January 25, 2016

If you don't want teenagers spelling out bad words...

... don't have them each wearing a shirt with one letter on it. They're going to run around and try to spell naughty things.

Do these girls deserve to be humiliated in national media? Obviously, the school is put in a position where it must decry racism....
Tempe Union High School District spokeswoman Jill Hanks said Friday that the discipline process remains ongoing but six girls will be punished in accordance with district policies. Hanks says Desert Vista High School students were wearing shirts to spell out “BEST(asterisk) YOU’VE(asterisk) EVER(asterisk) SEEN(asterisk) CLASS(asterisk) OF(asterisk) 2016” for a senior class yearbook photo. She says the girls in the photo went off on their own and used their shirts to spell out a racial slur, “n—–.”
That's not quite accurate, since the n-word is not spelled out but contains two asterisks. But you can see what they thought was funny, and in a normal world, trusted adults would counsel them and help develop their character and emotional maturity to a better level. But because of social media — the photo got tweeted and shared — it's a national news story and the school district's reputation is on the line, and normal human interaction has become impossible. Ironically, the lesson the kids need to learn is empathy, and it doesn't seem as though they'll be seeing much deeply ingrained, real interpersonal empathy in the world they've got to live in. Bad words are the least of the problem.

84 comments:

Ron Winkleheimer said...

My guess is that they didn't realize that they would be perceived as racist. To them the n word is just another curse word, one of the few left.

The news report I saw on this had a reporter talking to a black woman who stated she knew the mother of one of the girls "quite well" and also stated that she didn't know what to think about the incident.

PB said...

Perhaps they were trying to make a point that since there were no "G" letters, to assume the astericks stood for them is the racist act.

The Drill SGT said...

These days, the 99.9% of the actual use of the N-word is in Leftist venues.

Hollywood, the music scene and the hood...

99.99% of the users are black. or acting black.

Never used the word, but I refuse to be outraged by idiots or grievance mongers...

rhhardin said...

Boy, there's censorship all over.

Let them spell what they want.

THAT'S NOT FUNNY is funny.

rhhardin said...

It's funny until somebody gets their eye poked out.

Then it's still funny, just not around that person.

- usenet

Jim said...

Ah, so many rules these days. Somewhere nearby, for certain in the parking lot of the school, there is going to be a boombox(they still call them that?), blasting a shout out to my niggers in Compton, and calling females whores, bitches, c****
NO one seems to get upset if the music industry portrays blacks as niggers, and women as whores. Its just fine.
In fact, you can probably get invited to the White House these days if you are 'down' with that type of crap.
The hypocrisy evident in calling out those girls is stunning.
Words used to have meaning. In my day, using the word would result in an immediate and often violent reaction. We still used it, until we figured out how stupid and rude it really was. That meant that an adult got involved and told us the facts of life.
not to many adults in the education industry these days. I wonder if the so called 'activist' and reverend Maupin is as upset with young black men glorifying racism and death as he seems to be about some girls who made a dumb mistake.

rhhardin said...

The trouble is letters. They might spell anything.

It's no use just banning vowels, either. People will abbreviate.

Banning consonants is the only solution.

rhhardin said...

We got letter sweaters at Oberlin, but all we could spell is oooo. Nobody even bothered.

Humperdink said...

Teenagers doing dumb things? I am shocked. Really shocked.

Counsel them and call it a day.

Curious George said...

Nipper
Niller
Niffer
Nigher

Case dismissed.

Michael K said...

Maybe they were trying to spell "Niggardly" and didn't have enough girls.

who-knew said...

Given the quality of our schools, can't we agree to be happy that they can spell at all?

MadisonMan said...

I don't get the push to have them expelled. I think the people who are agitating for that would spend their time better reading The Scarlet Letter.

Robert Cook said...

In our increasingly harsh and punitive society, I'm not surprised to hear calls for these girls to be expelled, or for them to be black-balled from the colleges they may be planning to apply for. A week's suspension and perhaps the requirement that they do general work around their school for the week (sweeping and mopping, emptying trashcans, etc.) would be appropriate.

