Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Get to the back of the bus

Well, since the left blogosphere is going nuts over the allegations of black kids sent to the back of the bus: Folks, I'd suggest keeping a whole box full of salt (not just a grain of salt) handy. I know the bus supervisor for the Red River Parish schools personally, he is a military retiree and also supervises a bunch of other stuff (he's the truant officer, the discipline officer, the student information systems officer, etc.) and indeed recruited a number of black teachers for the school district from the ranks of fellow military retirees. This is a school district which has been successfully integrated for years now, both in the schools and in the employee corps, where there have been multiple black principals in the past 20 years and multiple black central office administrators in the past 20 years. This isn't Little Rock circa 1956 with a white governor standing in the doorway of an all-white school saying "no nigger is ever gonna attend Little Rock High". This is the 21st century, folks.

I don't know the Williams kids personally (it's been over 10 years since I taught in the Red River Parish schools, they would have been toddlers), but I do know the type. There are certain areas of Red River Parish that are, let us say, inbred. Some are black areas, some are white areas. Their kids go to school because the law says they have to, but let us just say they go to school for all the wrong reasons -- lunch and entertainment.

Any 16 year old girl who is still in middle school (Red River has two schools -- a combined elementary-middle school, and a high school) is one thing and one thing only: Trouble with a capital "T". I probably taught her mother's younger sister, and I can tell you that at that point, they go to school for no reason other than meals and entertainment -- entertainment being to see in how many ways they can torment their fellow students, bus drivers, and teachers. I had one of the 16 year old middle school students tell me that he hadn't done any school work since the 4th grade, wasn't going to do any now, and his granny didn't care. I asked his 4th grade teacher (who was the black principal of this particular school) whether that was true, and she said "yeah".

So did it happen or no? Well, all we have is the word of the student. I can tell you as someone who was personally lied about by 16 year old black middle school students in Red River Parish that they are very well aware of the power of accusations of racism, and will make unwarranted accusations in a heartbeat if you're "mean to them" (i.e., expect them to behave like normal kids rather than as violent criminals). They have the school administration cowed there in that parish with their ability to call in the Office of Civil Rights in a heartbeat to make the school district spend thousands of dollars defending themselves against something they didn't do, and I can very well imagine that if the bus driver got peeved at a black kid and wrote her up, the black kid would make an unfounded complaint of racial bias. Been there, done that, told them to "Go fuck yourself" and got out of there, if the kids don't want to learn and their parents don't give a shit I don't see why I should bother.

In short: Take this with a grain of salt. Racism most certainly isn't dead in Red River Parish, but it's most certainly dead in the Red River Parish School District, and they have the legal scars and track record to prove it. My guess is that these kids decided to gang up on that white bus driver because she was "mean to them" i.e. expected them to behave like students rather than criminals (and yes, they do that, been there, done that) and they know that an unwarranted accusation of racism will get them assigned a different bus driver who will perhaps be more tolerant of their bullying of smaller kids, screaming, and throwing of food and other objects. And it succeeded.

-- Badtux the Former Teacher Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 8/26/2006 11:31:00 AM  


Indeed. Thank you for pointing out that things may not always be as they are first reported.
# posted by K. Ron Silkwood : 26/8/06 12:51 PM  

Yes, we see the same thing here in Montgomery, Alabama. Racism accusations are always big news, and the word of the accuser is taken as the truth because that makes better news.

Racism is long from dead here in the Heart of the Civil Rights Movement. It is just subtle. Come to Montgomery if you still want to see segragation, but it is the legal kind. The all white Christian and "expensive" Academies, and the all black public schools. Racism didn't go away down here, it is just went 'politically correct'.
# posted by niCk (Mem Beth) : 26/8/06 2:03 PM  

but it is the legal kind
that's us out in arizona. when i moved back here from california i was unpleasantly surprised at the depth and power of the segregation here. it's not de jure but the more pernicious de facto of course we have a huge mormon population and, regardless of what they tell the media their god still tells them that god made those folks into darkies on account of sin.
# posted by The Minstrel Boy : 28/8/06 9:15 AM  

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