Tuesday, May 12, 2009

clamp down harder on non-white violence

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.


  1. I live in Canada and have followed this story. What was great about this is that over two hundred and fifty students felt that Korean student was undeserving of punishment and staged a walk out. The Korean students parents are 1) and Lawyer and 2) a Publicist so they did not take this lying down. This prompted me to rethink the definition of violence. If you know a word has the power to incite somebody and you use it, isn't it the SAME as throwing a punch? I hope the parents of white dude are taken to task for raising a fool and I hope the Board of Education fires the Administration of the school for clearly ignoring the racism in this incident. It was NOT fair that both of them were suspended when only one of them was wrong.

  2. Michael

    In American law, there are actually words called "fighting words" where if somebody lobs these around, they do not get the same protection under the law if a battery then occurs.

    Do a google search on "figthing words doctrine." I actually should have included that in my post.

  3. Yes, good post, thank you Big Man. It's also not just that white violence gets clamped down on less. It sometimes gets let off completely, like those Pennsylvania kids who killed the Mexican immigrant. This is all definitely an example of a Thing White People Do, and in that case it was an all-white jury more or less freeing all-white suspects.

  4. I'm surprised they didn't try to get the Korean student put up on "attempted murder" charges, like they did with those kids in Jena, LA (cause you know dem Orientals 'r' like dangerous weapons wit' all dem kung fu skils).

    The Korean student's actions are a clear case of self defense in my mind, so I'm not so sure he should have gotten suspended much less brought up on charges.

    P.S. I chose you for a blog award.

  5. Great post Big Man! I agree the asian kid should never even have been suspended as he was only defending himself. A good and impartial (non racist) teacher would have seen to it that the white kid would have been reprimanded for his behaviour instead.
    Hey, I like to hear that over 250 students staged a walk out in support of the asian kid.

  6. Somehow I doubt you'd be accepting the same argument if it was a white kid beating down a black for talking crap, but we'll see.

  7. Who's "you," Anonymous? The writer of this post or the person running this blog?

    And what do you mean by "we'll see"?

    And before you answer, you should read this post on Abagond's blog; it might manage to extinguish your common white desire to compare a bicycle to a car.

  8. It was encouraging to read that 250 students walked out in protest against the school's decision to suspend the Korean student. One could argue that they were not only protesting against unfairness but racism itself. IMO, that's pretty rare.

    On the other hand, it was discouraging that school officials suspended the Korean student for defending himself against verbal and physical racist behavior.

    But I am not surprised. It's the common outcome I am most familiar with, and expect. It's good to know that his parents have the resources to fight back for their son. Might as well make it a family affair!

  9. What happened to the Korean kid was wrong.

    That being said, re: "fighting words"

    Does someone calling someone else a racial slur give the person who was called the racial slur the right to use physical violence? Why or why not?

    Does someone calling someone else a slur of any type give the person who was called the slur the right to use physical violence? Why or why not?

  10. Macon D,

    How can you be taken credibly when you are intentionally leaving out most of the details about this "racist" event?

    As myblackfriendsays alluded to it is not clear from any of the articles that the white kid actually started the physical confrontation.

    Secondly, WHY are we to believe that being called an "effing Chinese" when one is Korean is offensive and tormenting?

    Has anyone mentioned that the Korean has a lawyer in the family?

    Has anyone read the quotes by the mother that sound like recitations from liberal anti-racism 101.

    This has manufactured outrage written all over it and you attempt to suppress this fact because you seed the desire for this fact.

  11. I could not find the original articel, but from what I get out of the Globe and Mail, the white kid started with the reacial slur and threw the first punch!
    Qoute:" A hate-crime investigator continues to probe the fight that led to the suspension of a 15-year-old Korean student at a high school in Keswick, Ont.The youth began his first day at a special centre for suspended students yesterday, still unsure whether the boy he says racially abused and then punched him will face charges."

  12. Can you imagine if black players brawled all the time in basketball games like white players do in ice hockey games?

  13. Steffie,

    Yes, all the tales tell of the white kid punching first, but they also all say that after the "racial slur" (huh?) that pushing and shoving ensued before two punches were thrown.

    So who actually started the physical confrontation is unknown.

  14. It doesn't help that schools tend to have fucked-up rules about fights in the first place...

  15. Which rules would those be, Titanus?

  16. @Linda - your example here in PA is what came to mind for me as well. Lots of people around here were saying that since it was a fight that simply went too far, or that the Mexican dude was the only actual adult, he should have had the maturity to walk away. (not to mention some people even saying if he hadn't been in this country, yuk yuk yuk).

    They are missing the point. The guy was out-numbered and beat to a pulp, while the white kids had narry a scratch. That doesn't sound like a fight.

    @Titanis - not sure where you were going with that, but some schools to not allow fighting at all, whether you instigate or retaliate. I'm not a fan of escalating violence, but having that as a policy actually promotes bullying because bullying is all about intimidation - not the actual physical violence.

    As far as this argument about who instigated - let's just take that at face value. It's still not clear why one kids would garner worse punishment then the other.

