This is a guest post by Big Man, who blogs at Raving Black Lunatic.
Game Done Changed
When I was a little kid, there was a simple rule that governed fights at school.
Always get the other guy to swing first.
Kid logic dictated that if you enticed the other guy to throw the first punch, you couldn't be held liable for what happened after that. This meant engaging in complicated rituals that involved walking around and around in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, daring the other kid to swing first. Sometimes, unruly bystanders might grab one participant's hand and make him hit the other guy just to get the fight started.
Unfortunately, most teachers and school administrators didn't agree with our rock solid kid logic. Invariably, they would punish both students and turn a deaf ear to our pleas about who started the brawl. Sometimes, not being the aggressor would win brownie points with parents, but there was no guarantee.
I thought about kid logic and adult logic when I read this piece which was linked to at the Angry Asian Man blog.
Seems that a Korean student in Canada was handling his business in some game called "speedball" when one of his pale classmates decided he didn't appreciate his prowess and called him an "effing Chinese." The Korean student let homeboy know that racial slurs aren't good business, and the white dude decided to haul off and punch him in the mouth.
And that's where the story gets interesting. See, the Korean student is actually a black belt in a martial arts discipline. However, instead of unleashing the full fury of his fists, he only gives the white cat one good shot to the nose with his weaker hand. And he breaks the cat's nose.
Now, school officials not only suspended both students, but the police actually arrested the Korean student and some folks are talking about kicking him out of school permanently. There was recently a community march to support what he did, and complain about bullying, but school officials are still taking a hard line stance.
What's really good?
I mean, this seems pretty clear cut to me. The kids got in a fight. One kid started the fight by being racist, and by being a bully. Unfortunately for him, he picked on a kid who actually knew how to defend himself, and who had no problems beating his butt. The End.
Part of me doesn't think the Korean kid should even get suspended. Sure, he was fighting, but when somebody is throwing around slurs and punches, I think fighting is warranted. I know officials want you to run and find a teacher, but that ain't realistic in my opinion. In real life, becoming a snitch will only make your problems worse, and taking the strictly non-violent approach is guaranteed to get you future beatings from bullies. Your best bet is to attempt to diffuse the situation, and then use the bare minimum of force if that doesn't work.
It sounds like that's exactly what the Korean teenager did in this instance, and yet he's the one being punished excessively. This is mindboggling, yet not truly surprising. After all, what this story really boils down to is what happens when minorities respond to racism outside of the "accepted" channels.
During the Civil Rights era, 60 minutes journalist Mike Wallace did a piece on the Nation of Islam called "The Hate that Hate produced." It was an inside look at the black nationalist, religious group that focused primarily on their views about white people being devils, and their paramilitary leanings. The piece catapulted Malcolm X into the national consciousness and forever framed the NOI.
I've often wondered why 60 minutes spent so much time on the response to hate, but nowhere near that much time on the actual hate itself? I mean, there was no show dedicated to the violence the KKK and other domestic terrorist organizations were inflicting on black people at the time. There was no in-depth study of how racism affected housing, education and quality of life. Nope, hatred only became news when black folks started arming themselves and clearly outlining the source of their misery. 2520s.
That seems pretty analogous to the situation with this Canadian teenager. The racism isn't the the school's concern, the violence because of racism wasn't their initial concern either. Instead, the big problem is the fact that this Asian kid had the audacity to strike back, and strike back so forcefully, that there can be no doubt of his ability to protect his interests.
I guess that's a game changer.