And, of course, their parents should PUNISH the heck out of them.

How can any young adults in this day and age be so stupid--so, so FUCKING STUPID--as to think this was appropriate, funny, acceptable, "edgy" (in a good way), or anything other than racist, insulting, degrading (to them as much as or more than to blacks), offensive, unacceptable, and, oh: stupid, Stupid, STUPID!!!?

Their punishment should be as much for their STUPIDITY as their offensiveness.

Terry said...

The bizarre-o world of PC has empowered white people. All they have to do now, in order to drive a Black person into a hate-shame-rage spiral, is walk up to them, look them in the eye, and calmly and deliberately utter a two-syllable word.
It's the magic of language.

Anglelyne said...

AA: ...the lesson the kids need to learn is empathy, and it doesn't seem as though they'll be seeing much deeply ingrained, real interpersonal empathy in the world they've got to live in. Bad words are the least of the problem.

Good observation. All the procedures put into motion to address this this "problem" are ways of avoiding facing the facts about these problems.

Most of modern education, and politics, is drunks looking for the lost keys under the street lamp.

Danny K said...

Can't help but think of that South Park wheel of fortune episode. "People who annoy you."

Anglelyne said...

Robert Cook: How can any young adults in this day and age be so stupid--so, so FUCKING STUPID--as to think this was appropriate, funny, acceptable, "edgy" (in a good way), or anything other than racist, insulting, degrading (to them as much as or more than to blacks), offensive, unacceptable, and, oh: stupid, Stupid, STUPID!!!?

You're showing your age, old fart. I can think of a lot of reasons why young adults "in this day and age" might think this was funny rather than "racist, offensive, unacceptable [continuing string of aging liberal's grundyisms....]".

Hagar said...

Obviously, what these girls need is a "struggle session."

Robert Cook said...

Anglelyne,

Yes, perhaps I am showing my age. My family moved to the south in Fall 1963--an "interesting" time in our nation's history and in the south, in the sense of the old Chinese curse about living in "interesting times"--when I was just turning 8 years old. My parents emphasized to my siblings and me that "ni**er" was a BAAAAAAAD word and that we should never use it under any circumstances. (I guess they figured we'd hear the word a lot from our new southern neighbors and schoolmates. I did hear it some, but not really so often.)

I didn't understand why the word was bad, or what was "bad" about it, but, like curse words that we were forbidden to say, it was just "BAAAAD." This feeling became so ingrained in my nervous system that I do not like even typing the word fully, as you see above.

James Pawlak said...

Just so they do NOT reproduce.

lgv said...

Why are they getting their nickers in a wad?

policraticus said...

The things you learn on the Scrabble Team...

Gahrie said...

What kills me, is I bet over half the people expressing outrage over the photo use the word regularly in conversation.

AReasonableMan said...

Anglelyne said...
You're showing your age, old fart. I can think of a lot of reasons why young adults "in this day and age" might think this was funny rather than "racist, offensive, unacceptable [continuing string of aging liberal's grundyisms....]".


Not sure this is really true. My son called a local kid a nigger a few years back. Some time later when he told me about it he seemed genuinely regretful that he had done this. It wasn't edgy or funny.

mtrobertslaw said...

It's common fare today to ridicule the values and beliefs of the "other". This is particularly true of leftists who delight in making fun of deeply held beliefs of the country class.

And this is what these girls were doing. Their mistake was to ridicule the values of the left.

William said...

The kids were making fun of asterisks, not black people. OK, the joke misfired, but this is not quite the same thing as burning a cross on Rosa Parks lawn. Only a couture wearing, red carpet tromping movie star would find this an unforgivable insult to the dignity of humanity.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Robert Cook said...

How can any young adults in this day and age be so stupid... as to think this was..."edgy" (in a good way)...

I can easily see how, in this day and age, a young adult could conclude that "edgy" is good in and of itself. TV is full of people being intentionally offensive to large swaths of the country, likely including these girls and their families. Such offensiveness is always greeted with applause. Why would they not conclude that offensiveness is inherently good?

dbp said...

