Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Delusionati

Living in Utah provides a cornucopia of potential topics for discussion. Most are depressingly ironic. I am a special fan of people in power who make it their job to be paranoid about government conspiracies. I have thought about creating a secret society called “Delusionati”. Perhaps I already have and I’m hiding it from you; it would be a secret after all.

Delusionati: We can be everywhere because we are nowhere at all.


There may be conspiracies hatching all over Utah, but most of the evil is organized only by the force of collective ignorance. The dissection of the Nazi party in the twentieth century may have hatched the term “The Banality of Evil”. Twenty first century gives birth to the unfortunate guttural understanding of “The Evil of Banality”.

The now iconic story of Kitty Genovese being raped and then killed in an alley within earshot of her neighbors, people who would not upset their daily routine to save her life, is a kind of seed (it is now called the Genovese effect) for this idea, but the idea only takes root when the ignorant start inventing amazing justifications for evil.

As an employee of a large corporate structure I take EEO and sensitivity training almost annually. Most of the time they are canned lessons. Sometimes the cans arrive too late for the scheduled training. When the canned lessons are not available the EEO person wings it. This is usually as funny as a circus-train-wreck.

A good number of years ago, and I think all the people involved have retired or moved on, there was a winging situation I will remember for some time. Earlier in the week an interracial couple in Salt Lake City had a cross burned on their front lawn. The EEO guy thought he could incorperate this into his improv lecture.

“So, just this week, a group of kids were out having some fun when they did something that was interpreted as a racial attack” he explained “They went and put a cross on someone’s lawn, and then lit it up with gasoline. To them it was just a harmless prank. They didn’t know that there was a interracial couple living in the house. The couple thought it was a racial attack, so when they caught the boys they got in a lot of trouble for their harmless prank”

He went on to describe how it is important to try and see how the person you play a prank on sees things, but I had been struck speechless. He went on to explain how they were severely punished despite being upstanding members of their ward (ward is the name for a local Mormon church) and the community.

“What do you think the odds are of randomly choosing a house in Salt Lake City Utah, and it containing an interracial couple?” I asked.

“See” he replied, thinking I was supporting his fantasy “You just never know how lucky you are going to be.”

“I’ve just never heard” I tried a different approach “of people burning a cross on a white couple’s lawn in Salt Lake City”

“Exactly” he was so pleased to have someone awake and agreeing with him during one of his talks “you NEVER hear about them when the cross is burned on a white couple’s lawn”.

I felt like jumping on the table, grabbing my temples, and screaming “The stupid...IT BURNS!!!”.

Apparently not hearing about something is strong evidence that it is happening secretly; certainly not evidence that it is simply not happening at all. However, I guess it was happening since the interracial couple had it done to them. Burning a cross on someone’s lawn might be a universal sign of racial intolerance, but you just cannot be sure what people are trying to communicate with it.

Even targeted statements of intolerance by the very prophet of the Mormon church have been re-interpreted to mean something that they just don’t say. What do you make of this:

“When one considers marriage, it should be an unselfish thing, but there is not much selflessness when two people of different races plan marriage. They must be thinking selfishly of themselves. They certainly are not considering the problems that will beset each other and that will beset their children,” -- Spencer W. Kimball prophet of the Mormon church.1982

Just this past week an interracial boy named Larz Cosby attended a school pep rally of some sort at Alta high in the Salt Lake Valley. There he was confronted by a boy wearing a white KKK hood. The KKK boy was jumping around and taunting Larzs.

I know some of you think I am about to describe how the poor KKK boy was held down by Larz and his classmates with his open mouth shoved against the hard edge of a concrete curb, and then how his teeth were all knocked out by repeated blows against the back of his skull, but that is not what I am about to describe. Larzs simply snatched the white KKK hood off of KKK’s face, and then he went and sat down.

I would not have heard about it had the Cosby family not contacted people who thought it was news. I would not have been as informed of it if Larzs had not written about it on a wordpress blog. I would not have been intrigued by the story if I had not read some of the many comments on it.

The school was “investigating” the incident according to the news broadcast. I’m still amazed at how I picture this story unfolding. KKK boy is hopping around demanding attention in a assembly hall filled with over a thousand students and over a hundred teachers administrators and staff, and it does not become an issue until he confronts one of the only interracial students in the school. I’m sure my former EEO person would chalk this up to some pretty poor luck on KKK boy’s part.

I wonder if KKK boy’s mom helped him sew up his hood. Perhaps it was a hand-me-down from his older brother’s cross-burning days?

