Friday, April 22, 2016

Death of Me

How many heard that expression growing up when a beleaguered parent commented on some transgression committed and in turn this was a guilt lever or shame puller to generate compliance?

I can't remember if or how often it was said but it resonates.  No one wants to do anything that would so severely cause someone's death - inadvertently.

We are a violent aggressive society. This week a Teacher in Newton (the town where Sandy Hook was) was arrested for carrying a firearm. Schools across the country, particularly Universities are now allowing concealed weapons, and this all marks the 17th anniversary of Columbine.

We have seen schools under lockdown of late with the same result - fear and loathing. The issue of gun control still resonates but people still want to believe that they can fight the NRA without bullets, and the recent case against the gun manufacturer is moving forward.

We have seen children arrested in mass over sexting scandals and now over fighting or in this case not breaking up a fight.

I can assure you that it is not easy breaking up a fight and can put you at risk but in some cases what if you don't?
As we have this story and it did not end well.

The rising tide of violence with regards to young girls cannot be overlooked.  I stood incredulous in a middle school last week as a young girl walked in promptly verbally threatened another young woman and was asked to leave the room by the Principal who was with her the entire time.  I felt utterly gobsmacked and thought what the flying fuck did I just witness?

It is not the first time, I watch young women verbally abuse and fan flames with gasoline, to each other but most often to young men. And yes it is predominately young black students but they are not alone, I see it with many students of poverty regardless of color.

And the focus on young men, the rising incarceration rates and failure rates that would explain the incarceration rates to some extent as options decrease with less education and opportunity that it provides.  But there is little with regards to girls of the same age and the increasing reliance on sexuality as a weapon and a tool has become something I see often.  And this leads to further aggressive and assertive behavior.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates one in four female teens has been involved in some kind of physical violence in school or work. The agency has been tracking the trend for years and in 2010 said, "in the public mind, acts of teenage violence are most commonly associated with boys, (but) it is clear that the problem is pervasive among girls as well." 
YouTube has thousands of videos showing brutal fights involving young women, and the rising tide of incarceration rates among women demonstrate another set of problems that need distinction. 
"It's important to look through a lens that is specific to women and not to the general population," said Cindy McDaniel, a program coordinator at the Center for Justice in Delaware, the state where this tragic death occurred.

"Women come with their own set of circumstances and issues that are different than the general population," Ms. McDaniel said.  "When it comes to incarceration and programs to help people as they are released and reenter society we spend more effort and funds and programs with men that we do with women,"

And this study from The Sentencing Project shows the rising rates of incarceration for women through 2010.  And this too will mean a larger scale role of Innocent Projects to look outside the box and find cases where women too have been convicted for crimes that may not be quite as they appear.
 The focus on rape and violent crimes are not those women are often incarcerated for and Northwestern School of Law has a group dedicated towards examining cases regarding women.

But is this what we do?  We wait until it is a crisis level proportion and in turn then work to find resolutions? And this is done with what money?  Again without funding nothing is done to fully understand the barometers  of poverty and the storm it creates.

I am at a point where I am exhausted as a substitute. The hideous World School I was at for a month has now suspended two girls for a week for fighting, I knew one of them, she was Somalia, she was very confused about her role in the community, that debate in that school was often between African kids and their place of origin.  These girls with their Muslim upbringing then thrust into our world with our increasing suspicion and distrust of  Muslim people only further alienates and confuses them. So,  it is not a surprise that they would fight a shadow at this point.   And they are not exempt from sexism in their own country and sexual confusion that despite their faith seems contrary to their rising HIV rates in their own country.  Again we have little to no understanding of that culture and I suspect we confuse it with religion, which may or may not be a contributing factor.

What I do find oddly sexist is that I had two boys in the same class who also fought,  had literally come to blows, and another who was sexually graphic in the class and nothing happened to them.  So you see we do treat women differently and not in way that helps.

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