High school kids each wearing a sweatshirt with a different letter...Who could ever predict they might, on their own, spell out naughty words?

Two types of people might find this unexpected: People who were never teens, people who have forgotten what it was like to be a teen.

Levi Starks said...

We need to place the blame squarely where it belongs,
On the asterisks.

Levi Starks said...

The teenagers need to learn to show some empathy, and we will teach them by not showing them any empathy.

fivewheels said...

They're kids. I'm sure it wasn't a carefully thought-out plan. I mean, what do we think these dumb girls were trying to accomplish? What was the goal? When you realize the only possible answer, really, is "Um, I dunno," I think that should factor into how seriously to take the incident.

Anyway, have you seen those sets of shaped birthday candles that spell out Congratulations or Happy Birthday? Maybe the appropriate punishment would be to just serve them each one of these slices.

Levi Starks said...

Those weren't just letters, they were hate word precursors
When you place raw letters in the hands of inexperienced users they're liable mix them up and accidentally create an explosion.

Anglelyne said...

Robert Cook: Yes, perhaps I am showing my age. My family moved to the south in Fall 1963--an "interesting" time in our nation's history and in the south, in the sense of the old Chinese curse about living in "interesting times"--when I was just turning 8 years old. My parents emphasized to my siblings and me that "ni**er" was a BAAAAAAAD word and that we should never use it under any circumstances. (I guess they figured we'd hear the word a lot from our new southern neighbors and schoolmates. I did hear it some, but not really so often.)

I didn't understand why the word was bad, or what was "bad" about it, but, like curse words that we were forbidden to say, it was just "BAAAAD." This feeling became so ingrained in my nervous system that I do not like even typing the word fully, as you see above.


But, you see, my experience conforms to yours almost exactly, with the difference that I was a little younger than you in 1963, and that the adults around me had no difficulty in articulating, in non-magical terms, why decent, well-mannered people don't go around calling other people "niggers". No mystery, and no clouds of taboo.

I understand how your personal experience shapes your reaction to this. In general though, since I lived it myself, I don't have much patience with the very common practice of invoking one's upbringing in that era's South to claim special insight, or some kind of moral authority, regarding anything related to the subject of race and racism in America. (Not saying you're doing this here; jus' sayin'.)

Fabi said...

The category is: People Who Annoy You

Levi Starks said...

Clearly no individual girl can be charged with a crime,
That's why we have the charge of conspiracy.

Owen said...

Robert Cook: "In our increasingly harsh and punitive society, I'm not surprised to hear calls for these girls to be expelled, or for them to be black-balled from the colleges they may be planning to attend."

"Black-balled"? For someone claiming to be attentive to the nuance of nouns, the velleities of verbiage, you really messed up that one. It's right up there with "niggardly."

You just earned two weeks' detention and a special lecture in Diversity Feelings.

MadisonMan said...

My son called a local kid a nigger a few years back. Some time later when he told me about it he seemed genuinely regretful that he had done this. It wasn't edgy or funny.

And obviously what applies to your son applies to all kids.

AReasonableMan said...

MadisonMan said...
And obviously what applies to your son applies to all kids.


This is a slightly childish response. Now that you bring it up, however, he is fairly typical of his generation in his opinions. Loves Reddit.

Fernandinande said...

“The racist images and discriminatory behavior created and exhibited by Desert Vista high school students is shocking, outrageous, and should give everyone cause for concern,” [civil rights activist the Rev. Jarrett] Maupin said.

Hilarious nipper hysteria.

n.n said...

One down, one million to go, with one left over. The urban dictionary will not be denied nor selectively edited. The urban jungle is encroaching on what was once green, stable communities.

prairie wind said...

It's a word. Not a nice word but a WORD. How did we get to the place where we cannot discuss the use of the N-word without actually using the N-word? The public shaming of those girls is unconscionable.

eric said...

Obviously these girls stole the joke from other girls and now they are being career raped by an army of hate nerds.

coupe said...

Kids today aren't briefed like we were in our day. The briefing was "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

Kids today just don't understand that not everything has to be photographed. If photographed it doesn't have to be published.

