Thanks to Minority Militant, Alpha-Asian, AngryAsianMan, Field, and, well, just about everyone else, for bringing some attention to the racial violence taking place at South Philadelphia High School. We’re not seeing it very much in the mainstream media, so I think it’s good that bloggers are “covering” it. (I put “covering” in parentheses since we’re just linking to a mainstream account.)
The story is as follows: around 30 Asian American students at South Philadelphia High were physically attacked for racial reasons on December 3rd and are now boycotting school until officials do something to stop the ongoing violence. According to most reports, the violence and ethnic intimidation have been going on for some time, and the school administrators have a history of sweeping it under the rug. The students are afraid for their lives and have vowed not to go back or “negotiate” with school officials unless community leaders are present. South Philly is 70% black and 18% Asian, and reports say that the attacks were largely a black-on-Asian event.
First, let me just say that I think it’s ridiculous that these kids have to “negotiate” their own safety. People negotiate when there are hostages, or when someone is threatening to blow up a building, or in other situations where life and death and severe injury are at stake. Kids SHOULDN’T be negotiating over going to school. The Field Negro blog rightly quotes and takes to task one of these school administrators:
“What gets lost in all of this is the fact that the school, the community and the students have worked hard over the past two years to foster that kind of positive learning environment,” said James Golden, the school district’s chief safety executive. “Despite what happened this week, that positive learning environment prevails.”
HAHAHA…HOOO BOY. This guy is the “school district’s chief safety executive,” and he’s saying that there is a “positive learning environment?” Well, it doesn’t sound all that positive to me if you’re one of these Asian students being beaten, nor does it sound positive if you’re one of the gang roaming the halls looking for an Asian person to beat. Unless “safety” means telling kids not to run with scissors, it sounds to me like he’s deflecting crimes that took place under his watch as the “safety executive.”
This is one of those issues where some will play the field halfway by making this into an anti-black tirade by the media. I was extremely disappointed by one APAP blogger’s politically correct “let’s just blame the mainstream media” viewpoint which says,
Chen and his peers are looking beyond law enforcement mechanisms to foster a more secure campus. Let’s be real here: South Philadelphia High is 70 percent Black and 18 percent Asian. The “disciplining” of those involved in the attacks often translates into the further criminalization of youth of color. High school students in Philly, New York in the Midwest, the South, and yes, even in California, are being taunted and physically attacked for being Asian, and yet schools and police respond by criminally prosecuting kids. What these perpetrators did is wrong. But how will these measures curb the racism and hostility faced by Asian immigrant students?
These incidents of cross-cultural, interpersonal violence warrant the creation of strong, anti-oppression curriculum that avouches the powerful stereotypes generated by the systemic relations between this nation’s racial groups. And it’s no help that the model minority myth, which mainstream coverage of anti-Asian violence often perpetuates, has long pitted Asian Americans against other communities of color.
Um, what? It’s amazing how the author criticizes “mainstream coverage” of the media and not the violence itself. Read her entire post and count the times she criticizes the violence. I’m not sure she even does it once. And creating an “anti-oppression curriculum” isn’t going to work if the Asian kids aren’t going to school and the kids who beat them are not going to class.
The author says “let’s be real.” So let’s REALLY get REAL. Let’s not talk about model minority myths or criminalization of youth of color by the media. Instead of dancing around this issue, let’s just call it what it is: a crime. The kids who beat down the Asian kids commited a CRIME, and they need to face some disciplinary measures. They also need to be separated from the good kids so they don’t attack again. According to reports, it’s a trend rather than a single incident. These violent people are criminals, and they need to be treated as such. And adults like James Golden, who have big fancy titles but don’t seem to take any responsibility for the job they are hired to do, also need to face some form of discipline–for both wasting taxpayers money and for endangering these poor children. Somebody needs to be fired or placed on leave.
Now I know that some “activists” want to attack the media or deflect blame from the guilty. It’s the easy thing to do, and people at least think it will help them to say something without making enemies. But it’s also a complete waste of my time and yours. As uRB4N said in the IR podcast, if you want to fix a problem, you need to begin by identifying it. African American bloggers like Field Negro and Latoya and Asian American bloggers like Minority Militant and AlphaAsian have taken the courageous step of identifying the problem. It’s a combination of violent kids supported by incompetent administrators who help perpetuate a racially hostile culture. We’d best follow the leads of these courageous bloggers rather than taking the politically correct approach of blaming some phantom societal force. We’d best be urging the responsible parties to take responsibility. There are some longer term steps that we ought to take–as Latoya, Field, and others point out–but right now we need to face the immediate problem by stopping the violence.
So here’s what you can do about it:
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has said that it will file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice against the Philadelphia School District. On MinorityMilitant’s blog, there is a reader who has pledged to match donations up to a total of $100. Go to TMM’s site and leave a comment to let them know how much you’re giving. (I have no idea how we can make sure the reader fulfills his end of the bargain. On the other hand, how would he know if I were to lie about my donation? Hmm…okay, everyone is on the honor system here.)
Make sure you specify that your money is going towards the civil rights complaint against the Philadelphia School District. This is very important because the AALDEF also promotes some questionable agendas like giving an award to Nicholas Kristof and blindly supporting reverse racism, I mean, affirmative action, so you want to make sure your money goes to the good things they do and not to the bad things. Under the designation, I wrote: “Money to be used ONLY for civil rights complaint against Philadelphia School District.” Honor system again–AALDEF, please don’t spend my money to legalize racism and to keep my son or the next Jian Li out of college.
I donated $20. It’s not a lot; this year has been rough. But hopefully TMM’s guy will match it, and hopefully we’ll inspire more gifts. Happy holidays, AALDEF. Let’s use our influence to protect these kids.