The comments are decidedly in support of Lars, and the strength he showed in making his allegations. If I actually counted the comments you might be able to firmly trust me when I state that about 60.2% of the comments were in support of Lars. Roughly half of these appeared to be from people who did not sound like they were familiar with Utah. The other 30.2% sounded like they were Lars’s classmates. Of the 39.8% of those who derided Lars most sounded like they were his classmates; several used “hawk” (the Alta high mascot) in their anonymous comment names.

Although there were many well written and reasoned statements in support of Lars I found the ones attacking him to be more interesting; especially the ones with really poor spelling. I have preserved some quotes from a few of these for you here. I have tried to preserve them as much as I felt comfortable doing. I have hidden some of the filter-unfriendly swear-words with liberal use of the “*” character.


“Oh and get a life it looks like all you have time to do is right about the kid that did that! what are you like gay or something that your so obsessed with him that you need to right a whole story about him! that is very creep! Get over yourself you f**king fag” – ashley

“Larz you are not a saint either” -- bullied

"You are an attention seeker, like most black people. Move back to where you came from.” – genevieve

“I have alot of admiration for the LDS religion. For the most part they act as a whole community and try to help their fellow member’s as well as the whole world.” – genevieve

“i garentee nobody has even called you the “N” word your making this a big deal” – MB

“Just a simple joke. This is High School. Let kids be kids” – Bready

“Should i protest against the Governmemnt for selecting and entire month for ”Black History”..Or even better, maybe ill start an all white organization like NCAAP” -- AgR

“Hey if it offends you then dial ‘911’ and ask for Obama” – AgR

“get over yourself you f**king crybaby. go tell the people in libya, japan, and other countries in dire straights that you felt a skit was racist and see how bad they feel for you. Crybaby” – mike

“I support KKK. It was in reaction to the rights granted to the Negro after the Civil War. Negro should be repatriated to Africa. They are worthless and do not belong in America” –SH

“The boy who wears a kkk hood to school ought to be suspended for the simple fact that people like you have to blow it out of proportion and call attention to yourself like youve suffered slavery personally.” -- joe

“I certainly support what the student did. You are a racially-mixed, confused, and hateful person against whites. You should be expelled for trying to say he is racist when you are the racist one” -- Wyatt Powers

“Get over it and get used to it” – Chris

“What appalls me is race-mixing.” -- Matt Dillon

“You polys are more racist than most. You support him because he is brown. Solidarity in skin color. Sounds racist” -- Mike Jones

“polys are racist” -- Former Hawk

“I think it was funny and glad we live in a place you can wear a white hood. sounds like your a trouble maker and not to well liked in school grow up laugh it off and get on with your life. before it gets worse and you have other problems” -- uncle tom

“And seriously your not the kind of kid that should be saying stuff like this you are ruining the reputation of alta and the kid that did it when really its not like anyone is even racist here. Seriously dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – Altahawksenior

“I know Mackay he isnt racist he just likes to entertain people.” -- ALTA SENIOR

“But I do like how it’s not racists that there is BET, NAACP, United Negro College fund, so on and so forth….but…BUT….if I wanted to start a “poor white kid college fund”….or WET….or National Association for the Advancement of Caucasian People…I would definitely be a racist” – Duke



8 comments:

The Moose said...

Appalling. Thank you for writing about this.
I just wanted to mention, for what it's worth, I enjoy your blog immensely.
Of all the blogs I read or have come across, yours is the only one I have as one of my home pages.
Such a pleasure to know there are good people out there like you who think about and see things the way I do.
Thanks again

adult onset atheist said...

More comment quotes from Larz Cosby's blog

Get over it. The only offense was you assaulting another individual.  – Jon Dough

it was a joke and if you take this to the news or post anything else about this ‘incident’ you have plenty of people who are on mckays side. – stupid

Last year at Alta HIgh School, I was confronted by a black kid dressed as Malcolm X telling everyone in our class that white people were a plague to the human race. No one called the news, was suspended, had blogsites made about it, or called Alta a racist school. – senior at alta

In fact, if you really want to go into the details, there has been more acts of reverse racism demonstrated in Utah over the last ten years. – senior at alta

all I can say is be prepared for war. – senior at alta

Having kids at Alta for the past 5 years, I am here to say there HAS NEVER BEEN RACIAL INCIDENTS. This sounds like stupid kids having fun – Alta Mom

Its funny that people think this is racism. What law did he break? I think your all a bunch of whiny pussies! – whatabunchofpussies

let’s burn a cross and see what happens – yourmother

You are an idiot. Just because you don’t like the other guys kkk antics does not mean you have the right to violate his freedom of speech and guaranteed to him as all americans. So he is white and proud of it… and you are bi-racial and proud of it. So sit down and shut your ignorant mouth and express your pride for yourself and let others do the same. Stop being a jack ass. – the great one

