Saturday, January 30, 2010

Philly Ethnic Minorities Need to Form Some Alliance

For real. Cause if ya both being screwed, your problem ain't with each other.

Now first, hat tip to field negro on this one: The strange case of Tiana Drummond-Phiri.

I'm just sharing a portion of Annette John-Hall's article on the incident that happened last school year:

Let's see if I have this straight.Tiana goes home fearing her fate. Farley, fractured eye and all, goes out later that day to indulge in some underage drinking for more than two hours, according to his own testimony. Farley is allowed to testify without repercussions. But Cann, Tiana's primary witness, is pulled from the stand after the prosecutor asks for a conference, according to Tiana's lawyer. A public defender called by the court then tells him he could be criminally charged if he testifies. He doesn't.

Tiana had to be at the station to take the train home. No one can explain why Farley was there, including Farley. (Well, the detective noted in his report that kids often go to the station to hang out and smoke cigarettes. Nothing like a cigarette after a hard day at school.

Farley fought. Tiana didn't.Tiana gets slapped with nine criminal charges. No one even looks in Farley's direction.
Need more travesty?

Tiana is suspended from school for the rest of the year. Farley? Welcomed back with open arms.

For Tiana, the suspension was a shock. Her mother, Violet Phiri, said that when she took Tiana to school two days after the incident, she was assured by school officials that there would be no repercussions for the off-campus brawl. But later that day, Tiana was pulled out of class, summoned to the school office, and aggressively interrogated by Detective James Santoliquito of the Radnor Township Police Department - without counsel.

It was a traumatizing experience, Tiana said. She called her mother, who arrived to find her daughter alone. The next day, Tiana was called to the principal's office. Her mother said the school wanted Tiana to write a statement saying that Tiana had never had any racial problems at school, nor had reported any. She refused and was told to go home.

At the insistence of Tiana's mother, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent a letter weeks later confirming Tiana's suspension. She also received a notification from the prosecutor's office instructing her when to report to the police station for fingerprinting and processing.

This teen, who only months before was lauded by her teachers as a stellar student, even enthusiastically supported for an academic scholarship, was now barred from going anywhere near the school.
Earlier this school year,
Duyngoc Truong, a South Philadelphia student who was beaten last week, told the School Reform Commission that being let down by those in charge "hurt our bodies, it also hurt our hearts. We have the right to go to school and we need to be treated fairly."
The meeting was a dramatic crescendo in a situation that began Dec. 2, school officials said, when a disabled African American student was beaten up by two Asian students outside school. 
The next day, large groups of African American and Asian students attacked at least 30 Asian students, seven of whom required treatment at a hospital. Some of the attackers went from room to room, looking for students to target.
And so okay, the two events had nothing to do with each other, taking place in  two different schools under two different administrations. The only thing that had in common was a comment left on John-Hall's post:
NAATWP Hey Annette, where was your column on the thugs who targeted Asians at South Philly HS? Oh that's right, wrong color. It's funny how AA want civil rights, but don't show the same respect to other people.
That's unequivically untrue.

Here's the thing. The black folks don't true the system. So no matter the situation, we wanna make sure all the fact are out before allowing each other to get got by the system. Especially if children are involved.

You may need to read both articles so that what I'm about to say makes sense, right? But off the top of my head, we can't just blame the black kids cause some Asians kids joined the attack. And we can't just make out like the black kids are violent when a disabled black student was attacked by a couple of Asian students.

And we can't act like the problem is with the kids. First off, according to District data, 28 percent of teachers and 62 percent of students are African American, 2.6 percent of teachers and 17 percent of students are Latino, and 2.2 percent of teachers and 6 percent of students are Asian.  "Secondly, Troung, the South Philadelphia student, recited a litany of problems with school staff. . . . "Most of the students at South Philadelphia High School - Asian, African American, Latino and white - are just like us. They are trying to get an education in a school where they do not feel safe or respected," said Truong." I posted an article last week about the problems with having police in schools.

Now, as upset as Asian American activist in Philly are, they can't pretend that Asian Americans teens are without fault, right? And I'm not saying the black kids shouldn't face some serious discipline.

Ultimately, though, Asian and African American students are faced with disadvantages that have nothing to do with their desire to learn and everything to do with the color of their skin. Now, I absolutely think kids responsible for a racialized attacked need to be held responsible. I don't dispute that. And I understand that racial politics are involved that make the situation a hard pill to swallow for both sides.

What I hope the adults come to realize is that the racial politics involved have nothing to do with blacks gaining some advantage over Asians or vise versa. I'm not talking about just the parents, I'm talking about the activists and lawyers and civil rights crusaders getting involved. The issues blacks have ain't with Asians; the issues Asians have ain't with blacks. They both got issues with a system that's not interested in actualizing the full potential of students of color, be they red, black, brown or yellow. With all this fighting going on, they could be blue. The point is, they ain't white. And all parties involved would be better serve addressing the large issue of white supremacy and ubiquity than hashing out the particulars of this inane group violence.

So before this goes too far, just punish the kids for their actions. Make sure the punishment fits the crime. Then aim your collective resolve at identifying the real culprit and dismantling a racist system. That way, at least next time group violence breaks out, it'll be between integrated groups of good ole jocks and geeks. The way it should be.

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