October 06, 2005

"It's their culture"

I caught this segment on "The O'Reilly Factor" a few weeks ago; however, I couldn't find a transcript of it or any other report about it, except on the white racialist site American Renaissance. Of course, they used the story for their own purposes -- purposes with which we heartily disagree (that's why we won't link to their site ... if you wish to visit it, just Google the damn thing). Luckily, Colossus reader Fred e-mailed us the transcript in question yesterday. The show segment involved Brandy Stokes, a middle school teacher, and, well, read for yourself (emphases all mine):

O'REILLY: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, I started a firestorm earlier this month when I made a simple statement in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. If you're poor, you'll get hosed. Not a matter of if but when. And the way out of poverty is education. Everybody knows that.

But there's a dirty secret in many public school systems these days, and that is teachers are not allowed to control unruly students.

Joining us now from Charleston, South Carolina, is Brandy Stokes, a former public high school teacher who is suing her district because it refused to discipline dangerous students.

You know, we talked to you on the radio, and I'm glad you came on the program. Your story is actually harrowing. You taught what grade? How old were the kids?

BRANDY STOKES, SUING SCHOOL DISTRICT: I taught eighth grade English. And because of the No Child Left Behind Act, I had 15 and 16-year-olds in my eighth grade.

O'REILLY: OK. So you had older kids in your class, trying to teach them English, basic skills. And some of these kids, one in particular, began harassing you, swearing at you, and threatening you in the classroom, correct?

STOKES: That's correct.

O'REILLY: And then pick it up if from there. You did what? You told whom and what happened?

STOKES: Well, it was several -- several children that I was subjected to horrible racial comments. I was sexually harassed. I was threatened to be raped and killed. I would consistently refer these kids to the principal at Brentwood. And 20 minutes later, the same child would be back in my classroom.

O'REILLY: All right. So these children in front of the whole class demeaned you and threatened you. Everybody heard it, wasn't secret. They were bold in what they did, correct?

STOKES: Correct.

O'REILLY: All right. Now when you confronted the principal of your school, who's in charge of overall authority and discipline and said, "Look, this has got to stop. I can't teach these children if people are threatening me and calling me racial names and using sexual" -- some of the language is absolutely outrageous. What did the principal say to you?

STOKES: The principal told me that I had to accept these kids' behavior. It was a part of their culture. And that if I was going to teach at Brentwood, I just had to -- I just had to accept their behavior. It was the way they were.

O'REILLY: Now, were other teachers subjected to this kind of thing, and did they accept the behavior?

STOKES: Yes, sir, there were other teachers that were subjected to this. Some of them did accept it. Some of them were just quiet and didn't want to make any trouble.

And myself and two other teachers stepped forward and tried to get assistance from the higher-ups at the district office, and then we basically got nothing there either, so we were forced to file a lawsuit.

O'REILLY: Now you're out of the classroom now as the case moves along, but I don't see how any teacher, because I'm a former high school teacher myself, could teach anything in an atmosphere like that.

STOKES: You couldn't. I spent the majority of my time trying to gain order in my classroom.

One particular incident, I had a child who climbed through my window during my planning period. The other kids were at special area. And at Brentwood, we had to keep our doors locked at all times. And we also had panic buttons in every room.

The child threatened to rape and kill me. And when I went to the principal, she looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said, "Here we go again, another white teacher trying to bring these kids down."

O'REILLY: I know this is -- I know your case isn't unusual. It happens all over. It happens, unfortunately, in the poorest schools, as yours is. And we're going to follow your lawsuit, Ms. Stokes. And we appreciate you coming on. Thank you very much.

STOKES: Thank you.

Two things: One, you'll never hear an incident such as this reported on the mainstream media. If it was the reverse, however (black teacher, white unruly students) you can bet your bottom dollar it would be.

Two, Hube once wrote on his old blog about a race merchant who headed an inservice at his district. I recall similar "It's their culture" sentiments in some of those posts. Maybe Hube will chime in here when he has a moment.

