Only Wayne
April 2, 2005 3:52 AM   Subscribe

Only Wayne. A racist bullying case study in wiki format.
posted by plep (22 comments total)
An Edison Librarian portrays Wayne as a young man with long thick hair who gets teased by a few kids, but is no angel and gives as good as he gets. She attributes Wayne's problems to his politically active parents who brought him to Champaign for political reasons. She accuses them of encouraging him to play the racist card with his teachers, by telling him that he didn't have to follow rules or listen to "white racist" teachers.

Interesting reading. No black or white, just a dirty shade of gray...
posted by fixedgear at 4:14 AM on April 2, 2005

Maybe I'm not getting it, but I kept waiting for the part where he was bullied. I mean, yes, he was treated unfairly for being different by his classmates. They're sixth graders. That's what they do. It's not fair and I sincerely feel for the kid, but I don't see anything indicating that the teachers didn't do their best to help him. If anything, it sounds like he probably got more protection than the short kids, tall kids, smart kids, stupid kids, fat kids, skinny kids, and kids who climb on rocks.

The only unusual action I can see here is that his parents made him part of their unpopular campaign against the school's 'Chief' mascot. Which may be a good cause, but only served to establish their kid as an outsider and an enemy in the eyes of all his classmates.
posted by Simon! at 4:49 AM on April 2, 2005

"As expected in a controversial story such as Wayne's, there are other spins to be told."

...which is the whole problem with this wiki format. I suppose the idea is interesting; having people independently research and re-report a story, but 'spinning' it is just what is happening here. This is a fun experiment but should be viewed more as entertainment than an attempt to get the story right. Not that this is much of a story.

Racist bullying? Guess this was a matter of time, especially since 'hate crimes' seemed to curry so much favor with those that weren't getting enough attention for merely being a victim of a crime. Most kids experience bullies at some point in their life (except the bullies which generally grow up and live in a double-wide and drink Milwaukees Best) but now they can get extra-special attention cause it was racially motivated - as if that were any worse than just being motivated cause say, the bully is a....well.....a bully? I'd say, 'nigger please' but someone will probably have a 'hissy fit' (ooops, I did it again).
posted by j.p. Hung at 5:49 AM on April 2, 2005

You aren't getting it all Simon, nor is JP. Do you have any empathy for what it might be like to experience racism as a kid? I'm glad I'm not your neighbor.

Read the kid's testimony.
Search for Wayne Crue on that site, it's page 177 in the document.
posted by about_time at 5:58 AM on April 2, 2005

that's, "aren't getting it AT all"
posted by about_time at 5:59 AM on April 2, 2005

well, that didn't take long. VALIDATION!! So...racist bullying IS worse than just bullying. There you have it folks.

Don't get it huh?

Ok, About...answer this question: Is calling a kid fat racist? No. Why? It's got no political feet. Now...tell me a black kid, or a hispanic kid, or an indian kid that had it worse than a fat kid growing up. Yep, I don't get it.
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:15 AM on April 2, 2005

This Wiki conflates two issues. Issue one is 'was a twelve year old bullied by his schoolmates?' The second issue is some sort of hearing at a university over their continued use of an Indian as their mascot. The tenuous link is that the allegedly bullied kid was invited to testify at the proceeding held by the university. It is hard to believe that a twelve year old testified like that 'off the top of his head.' It's too articulate and measured for any twelve year old I've ever encountered. It smells more and more like the parents using the kid to promote their agenda.
posted by fixedgear at 6:19 AM on April 2, 2005

Here is about_time's link, properly formatted: testimony
posted by teg at 6:23 AM on April 2, 2005

...Or how about that kid with the coke bottle glasses, or that girl with the wandering eye. Then there is always the red head, the kid that smells, the one with some hormone deficiency that makes him look mis-shapen and on and on and on. These people get more abuse than you can imagine.

Do you have any empathy for what it might be like to be one of these kids? C'mon already, it hurt that smelly kid just as much as that friggin Injun (oh, I'm sorry, that was insensitive).

...sorry for the derail.
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:25 AM on April 2, 2005

It's not about bullying or what kind of bullying is worse. Or if fat kids experience racism. I don't give a shit about the argument you are pushing. I don't care to argue about what his classmates did and if the kids are responsible.

The important part of this case that you are overlooking is that this kid clearly experienced racism in the classroom from one or more of his teachers. From adults. From authority figures. Is it worse than fat kids getting teased by teachers? I don't care. This kid was clearly discrimninated against because of his race by teachers. And that is wrong.

I don't see this thread going anywhere. JP's tone is clearly meant to incite more than debate. I'll continue to read comments, but I'm done feeding the fire.
posted by about_time at 6:39 AM on April 2, 2005

It seems like the whole piece begins with - and never questions - the assumption that it's discussing only one issue here, and as such it presents a biased and incomplete picture. On the one hand, it's quite clear that Wayne was bullied, and that there were some racial elements to that bullying, and that at least one teacher not only failed to live up to her duty of care towards Wayne (which holds regardless of his own behaviour), but actively participated in denigrating him.