When they post shit onto the Internet, they are publishing, and there's no second chance. You can't fail, and still be anonymous.

In my day, you could fail many things in college, and no one knew anything after you graduated. That no longer exists.

sean said...

Several hundred black men were murdered in New York City this year, and nobody cares at all. Not a single law professor wrote a word about any of them; most of them received not a single mention in a single MSM publication; Obama and Holder said zip and cared zip. Six high school girls made a silly picture, and it's the talk of the town.

YoungHegelian said...

Of course, what the punishment that these imbecilic teenage girls deserve the most is to have the photos of their faces splashed permanently on the internet so that they are possible victims of every aggrieved lefty-asshole stalker out there. AmIrite?

Even though they have committed no crime, they deserve to have their lives endangered & their future careers imperiled because RAAAAAAAAAAAACISM! is now the ultimate thought-crime for the Left. What ever happens to those who are accused, even if simply accused, well, they simply deserve. Can I say "in spades", or is that racist, too?

The Left really misses the days when it could send people to gulags on a whim. It really does.

Anglelyne said...

ARM to MadMan: This is a slightly childish response.

Well, Mad, you never know what random string of grammatically correct yet meaningless words you're going to get when you point out ARM's errors of fact or reasoning, do you?

Stan Smith said...

If the girls used the "letters" involved in the total phrase that was indicated, the "i" in their spelling is actually a "1". So their shirts don't "spell" anything.

Fernandinande said...

sean said...
Several hundred black men were murdered in New York City this year, and nobody cares at all.


Nobody who counts, anyway. Because there are no white people to blame.

Six high school girls made a silly picture, and it's the talk of the town.

I tend to get hysterically outraged about Raggers and their "Nipper"/"Nippah" lyrics. At least that's my pre-lawsuit claim.

campy said...

"and in a normal world, trusted adults would counsel them and help develop their character and emotional maturity to a better level."

In a really good world, trusted adults would roll their eyes and remind themselves to never hand out such shirts again.

Robert Cook said...

"'Black-balled'? For someone claiming to be attentive to the nuance of nouns, the velleities of verbiage, you really messed up that one. It's right up there with 'niggardly.'"

Nothing wrong with either "black-balled" or "niggardly," as you well know.

Robert Cook said...

"...he adults around me had no difficulty in articulating, in non-magical terms, why decent, well-mannered people don't go around calling other people 'niggers'. No mystery, and no clouds of taboo."

Well, to be clear, my parents did explain that the word was bad because it was insulting toward other people, which was never acceptable. I guess I should have stated that--at 8 years old--I internalized this not in a logical way but emotionally. In other words, it was "bad" to use this term as it was bad to use the term "damn" or "hell" or "fairy" or other words. I didn't distinguish one word from another in my feelings as to why this one was bad in one way and that one bad in another way. In fact, when I first dared utter a swear word, privately, to myself--when I was 17, believe it or not--I half-expected an eruption in the cosmic order, some sort of thunderous clap to brand me as a user of bad words! (I exaggerate a bit, but I really did feel almost that way.)

mikee said...

In 1981, my small Southern-Baptist affiliated college experienced about 15 seconds of statewide fame when a student sign lewdly including the phrase "cunning linguists" on it, was shown live on a televised football game. The student who held up the double entendre sign was very easily identified, but was not in any way disciplined by the school administrators. In private talks with some administrators, they admitted everyone had a good laugh over it, despite the bad publicity.

And when, during a rare snowfall in SC, students built large snow mammaries and a snow penis outside the office of the college president, no action was taken. The school newspaper printed pictures of the offensive snow bits, quoting the president that "Here in South Carolina, the problem will take care of itself by tomorrow afternoon, when it melts."

People, or at least school administrators, were smarter then.

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AReasonableMan said...

Anglelyne said...
Well, Mad, you never know what random string of grammatically correct yet meaningless words you're going to get when you point out ARM's errors of fact or reasoning, do you?


And you stepped in it. Point out exactly where I claimed that "what applies to your son applies to all kids". I was merely providing anecdotal evidence to undermine your original, overly broad claim.