UPDATE (10/7 at 8:43am) by Hube: Felix: The guy to whom you're referring is Glenn Singleton, a so-called "diversity expert" who did indeed lead the first half of our [first] all-day inservice a couple years ago. As I wrote at the time:

At this inservice, Mr. Singleton stated up front that he wasn't going to discuss family structure, economics and peers. How convenient that is, especially since they are probably the biggest factors contributing to the "achievement gap" between majority and minority children in schools. His résume states he is a "diversity expert." What is that, exactly? How does one become such an expert? I wonder if Mr. Singleton has lived abroad in various countries to thorougly examine different cultures? I've lived abroad in Latin America for quite some time; does this make me an "expert" on Hispanic culture?

Glenn leads what he dubs "Courageous Conversations." The conversations we had at our inservice seemed to be anything but courageous; indeed, most were typical and defensive. If a white educator inquired about the huge number of minority discipline referrals in schools, it couldn't have been because those students are misbehaving in class. It had to be some "lack of understanding" between the [white] teacher and [minority] student. As a result, the "courageous" portion of the whole shebang became a sad joke as the program rapidly devolved into stereotypical politically correct dogma.

Singleton has also "advised" the Seattle school system. Seattle schools have attempted to deal with disproportionate discipline rates and the achievement gap thusly -- which is eeriely similar to what Ms. Stokes was told. Take note from the article (emphases mine):

* Many African American students bring particular styles of learning, speaking and behaving with them from home -- and schools are quick to punish those styles.

* Researchers of all races acknowledge that classic classroom rules, established by a predominately white system, reward sitting still, staying quiet and working independently.

* African American students have louder, more direct speaking styles and more physical learning styles, such as preferring hands-on projects rather than sitting through lectures.

* African American students often speak to adults more as equals than as authority figures, because that's the way many speak with their families.

* And African American students are frequently more out-front with their emotions.

* "We, as a people, are loud," (said Jacob Ellis, an African American counselor at Nathan Hale High School).

* Some staff and students also say "play-fighting" leads to many disciplinary actions. And a number of school officials said these mock battles are more prevalent among African American boys and too often are misread as being real.

Reading the above, is it any wonder where Stokes' principal got the notion that it was "just her [black] students' culture" -- despite the obvious noxious self-deprecation? But hey, if things don't work out in Seattle, maybe they can just sue.

Posted by Felix at October 6, 2005 02:14 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

This is outrageous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To give up control of the classroom, discipline and civility because 'it is to be expected as a result of different culture' is bullsh*t liberal,victimhood, multiculturalism run amuk....again....and again.......and again....And yes, mainstream media wouldn't dare touch it...

Posted by: schmitt at October 6, 2005 10:24 PM

The part about the student climbing thru the window brought back memories.

In high schol, we could be absolute bastards and we had this History teacher who we cruelly nicknamed Waldo cause he was of course, a wuss AND goofy looking. He was young and new and put up with too much of our crap.

We took it so far as to get one of the little neighborhood kids (school was in North Philly in the late 60's) to climb in the class room window and yell "Hey Waldo" to the teacher. Cracked up our selfish selfs but Waldo just kept teaching as if nothing had happened. I assume we earned some time for ourselves in Purgatory.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at October 10, 2005 05:52 PM

Absolute nonsense! This kind of thinking and acceptance of behavior IS THE PROBLEM! I come from a very loud Italian family. We never spoke to one another with a normal tone of voice if we wanted to be heard. But none of us would be disrespectful to teachers, administrators or our fellow students by being loud and obnoxious in the classroom. And my parents surely wouldn't have stood for it even though it was accepted behavior at home.

Everyone is looking for an excuse and someone else to blame. That's the way of our world right now in every aspect -- placing blame instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.

What do we do about it? Speaking out against it labels you a racist or cruel to those less fortunate.

Posted by: Ellie at October 18, 2005 10:37 AM

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