...

I agree, Mike, that there is a reverse evolution about racial acceptance. My former boss was a 60-year-old jackass...I mean, man...from Tennessee. In spite of the fact that he himself was a gay male and had probably been subject to a fair amount of discrimination in his life, he would make really inappropriate racial comments on a fairly regular basis. He would comment on things that would never even have occured to me to base on someone's race or nationality.

My grandmother, one of the most well-mannered women alive, still sometimes refers to black people as "colored." I find it pretty offensive (and also mildly amusing because it's just so absurd), but she is 89 and I'm not inclined to ask her to change at this point because she's been saying it her entire life. And as far as I know, she has no interest in becoming a Grand Wizard, so I think we're safe.

untitled said...

wow. this was very interesting to read and i was appalled by the story about the child and the pencil. that is so sad that it got so bad for that kid that he actually felt that it was necessary to fight back. i know from personal experience of what it is like to be bullyed and to be called gay. i was tormented when i was in 6th grade. i was followed around the recess area and yelled at by a group of guys and i thought that it was like hell. However,i know that there are far worse situations that happen to kids. There was nothing of the sorts like urinating on me or anything but i still can empatize with this child. I think it was wrong for him to use a pencil but i can see where that action came from obviously from my experience. but overall i feel that the whole thing was solved very unfairly and i am outraged....

dane

*www.savantfriends.blogspot.com*

TheMockTurtle said...

Speaking as someone who was bullied during High School I have to say that yes, what he did was justified. I remember when bullies tormented me during class and the teacher did absolutly nothing. If kids think that no one will listen to them they will lash out. I certainly think that bully may think twice next time.

Internet Street Philosopher said...

I think that the child did what he could, considering the circumstances. Now I think using a pencil on a bully in a school situation is extreme, but the kid had a right to defend himself. The bully will leave him alone. The school system should look at their own failings before trying to down the kid.

And with the racism issue, people don't always do things like blackface in order to be racist. No, thats called ignorance. If we don't study history and examine throughly the horrors of the past, then we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. If it was a perfect world, White Chicks would have have never been made.

Sylvana said...

Kroopa Shah- that is a very good question. I myself am quite aware of many of the problems that non-whites face in this country and it always facinates me how other whites can just look past it as if it really isn't going on.
In some respects things have gotten better, but the racism in this contry hasn't gone away it has just gone covert.

Mike said...

ORF, I know the frustration of older people and the terms they use. In my last job I hired the first African-American to every work there. I didn't think twice about it, but some of my employees, particularly the baby boomers, really stressed over it. They told me I had changed the entire workplace and now they would have to be careful what they said for fear of being charged with harassment. Thankfully it all worked out and for the most part there were no problems. I think everyone learned something from that experience and everyone who worked there was better for it.
Now, something that did upset me, was one day when this new employee and I were talking about college and he said, "people like me can't go to college." I told him he could go to college b/c there is lots of financial aid out there for needy people. He refused to accept this and insisted that blacks have a disadvantage in this country. I have a real problem with that. Nobody tells them they can't vote. Nobody tells them they can't go to college. I hate when minorities play the victim card. When life deals you a bad hand you can either sit around and feel sorry for yourself or you can get up and do something about it. I think too many people sit around feeling sorry for themselves.

ORF said...

Yeah....
My ten foot pole happens to be broken at the moment. Consequently, I will not be touching the "minorities playing the victim" item on the docket. That was brave of you, Mike.

Ben said...

I think a lot of you are forgetting some things. One, the United States is one fo the least racist countries in the world. Arab countries make it not very pleasant for non-Arab non-Muslim people (that's why there are almost now Jews or Christians left in middle east Arab countries). The Japanese? it's hard to be openly racist when there's less than 1% population of a different race. Same goes with China, except there the racism is region by region, not countrywide. Europe and South America have their share of racial tensions. In France a few weeks ago there was a protest by mostly white schoolchildren, and they were attacked by gangs of blacks and Arabs, who, in their own words, wanted to beat the dirty white Frenchies. Australia has had well publicized problems integrating the aborigines into their modern country. Africa? Well besides aparthied, which, though ended, still cats a long shadow over South Africa, you can add in the recent racially-motivated problems in the Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, etc. You name the country, I can find worse racism than in the United States. Not that I'm saying we should just stop trying to be better, just that people like to hype our problems like Americans are a bunch of racist assholes, when in fact we're far more tolerant than most societies on this planet we all have to share. Heck, even the recent trend of anti-Arab racism in this country has an obvious cause. If Arabs hadn't been behind the worst terrorist attack to ever hit our shores, then Arabs wouldn't be so suspect to the average American (except the average American Jew, who sees venomous anti-semetic tirades delivered from the pulpit in mosques all over the world every day, and who probably has distant relatives affected by suicide bombers in Israel).