Try to keep up.

Rusty said...

This is "Stupid shit teenagers do."
Teenagers have been doing stupid shit forever.
It's how they learn.

buwaya said...

Ancient summer camp tradition.
For many years we took the kids to the Sierra, Camp Mather the San Francisco summer camp.
The dining hall always posted the days menu in chalk.
It was up to the boys to creatively erase letters to make the menu more interesting.

As for the "N" word, the first time I heard it was in one of my favorite movies "The Dam Busters", for some reason played quite often on Philippine TV. The protagonists dog was named the "N" word, apparently because it was the actual name of RAF Wing Commander Guy Gibson's dog.
I (and probably the rest of the Philippine population) had no idea what significance this had. And I don't think it had such significance for WC Gibson either.
I don't know how they work this awkward situation these days, though I don't suppose too many people ever see this film anymore, a pity since it is still wonderful.

Jason said...

Now that at least $20,000 has been extracted from taxpayers' hides to go to Andres Serrano for creating "Piss Christ," and progs across the country defended the practice, I don't want to hear a goddamned word from ignorant, handwringing libtards and school administrators (but I repeat myself).

The girls in this photo should receive the same considerations and First Amendment protections that Serrano did, and for the exact same reasons.

Hell, give them a fecking NEA grant while we're at it. That act would be a work of art in itself. Let's watch the libtards howl.

Jason said...

Clearly, Americans cannot be trusted with the unlicensed and unregulated possession of letters.

Anglelyne said...

ARM: And you stepped in it. Point out exactly where I claimed that "what applies to your son applies to all kids". I was merely providing anecdotal evidence to undermine your original, overly broad claim.

MadMan correctly identified the incorrect inference in your response:

Me: I can think of a lot of reasons why young adults "in this day and age" might think this was funny rather than "racist, offensive, unacceptable [continuing string of aging liberal's grundyisms....]".

You: Not sure this is really true. My son called a local kid a nigger a few years back. Some time later when he told me about it he seemed genuinely regretful that he had done this. It wasn't edgy or funny.

So, your (il)logical claim here is: "My son felt bad after calling someone a nigger, therefore Anglelyne can't think of a lot of reasons why young adults in this day and age might think this was funny."

Look, most people think you're just a dishonest debater, but I don't think that's fair. I think you really do need to have the logical structure and implications of your own sentences explained to you.

Now that I've done that for you (you're welcome), you can run along and go miscontrue yourself elsewhere.

AReasonableMan said...

Anglelyne said...
MadMan correctly identified the incorrect inference in your response:


No, you made an overly broad claim that was easily refuted. In addition you have resorted to numerous ad hominem attacks on multiple commenters. You can do better than this.

Look, most people think you're just a dishonest debater

Most people think you lose the plot when challenged. I can play this game too.

Stan Smith said...

As long as (choose one: Negroes, Blacks, African-Americans, People of Color) continue to ALLOW themselves to be "oppressed" by a simple, freaking WORD, they will be "oppressed" in perpetuity. Offended, sure, but "oppressed"? Whatever happened to "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me"? It's simply another cudgel like "racist" to keep the white folk in line.

Laura said...

How many words have the distinction of meanings dependent on the skin color of the person using them?

This stunt is a quintessential adolescent challenge: leaving it to adults to fill in the blanks, knowing they will go for the negative.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AReasonableMan said...

No, you made an overly broad claim that was easily refuted.

Okay, I'll bite. What overly broad claim did she make?

AReasonableMan said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
Okay, I'll bite. What overly broad claim did she make?


'I can think of a lot of reasons why "collective X" thinks Y.'

If you show that some members of X don't think Y, then this statement looks a little shaky. More broadly, many people here ramble on about what a bunch of pussies modern youth are when it comes to political correctness. So the original statement is also inconsistent with one of the more frequent memes around here. I have no doubt that some of collective X find the photo funny, I doubt it is a majority, much less all.

eddie willers said...

The kids were making fun of asterisks, not black people.

Exactly so.

When I first saw this story yesterday, it had a teeny tiny picture that I thought the website had censored in its usual way and I thought, "how stupid, girls".

