Krsiten Cochran 
Member since Jan 7, 2008


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Re: “Racial Tensions Boil Over at Berkeley High

This story portrays the predictable "Gotcha" result of a social situation where black teens routinely use a word considered highly racist, and then nonblack teens, copycatting as teens will, inevitably fall into the "Gotcha" trap, and find themselves in very hot water because they did and said as they saw others do and say. Is adolescent copycatting to be considered racism? At this point, I'm not sure I even know what "racism" is any more, since "racist" has become such a frequently flung accusation that the term is in danger of becoming meaningless. In any case "racism" seems to be getting more than its share of air time. Let's consider some other oppressions for a change...in my view, sexism needs more air time. Would 200 students walk out of Berkeley High School because a female person was referred to by the B-word?

Posted by Kristen Cochran on 06/23/2009 at 3:25 PM

Re: “Party 2 Nite. R U Going?

Michael:
I appreciate your willingness to debate. I'm glad to hear you don't condone the random violence out on the streets. In some ways you and I are focusing on different themes, which interrelate and exist side by side. We've both stated many of our points of view, thus hopefully assisting the potential of all for further dialogue in other places at other times. Since continued exchange may simply involve each of us reiterating what we've already said, it may be time to wrap up. This will be my last post.

You ask me to give you an alternative to your life style and a way of obtaining it. That isn't my responsibility. I am not the Lord and Savior of the public school system, or of the street crime problem. I am just one person presenting her views on an opinion forum, like yourself, and my primary interest is in exchanging ideas & stimulating thinking, which, like the simple and valuable act of pointing out problems, is the first step in any structural or personal change. I have previously clearly mentioned several areas where I see problems existing, and suggested corrective options. You're free to take in what I have said, or ignore it. For my part, I have been effected by what you and others have written, and I take away some of your thoughts with me.

Poverty isn't the cause of crime. There is enormous poverty in India, for instance, and very little violent crime such as we have on our streets. Moral depravity and a violent thug culture are causes of crime. I leave you all with this comment, posted today in the San Francisco Chronicle by a man upset about the recent armed robbery that resulted in a paralyzing injury to a 10 year old piano student on Piedmont Avenue:

"If you allow your kids to adopt the thug dress -- you're guilty. Allow them to talk gangsta -- you're guilty. Roam with gangstas -- you're guilty. There's a whole thug culture out there that needs to be stamped out. You can tell how pervasive it is when suburban kids adopt and affect it. It makes me ill that it is allowed." --Bryan Adams, 51, San Francisco.


Kristen

Posted by Kristen Cochran on 01/12/2008 at 1:52 PM

Re: “Party 2 Nite. R U Going?

Michael:

I hear that you've given advice on how to function safely within Berkeley High. I don't disagree with you on the part about learning how to avoid creating tension, learning how to be as you call it "chill." The part where I part ways with you is in going the step further that you seem to have taken where instead of just learning how to AVOID problems, you state that you "accept the thug life willingly" and even desire thugs as "guardians of society". I' think it is wise to avoid bullies, steer clear of dangerous people, not go to certain parties. But you go one step further than that in condoning and approving an evil rather than just tolerating it, that's where your ethics take a nose dive, and that's where I want to challenge you to think more deeply.

Kristen

Posted by Kristen Cochran on 01/11/2008 at 11:05 PM

Re: “Party 2 Nite. R U Going?

Free 2 B, Michael, and others:
What originally drew my attention to the EB Express out of control teen party article, was the way that it connected some of the dots that I see many people unable or unwilling to connect. In the Bay Area we have an enormous problem with street crime, perpetrated principally by black youth, and Oakland has been rated the nation's 4th most dangerous city. Many people I know have been robbed or assaulted by teens whose notable lack of remorse, and whose habit of videotaping themselves assaulting people (some of which videos have been posted online, some of which have been sent to media), indicate that they find these criminal endeavors a fun way to spend an afternoon. We have a criminal justice system so overloaded by juvenile crime that many offenders walk free. We have local public schools where, unlike public schools in other parts of the nation, teachers and/or the school district are not able or willing to use discipline or expulsion to deal with the serious behavioral issues in the classroom presented by these troubled individuals. Thus a school environment is created which essentially supports (enables) the violent thug culture that is wrecking havoc on the Bay Area, and which also dooms so many black youth to prison because no one ever cared enough to effectively intervene in the downward spiral of their lives.

