Columbia South Carolina, Incident, Individual Racism, Institutional Racism, Internalized Racism, Misogyny, Narcissism, Police Brutality, Racism, Richland County School District Two, Spring Valley High School, Teacher Autonomy, Voyeurism
We all have in the past twenty-four hours either heard about the incident, read the details, or watched the video. Ben Fields, a White police officer (called a “resource officer” in the benignly dangerous language of public schools), brutally attacked a teenage Black girl in her classroom. The asshole with a badge flipped her over her desk and then threw her across the room like a piece of garbage. Arresting her for using a phone and refusing to get up, and threatening any other kid who came to her defense? This isn’t acceptable behavior. Period.
But this is more than the issue of an individual’s racism or even institutional racism in the case of this Richland County School District Two outside of Columbia, South Carolina. Yesterday’s incident speaks to, among other issues:
1. Lack of teacher autonomy. We now live in a place where a whole generation of teachers are risk averse, partly because of school shootings, but primarily because of corporate education reform. Many, if not most teachers are ill-equipped to deal with disciplinary issues in their own classrooms, and are too quick to turn to the violent hand of police and security because they have no idea how to do this aspect of their job.
2. Black misogyny. How could that teacher stand there, watch and condone that action? Aside from this Black teacher’s lack of autonomy, there may be a lack of empathy on his part as well. For all of the complaints about the police officer, this guy masquerading as a teacher was a coward, and implicit has condoned violence against a woman in an obviously nonviolent situation.
3. Voyeurism as racism. Even though a student recorded this incident and literally millions of people are now aware of what occurred, many respectable Negroes and a cacophony of Whites support the primal brutality captured in it. So much so that one could conclude that they embrace the idea that the police have the right to kill and brutalize kids without fear of reprisals. These narcissists may even love the idea of hurting kids of color, because that’s exactly what they would if they thought they could get away with it, too.
It hurts to watch the video or read about the incident, because if someone laid their hands on my kid with that level of brutality…