The ever-busy D.T., our spiffy and smiling Myrmidon wrangler, writes to us with a surprisingly accurate opening line:
Oh Wise, Mighty, Terrible, Yet Surprisingly Cuddly When the Mood Strikes Him Czar,
I read this account of a “racial brawl” at a Minnesota high school, and one bit of high-quality journalism jumped out at me:
“The fight, students say, was the result of long-simmering tensions between the 8 percent of students who are Somali Americans and the 20 percent who are African Americans.”
It irked me more than a bit. I’m not sure if it’s the PC-esque euphamisms, or the slow-witted journalist who doesn’t seem to understand Venn Diagrams.
What do you think? Is it worthy of a Mandarinian gut-booting, or just a facepalm?
As Always, I remain your faithful wrangler of myrmidons,
The Czar was more baffled by the comment “Students will remain in their classrooms during periods.” Previously, what—they could come and go as they please?
There is indeed much wrong with this story, including a lack of estimates as to how many students were actually involved and what caused it. Between the various, colorful and dramatic comments about brawls, mace, chemical agents, peltings, and boys hitting girls, this could have involved only about four people. What a shame the reporter, Brian Lambert, either did not ask key questions or the editor simply carved up his original piece. The Czar usually suspects the latter, since there is a link to a different story that explains about 200-300 students were involved and as you suspect, it was racially motivated.
Sounds like some name-calling started up between American blacks and Somali Muslims. Things escalated and soon there was a food fight. That explains the pelting. But basically what we have here is not a real, violent brawl but a food fight that resulted in school officers using chemical agents to clear out the cafeteria. No one was arrested and no real injuries occured. This is a bit of a far cry from the days when knives and bats and bricks were used with the intent of killing the other side. In 2013, you can get maced for whipping fruit cup at someone. Please.
But you are right, D.T., in that this write up is a mess of bad editing. Indeed, the Czar wonders if the news reports are trying to make a bigger racial issue out of this than it really is.
BREAKING: Ignorant high school boys decide to pick on kids who are different than themselves, and settle on teasing Somali students. Also BREAKING: Somali kids don’t like it and stand up for themselves. BREAKING: School looks the other way until trouble begins. End of story. How many decades of school incidents does a summary like that cover?
Facepalm it is.