As I mentioned before, many of the commentaries posted on this forum were in my view more illuminating than the EB Express article itself, in their violence and the threats of physical harm that they contained. Free 2 B suggests that kids on this forum were just saying what they felt about other overprotected kids. I don't know if Free 2 B read the threats or not (they were deleted quickly by the Express), but they were not "kid stuff": there was at least one threat about killing and/or hospitalizing someone, and there were threats of violence against the author of the party story as well. I think it is irresponsible as well as potentially dangerous to minimize overt threats of physical violence against specific individuals by teens (I think one of the threats mentioned guns), particularly given the context of the great level of violence perpetrated by teenagers daily on the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, as well as the reality of escalating violence and shootings in schools across our nation. Something is wrong when a public school teacher doesn't see a problem in teens threatening to kill or hospitalize someone, but instead says "you go, ___!" to an individual who represents himself as siding with thugs who made violent threats.

It's a nice idea to give kids a list of simple guidelines for student behavior as Free 2 B did, but if you're telling kids to be nice and not "insult, condescend or judge" people while they're issuing online threats (utilizing insults written in highly obscene language) to kill or maim other students and talking about bringing guns to class, or are infatuated with elements of a violent thug culture that is linked with many serious street crimes, including murder, in the Bay Area, then you come across as a Pollyanna, out of touch with reality.

Michael: I hear that you've given advice on how to function safely within Berkeley High. I don't disagree with you on the part about learning how to avoid creating tension, learning how to be as you call it "chill." The part where I part ways with you is in going the step further that you seem to have taken where instead of just learning how to AVOID problems, you state that you "accept the thug life willingly" and even desire thugs as "guardians of society". I' think it is wise to avoid bullies, steer clear of dangerous people, not go to certain parties. But you go one step further than that in condoning and approving an evil rather than just tolerating it, that's where your ethics take a nose dive, and that's where I want to challenge you to think more deeply.

I continue to encourage everyone to connect the dots between the ways we (knowingly or unknowingly) support thugs & thug culture, and the rampant crime on the streets.

Kristen

Posted by Kristen Cochran on 01/11/2008 at 10:44 PM

Re: “Party 2 Nite. R U Going?

What originally drew my attention to the EB Express out of control teen party article, was the way that it connected some of the dots that I see many people unable or unwilling to connect. In the Bay Area we have an enormous problem with street crime, perpetrated principally by black youth, and Oakland has been rated the nation's 4th most dangerous city. Many people I know have been robbed or assaulted by teens whose notable lack of remorse, and whose habit of videotaping themselves assaulting people (some of which videos have been posted online, some of which have been sent to media), indicate that they find these criminal endeavors a fun way to spend an afternoon. At the same time, we have public schools in Oakland and Berkeley, where, unlike public schools in other parts of the nation, teachers and/or the school district are not able or willing to use discipline or expulsion to deal with the serious behavioral issues in the classroom presented by these troubled individuals. Thus a school environment is created which essentially supports (enables) the violent thug culture that is wrecking havoc on the Bay Area, and which also dooms so many black youth to prison because no one ever cared enough to effectively intervene in the downward spiral of their lives.

As I mentioned before, many of the commentaries posted on this forum were in my view more illuminating than the EB Express article itself, in their violence and the threats of physical harm that they contained. Free 2 B suggests that kids on this forum were just saying what they felt about other overprotected kids. I don't know if Free 2 B read the threats or not (they were deleted quickly by the Express), but they were not "kid stuff": there was at least one threat about killing and/or hospitalizing someone, and there were threats of violence against the author of the party story as well. I think it is irresponsible as well as potentially dangerous to minimize overt threats of physical violence against specific individuals by teens (I think one of the threats mentioned guns), particularly given the context of the great level of violence perpetrated by teenagers daily on the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, as well as the reality of escalating violence and shootings in schools across our nation. Something is wrong when a public school teacher doesn't see a problem in teens threatening to kill or hospitalize someone, but instead says "you go, ___!" to an individual who represents himself as siding with thugs who made violent threats.