  17. GDS,

    If the Korean received harsher punishment then it is plausible that he actually started the physical confrontation.

    Calling a Korean an "effing Chinese" is hardly insulting and is no excuse to start a physical confrontation if that is the case.

  18. So, Thor how do you know what is isulting to a korean kid????

  19. Troglodyte says Calling a Korean an "effing Chinese" is hardly insulting and is no excuse to start a physical confrontation if that is the case.Yeah it is, it is dismissing him as an individual and implying that he does not belong to *this* society, it shows the racism of the white kid who prefers to lump all East Asian-looking people into a nationality that's not even theirs. It's disrespectful.

    Not too long ago a white male driver cut me off (he went through a give way sign) and had the nerve to call out "damn chinese" to me. I'm not even Chinese. And he was the one diobeying a traffic signal! And there was NOTHING to even indicate that I'm an immigrant, of which I'm not but it shouldn't matter anyway. And yet I still felt really insulted as I only consider myself of the country I was born in and it's NOT in Asia somewhere either. And yes, I can speak English in case you were wondering.

  20. Thordaddy - can you please stop taking the name of my god in vain? It's embarrassing.

    (I figure it's easier to ask for that than to ask you to stop being a racist ass. But if you'd like to go two for two, by all means, be my guest.)

  21. Steffie,

    I don't... And that's the entire point, isn't it?

  22. You did Thordaddy! Quote: "Calling a Korean an "effing Chinese" is hardly insulting"

  23. Steffie,

    Maybe this is a little hard to comprehend for someone who is a liberal?

    The built-in assumption is that calling a Korean an "effing Chinese" is "racist" and therefore insulting. Yet, this is nothing but naked assertion. It's just as likely that the Korean was not insulted at all because he is not an "effing Chinese."

    But the underlying point is still the same. "Racism" amounts to nothing more than the perception of a non-white person in certain negative situations involving whites. A perception that does nothing to clarify as to WHY a Korean would be insulted by being called a "effing Chinese."

    Can you tell us why such a scenario is "racist" and how highly questionable verbal "racism" gives non-whites the justification to commit violence?

    Afterall, it is still not clear who started the physical confrontation? Aren't you interested to know before you make yourself look like a lackey for the anti-racism crusade?

  24. Thankfully, charges were dropped.


  25. Thordaddy, calling someone "effing" anything, is allways meant as an insult and taken by most people as such. Now the aricle stated that the Korean kids was offended by the name calling.
    I asked a friend from the Philippines and she said that she would have been offended, because she's not chinese and it´s meant to be a refference to her asian features.( making it sound like all asians look alike)
    Just out of curiosity thordaddy, do you have any close friends that are not white?
    Oh and please know, I´m just here to state my opinion and not to win a beauty contest, so I do not care how you see me.

  26. Steffe,

    I actually know three South Koreans. One of them I've known since the age of three. Is this relevant in any way?

    But again, are you saying that being called "effing Chinese" is justification to start a physical confrontation?

  27. Thordaddy, my question was not relevant to the topic at all ,I was just curious.
    Now I am usualy a non violent person but there are exceptions. When my son at the age of 7 started school over here he was constantly harrasses at school and the teachers more or less ignored it. Some kids felt the need to run behind him and scream the "N word"(repeatedly). Since the teachers did not do anything I told my son to warn the kid politely and if he would not stop to hit him once, but good. It worked for my son.
    My daughter, who went to another school had the same problem, but she had good teachers. When they asked the kid why he was doing what he did he replied: "She insulted me in her effing african language".He did get in trouble for harassing my daughter and for that statement. Did get some serious detention, had to write a letter of apology, read it out loud in class and was told that if there was one more incident, that he would have to leave the school.
    So, I do think at times when the harassment just get's to be too much and nobody is helping you, one has the right to defend themself. I´m talking about repeated harassment here.

  28. Steffe,

    I agree that after repeated harassment by a bully and wilfull incompetence by teachers that a person can take matters into their own hands. That's also why I think that the liberal zero-tolerance policy is doomed to fail.

    It says WE CAN'T distinguish between good actors and bad actors.

  29. Wow. Well I feel that it's extremely unfair that the Korean student is possibly going to be expelled. I think that he should have been counseled after but not expelled and the other kid got what he deserved. Now he'll know better than to resort to racist tendencies when he's upset.

  30. I hope I'm not derailing this thread but one thing I've noticed, at least when it comes to Youtube video commentaries, is that for the most part when movie scenes depict violence between non-whites (take for example the sacrificial scenes in Apocalypto) there's is almost never a moment when someone doesn't spout something about the un-Christian heathen savages/illegals (because somehow modern-day people of Southern Mexico and Central America inherited that bloodthirst somehow, yet when clips depict acts of violence (the bloody disturbing beheadings in the Tudors series) it's nothing but talk about history with little to do on how those European societies were themselves acting brutally and quite savagely. I don't see much talk about the historical and social upheavals and orders that should complement the reasons behind Meso-American customs, the falls of kings and how that impacted Meso-society at all like is always expected when white societies are studied and talked about. Just my 2 cents.


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