However, that's a seperate issue from the question of how far a community needs to go to avoid causing offense to a group or an individual. That's a far more complex question. While it's undeniable that constant references to and reinforcement of a person's minority status is frequently harmful, it's far less clear that simply because a person takes offense at something, harm is being caused. Even less clear that a community should regulate or restrict its own behaviour because of the possibility of offense being caused. And when you consider that the notion of offense being caused is now being co-opted as political tools by groups that hardly count as minorities...

Rowan Atkinson said, recently, in response to proposed British legislation, "The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed." Now, I'm not suggesting that people had any right to ridicule Wayne - quite the opposite - but I'm not convinced that many things presented here as being part of the bullying he suffered could be reasonably included in the category of harmful behaviour.

This site appears to equate "offense taken" and "harm caused" as being perfectly synonymous, which I think is, um, begging the question somewhat...

On preview: fixedgear has it right.
posted by flashboy at 6:45 AM on April 2, 2005

Oddly enough, as young child, I was one of a very few of my race at public school, and found that not only was I not bullied, I was given a lot more lee-way by both students and teachers.

In first grade, I simply skipped physical education class to roam at will around the school grounds, and nothing was said about it. In third grade, I remember "tattling" on other students for minor infractions, like "pencil fighting", but no student ever called me on that or threatened me for it.

It was only when I moved to a school with students mostly of my own race that I recall being bullied to any real extent (and no, it wasn't because I'd picked up the mannerisms or "culture" of the other-race children I'd first been schooled with -- I hadn't assimilated any of that.)

But then, I was an odd child.
posted by orthogonality at 6:54 AM on April 2, 2005

Oh just calm down About....I have no empathy, I don't get it and you're glad you're not my neighbor(?) - yes, good debating points my friend. My points are not to incite. It's to get people like you to stop buying into the fact that bullying laced with some racial slur is somehow worse than, 'bullying' as an idea. That's all.
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:04 AM on April 2, 2005

They're sixth graders. That's what they do.

what utter horseshit. children do what they see being done.
posted by quonsar at 8:50 AM on April 2, 2005

about_time, quonsar: Amen.

j.p. you're missing the damn point. Nobody said "racist" bullying is better or worse than anything else. The simple fact is that it is bad. "Well, well, I was fat and smelly and kids made fun of ME! And I ain't no Injun!" Irrelevant.

Wayne experienced other racist bullying activities in that students began wearing "Save the Chief" stickers on their foreheads to taunt Wayne.

I'm not so sure that the kids were wearing Save the Chief stickers to taunt Wayne. Probably not. Probably just wanted to defend their parent's retarded political p.o.v.

I have a recurring dream in which I somehow come into possession of one billion dollars. (micro-payments! gasp!) I then go back to my old highschool and BUY the sports program. I do away with all forms of competitive sports and convert the stadium into a giant vivarium like the one where they keep the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. I convert the Phys. Ed. program into some sort of holistics class. For this, I give the school district 500 million dollars. Heh. That'd show those damned racist jocks a thing or two.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:57 AM on April 2, 2005

Metafilter: I was fat and smelly and kids made fun of ME! And I ain't no Injun!
posted by orthogonality at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2005

i didn't make it all the way to p 179, but just from reading and scrolling through the wiki, i did pick up that the parents of wayne seemed to be using him to promote their agenda to retire Illiniwek. It is unfortunate, but probably to be expected, that if one side will use the child as a focal point, the other side will respond. They could just let the kid be a kid.

The teacher who allowed teasing? should be be put in stocks and teased unmercilessly for whatever physical attributes she may display.
posted by beelzbubba at 10:17 AM on April 2, 2005

"Metafilter: I was fat and smelly and kids made fun of ME! And I ain't no Injun!"

posted by j.p. Hung at 1:01 PM on April 2, 2005

Wearing "Save the Chief" stickers is racist bullying? Some people are truly stupid.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 7:18 PM on April 2, 2005

What on earth is a personhood?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:29 PM on April 2, 2005

I was only in high school for 2 years, and that was 6 years ago. I paid no attention to the sports, and tended to hang with a small group of friends and talk about video games and Magic: the Gathering. I knew, and still remember, that the team mascot was the Colonial. My college doesn't even have teams anymore, and I know that back when we did, we were the Bees. Until reading this article, I hadn't heard of Jim Thorpe.

Take from that what you will. It just seems to me that kids in some small middle school near a university with huge controversy over its mascot, controversy in which they seem to get caught up, are pretty damn likely to know who that mascot is. I dunno how likely they are to know who Jim Thorpe is, just that I honestly don't remember ever hearing the name before.

'course, I also wouldn't take offense at the use of that kind of stereotype as a school mascot. I mean, I'm about a quarter Irish, and I don't give a damn about Notre Dame. Most of my heritage is Germanic/Norse, with which I strongly identify, yet Minnesota fooball does not bother me. Go figure.
posted by kafziel at 1:31 AM on April 3, 2005

Jim Thorpe is Mauch Chunk. Not that your life can't go on for not knowing, but your high school did you a minor disservice if they didn't tell you Jim Thorpe's story.
posted by fixedgear at 4:05 AM on April 3, 2005

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