When I found out that the asterisks were original I thought, "how brilliant, girls".

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AReasonableMan said...

I can think of a lot of reasons why "collective X" thinks Y.

Very convenient of you to rephrase, rather than quote her. Very convenient to leave out the word might. When you include the word might it is clear that she is not claiming all, or even most think that way. This is even clearer when you look at what she was responding to, which was asking How can any...

So I could see that your initial response could just be poor reading comprehension. Once you start mis-paraphrasing to support your point, then put me into the class of most people just think you are a dishonest debater.

AReasonableMan said...

'I can think of a lot of reasons why "collective X" might think Y.'

Doesn't really change things.

I had already quoted the original, I paraphrased to make the logic clearer. You might want to go easy on the ad hominem yourself.

Anglelyne said...

Ignorance is Bliss: So I could see that your initial response could just be poor reading comprehension. Once you start mis-paraphrasing to support your point, then put me into the class of most people just think you are a dishonest debater.

No, I think the preponderance of evidence is gonna make me stick with my original defense of ARM. His comments are just too meandering and woolly to be completely deliberate. Now, as you say, once he gets the bit in his teeth his evasions become purposeful, but I think that's just low cunning responding instinctually to some inchoate perception of "threat". I'd cut 'im some slack.

AReasonableMan said...

Disdain, when all else is lost.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AReasonableMan said...

You might want to go easy on the ad hominem yourself.

I might, but I don't. My argument stands on its own. My comments on your dishonesty are not part of that argument. They also stand on their own.

AReasonableMan said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
I might, but I don't.


I considered calling you a useless dullard, but on reflection you are not useless, someone has to work at Walmart. I'm sure you perform to your full potential.

JackOfClubs said...

Niener, niener, niener...

AReasonableMan said...

They started it!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Danny K:

Me too--South Park Wheel Of Fortune

Personally I'm hoping for common sense asterisk control.

Jupiter said...

Nigger. Niger, nigger, nigger. Nigger.

Got a problem with that, Nigger?

Jupiter said...

Cracker.

Jupiter said...

You want to know what's offensive? Al Fucking Sharpton is what's offensive. The fact that Al Sharpton is allowed to walk the streets a free man, let alone gets paid to lie his fat black ass off on TV, that's what's offensive. Anybody who doesn't want to puke every time he sees that lying, criminal bastard's ugly mug has got no business getting bent about a bunch of white chicks with some asterisks.

Michael K said...

"Their punishment should be as much for their STUPIDITY as their offensiveness."

If we could only turn them black like Rachel, it would be OK.

mccullough said...

I'm glad social media, e-mail, digital photos, and Theater of Outrage weren't around when I was a teen.

Jupiter said...

If you wish to know who rules you, ask whom you may not criticize.

Of course, if you don't want to admit who rules you, even to yourself, then pretend there is nothing to criticize.

Jupiter said...

You all know that blacks are 13% of the US population, and commit half the violent crime. You know that what has destroyed once prosperous American cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore and Detroit and Gary is invasion by blacks. You all know, or would if you weren't careful to maintain your ignorance, that blacks are a full SD lower in IQ than whites, which is why all the "educational reform" and "affirmative action" in the world will never eliminate their dismal educational performance. You know that every black-majority city in America is a hellhole of crime, corruption, illegitimacy and dysfunction. You know all this, and plenty more of the same, and you're all going to sit around with your fingers stuck tight in your ears, going la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you!, and pretend and pretend and pretend that the big problem in the world is that some white people almost spelled a word. Because god with a non-believer's small g forfend that someone should call you a racist. Because whatever else may be true,

You. Are not. A racist.

Gahrie said...

In fact, when I first dared utter a swear word, privately, to myself--when I was 17, believe it or not-

Being a military brat, my experience was totally different from yours. Although I distinctly remember being paddled for cussing on the playground in sixth grade. When in a casual environment I still tend to use much more profanity than my friends.

eddie willers said...

When in a casual environment I still tend to use much more profanity than my friends.

I seem to cuss more when I'm driving.