It's a nice idea to give kids a list of simple guidelines for student behavior as Free 2 B did, but if you're telling kids to be nice and not "insult, condescend or judge" people while they're issuing online threats (utilizing insults written in highly obscene language) to kill or maim other students and talking about bringing guns to class, or are infatuated with elements of a violent thug culture that is linked with many serious street crimes, including murder, in the Bay Area, then you come across as a Pollyanna, out of touch with reality.

Certainly some schoolyard bullying is minor and kids can deal with it on their own . But anyone involved in the school system should also be aware that our nation has become more violent over the years, and bullying has escalated as well, until in some cases it would be a crime to tell a student to handle it on his or her own. In a time and a place where schoolyard bullies often do turn out to be the teen perpetrators of violent crimes such as armed robbery, assault, and murder, and where many bullies have proved capable of carrying out the violent threats they issue, it also seems unwise to uniformly recommend approaches such as humor and friendship as a good way of dealing with these persons.

I don't have kids at BHS so I can't speak to specific incidents/persons/patterns/ there at that campus. Yet I know several public schoolteachers and parents of students in area public schools, as well as parents who would never put their kids in Oakland or Berkeley public high schools. Most of these people believe as I do that school systems like those in our area which operate in denial of the serious problems of escalating teen violence and crime are lending passive assistance to the perpetuation of these problems.

Kristen

Posted by Kristen Cochran on 01/11/2008 at 9:54 PM

Re: “Party 2 Nite. R U Going?

Asians have valid opinions:
Certainly you can use the exchanges here for any of your classes. Are your classrooms at BHS places where students feel free to express their views, even if their views do not fit into the prevailing culture(s) at BHS? In other words, can minority (meaning not ethnic minority but numerical minority) or nonconformist voices express their opinions there? Or will the thugs label them "shit-stirrers" and beat them up later if they hear things said in class that they don't like from these "non-comforming-to-thug-rule-standards" individuals. From much of what has been (rather violently at times) expressed in this EB Express forum, my impression has been that just as specific individuals have been overtly threatened with physical harm for expressing (numerical) minority, nonconformist views which in some manner criticized the "out of control party" phenomenon, so too might students be threatened with physical harm by the prevailing thug network if they express views in the classroom setting that the thugs at the high school don't like. Is this the case?
What happens with words like the N-word or B-word and other language in the future will be interesting for both of us to observe. My hope is that in the continual process of times changing, all people in this nation will experience the freedom to express their own opinions, whether these are conforming or nonconformist opinions, majority or minority views, without receiving harrassment, intimidation, veiled or overt threats of physical violence or other thuggish attempts to silence them.

Kristen

Posted by Kristen Cochran on 01/11/2008 at 7:35 AM

Re: “Party 2 Nite. R U Going?

Asians have valid opinions:
I do hear your point and I know there are many young & old alike who agree with your view that the N-word has been "reclaimed" from something negative, to become something positive. My view, like that of the person who posted the Stanley Crouch article, is that it isn't realistic to think you can undo the derogatory effects of a word like that simply by popularizing it. Which is why so many black people are calling for an abolition of the N-word.
Whether people are filled with self-hatred & low self-worth, or whether they have high self-esteem and feel inside that they are beautiful people, is something that can be seen by the way they behave and the words and tone they use. To the extent that anyone chooses to intimidate or do violence to others, or follows a life of antisocial behavior, dishonesty, hostility, and crime, they quite clearly reveal their low sense of self-worth. It is just not possible to simultaneously feel great about oneself and behave like this toward others. Since so many people of the black underclass live and behave in such a manner, there is no question at all that they suffer extensively from self-hatred.

Kristen

Posted by Kristen Cochran on 01/10/2008 at 10:58 AM

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