Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rock and Roll High Schools

Milwaukee area teenagers have really lost their minds. To read, watch and listen to the hysterical coverage, there is nothing but conflict and police contacts. There's a fight, police get called, teens flee…it’s just an outrageous situation.

You probably heard about the recent events at Bradley Tech on the near south side, where cell phones, angry teens, over-involved parents and over-exuberant basketball fans have melded into quite an evil mix. All together now: Something Must Be Done. Supply your own exclamation points – I can’t do everything for you.

But other truths pop up in the strangest places. North Shore Now – a descendant of several formerly local and independent weekly newspapers, now homogenized and conglomerated by the Journal Company through their CNI subsidiary – has a story of a (gasp!) “fight” between about 40 Whitefish Bay and Nicolet High School students on January 27th outside the Jewish Community Center (!) on formerly quiet Santa Monica Boulevard.

Well! I know there weren’t any video cameras (were there?) so we could all watch our precious children battle on starved-for-footage cable news shows, but where is the outrage about these North Shore youths running amok? Where are the radio wing-nuts shouting about anarchy, bad parenting, lack of values and the break-down of societal mores?

It’s a rhetorical question, of course. North Shore kids -- hey, they're just bein' kids!

But the city kids at Bradley Tech...well, nothing exposes the naked racism of the wing-nuts like a little rumble in (certain) schools, streets and gyms by a bunch of bussed-for-integration African-Americans. Mark Belling is, as usual, the worst; just daring anyone to call him racist as he relates his own twisted history of the Tech/Bay View basketball rivalry (used to be a real rivalry, but none of the kids in the schools live there anymore, so…) and blames it all on black people acting like, you know, black people.

Belling is a vulture that lives for stories like this that he can pounce on and twist to affirm his racist view of the universe. He can deny his racism all he wants and as loudly as he can, but it doesn’t change the fact that his racist poison has inflicted this community for far too long. Others are either more subtle and supposedly cerebral (Sykes) or just lamely head-nodding, letting their too-willing audience fill in the blanks. But Belling is the worst, and he’s disgustingly proud of it.

So what about the Sharks-and-Jets North Shore dust-up? What about the fact (reported on page 19 of the ever-enlightening Now) that Shorewood High School has had to restrict the attendance at a dance to Shorewood students only. This is “because of what’s been going on with dances and guests”, according to the article. My god, what the hell has been “going on with dances and guests”? No details. Perhaps one of the local radio wing-nuts can take up the issue and random people can call in and claim to know. This is a favorite tactic of the know-nothing class – pretending to know something, anything, as long as it validates their prejudices.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for Belling and Sykes to take up teen terror on the North Shore with the same sort of breathless know-it-all-ness with which they dive into the sociology of the underclass high school student. They only explore the psyche of the suburban teen when there is a car crash, and, then, always with sympathy. Besides, admitting that suburban kids also make mistakes in the heat of passion takes the eye off their racist target. The truth eludes them once again, on purpose.

Stupid kids do stupid things – same as it ever was. This fact transcends racial and class boundaries everywhere except in Wing-Nut Land, where They are forever ruining everything for Us. After the supposed student-plus-parent conflict at Tech several weeks ago, Belling imagined what would happen if such a thing took place at Brookfield Central. I’ll tell you what would happen. Belling’s phone lines would be jammed with parents squawking about how right they were to do whatever they did. And Belling would be sitting on his lazy ass in the studio, blaming it all on the teachers.

Because Belling has been on the air since the Fairness Doctrine was revoked by Reagan in 1987, there is a certain acquiescence to the loud outrages they he gleefully foists upon the public every day. He is at his worst when he charges into racial issues, issues that demand the most sensitivity in this community, not the least. Like Republicans who still pursue Nixon’s Southern strategy, he uses code words and easy prejudice to stir the ghosts of Harold Brier’s old south side in what is still the most segregated city in America. His hate is more than a psychosis; it is a marketing tool.


Anonymous said...

Later reports put the number of teens involved in the Bay-Nicolet fight at 15...but you're still right about Belling (and others) unjustifiably singling out the Tech-Bay View fight.

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to call for canceling the Whitefish Bay and Nicolet basketball seasons!

And not just the boys' games but the girls' games, too -- even though no one will notice the negligible difference.

Those Bay and Nicolet kids ought to be hitting the books instead of playing sports, anyway, so they can keep being so much smarter than MPS kids -- and keep Mark Belling happy.

Other Side said...

I saw the news reports about the altercation at Bradley Tech last night. It was amazing ... long views of students being wrestled to the ground. Then a brief seque to state that, to be fair, a fight had broken out at a Nicolet/Whitefish Bay game. Then immediately back to video of the Bradley Tech "massacre."

It was a disgusting piece of racism ... perhaps buffered in the producers' minds because Carole Meekins was the co-talking head at the time.

I was going to write on this seeming contradiction and you beat me to it. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Oh, please. There weren't several police officers injured at the Nicolet/Whitefish Bay game. More importantly, people in white areas are killing each other at an incredible rate. The worst thing for the black community are white liberals who won't even acknowledge a problem.

Mike Plaisted said...

There are lots of problems in the black community, not the least of which is an entire underclass falling through the bottom. The problems that resulted in the fight at Bradley Tech are not limited to disrespect, bad manners or people "acting like animals" as the racist Belling likes to say.

The legacy of slavery, segregation and poverty -- only one of which no longer exists -- is still with us. When will Belling -- and, yes, you, Anony -- acknowledge those problems and do something about it other than take money out of the public schools to give to educational charlatans?

Rather, you stand scantimoniously on the sidelines, constantly attacking those who show symptoms of society's disease. Could, should people act better? Sure. Do stupid white kids in similar circumstances act any different? Not on your life.

Anonymous said...

Jim Doyle proposes a study of why blacks end up in prison disproportionately to white. You don't need a study for that because they perform a disproportionate amount of the crimes, usually against other blacks. There is no way the black community in Milwaukee and other large urban areas can ever prosper if it is full of thugs and criminals. Those people must be charged with the crimes against their fellow man and removed from the community.

Public schools in Milwaukee are an absolute joke. They spent millions on Bradley Tech, and it has been a complete failure. In private schools, blacks actually prosper and achieve on the same level as whites. Why is this? Because private schools are a serious place of learning where they'll expel students that don't want to learn. I don't want another dime of my taxpayer money going to the failed Milwaukee public schools, and I'll fight like hell so black kids can have great access to successful private school. The budget for public schools in Milwaukee goes up and up each year, and we have nothing to show for it.

Has White Fish Bay, Wauwatosa, Brookfield, etc. ever had the parents and relatives of children come to a fight at their school and the get in a brawl themselves? Guess what? When something like that happens people are acting like animals.

Anne Quimby Mathias said...

Anonymous Above ^^

Please -- there have been parent vs. parent incidents and fights at sporting events at every single one of those suburbs and in every predominately white suburb in the country. Remember this?,8599,192891,00.html

Why don't we hear about it? Because the same incidents are not covered (let alone the lead story). Our local news media can't resist a story that will give viewers' thinly-veiled racism an outlet -- it's too good for ratings (and rantings).

Do you have children at MPS? My guess is no. With two highly successful children at MPS schools, I can testify that MPS is not a lost cause. MPS teachers and staff do a heroic job working in a district where poverty, segregation and a host of other socio-economic problems persist, not to mention the almost daily abuse they face in the media.

Viewed against some of the laughable, parasitic, fly-by-night "solutions" we've seen as part of the choice program, I'll take MPS's challenges any day.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that nobody on the left can engage the arguments made by so-called Right-wing nuts without calling them racists or something? I thought you were supposed to be the smart ones...

An isolated fight on the east side is hardly a concern because it is just that--isolated. Few schools allow outside guests to attend dances etc. except for special occasions and restrictions. Bradley Tech is on a whole different level. I find it really curious that you would rather waste your time hurling stones at Belling and Sykes than address the real problem. People have been poor for a long time. Poverty is no excuse for violence--except to those who have never had to throw themselves between two enraged high-school students. Character is the issue, the poor character of the people involved in the Bradley Tech brawls.

And as far as choice goes--yeah, lets close down the choice program and trap the scholars trying to better themselves with the real parasites--the thugs.