You are the racist here. Im so tired of people like you playing the victim like you have suffered slavery or true racism in your life. You are the reason people crack jokes about it. – joe

I just moved to utah and there is an asinine amount of latinos here. I feel like a minority in my own country. Do i complain? naw i just have to accept the fact im white and proud of it. – gobacho chacho

I’m getting really sick and tired of some black people (pointing out that this is not all black people only a select few) getting all upset about light hearted banter when they belittle themselves by using the N-Word and are equally light heartedly racist towards whites. – Unknown

FUCK YOU. shut up. Pussy. – Scooter

You people always have to claim racism in humor and everyone always has to denounce it and prove they aren’t racist, yet you can go around and claim anyone who is white is racist because they looked at you wrong or whatever. – Wyatt Powers

Larz I am glad you are standing up for yourself, but if you don’t know what his real intentions were you too are being ignorant. – aliamanaia

BTW im also LDS and if someone pranced around in temple garments i would have just knocked them out and that would have been the end of it. – joe

Race mixers are sick. You should crawl back under the rock you came from – Bob Wright

How about the difference between black people and niggers. Niggers go around with a chip on their shoulder. Black people accept who they are. – Really

Life is unfair, it’s big it’s mean and people have opinions, some of which may not fit into yours just as yours do not fit into thiers, it’s called freedom of speech. It’s 2011, slavery has been over long before your grandaddy was even born, so the hurt feelings over it shouldn’t even exist – dragger88

Why is it that when black people degrade white people we cant take it too the news and get articles and news reports?? – Friend

can i say this is the dumbest thing ever just because some one did some thing racist dosent mean they are racist and every one in the world is a little racist most the time its to be funny or maybe they dont like those types of people but unless they cause physical harm who cares grow a pair your not the only one who has it bad i get called a fucking fag – teewee

Dont act like your big LOL. ur just a fuking pussy. Im going to laugh when u get Fuck up at school. Dood u went and told your dad seriously? What, does your dad hold your ballz when u take a shit? hahahaha ur pathetic dood. – CHINKMAN

adult onset atheist said...

Thank you Moose.

adult onset atheist said...

Yet more comment quotes from Larz Cosby's blog


Hell, if you get this upset just seeing a white hood, what you gonna say when you see the noose, LOL?
Grow a pair of balls you little prick. – Alfred de Kok

Larz is also in the wrong for trying to humiliate the teen and calling the police. Just because he is black does not mean he can do no wrong. – West High Alumni

What are the rape stats on black on white women vs white men raping black women? Who are the REAL terrorists in the USA? I think the answer is obvious, unless you are a racist against whites. – Peter GQQDmen

While I am a parent, and not a student, I do have two daughters that attend ALTA High. I also know the young man in so question and I know his family. You, my friend, are blowing this so way out of proportion! – Dana

Its a fact that whites are thr best people on earth lowest crime rate/ lowest population of race prison facts are facts go sell some more drugs and rape some more wemon making are county worse is all you are doing. – Altar senior 2

this is a joke taken way to far! white power! the south will rise again… – general lee

It was just a joke. stop being fucking cry baby bitches. its life. its not like he came to school with a knife and threatened to kill all the black kids at school. – Darth Vader

yeah dude! slavery ended like 200 fuckin years ago! get over it!!! – fainting goat

white power Fuck niggers!!! – Dj

SLDrone said...

Many of us that that have grown up in Utah, raised as Mormons, and have had the intellectual stamina to arrive at and accept atheism have usually done so by seeking out TRUTH. That's why I was a little surprised to see you making conjectures and loading your blog with bias.

While it's true that there were many almost unintelligible and racist comments being made on Larz blog, most of those were being made by trolls who had no intention of adding anything useful to the dialog. You've done a good job of selecting those posts (out of the almost 600 comments) to illustrate your initial thesis. This is of course (and I think you know it) circular logic.

Racism and Bigotry cut both ways.
It is a fallacy to assume the “antic” was racially motivated. Let’s not besmudge the boy, pretend to know his motivations and character, and most importantly let’s not rush to judgement about his upbringing and his family.
Please don’t rush to judge his parents, his school, his neighborhood or him based on a stereotype. Isn’t that the the same mistake the KKK made in the first place?

We can analyze the action and judge it wrong, but let us not assume to know what the boy was thinking, or more likely NOT thinking.

I’ve read Mr. Cosby’s blog and also scrolled through the almost 600 comments. There is a common theme. For the most part those that were NOT there assume the boy who donned the hat was racially motivated and react accordingly. Those that WERE there and who know both boys react quite differently, claiming that the boy is in fact not racist but rather “a tool” and clueless as to the history and suffering of blacks and the role the KKK played. Here is what I gather from eyewitness accounts.

1. The boy in question is not racist, his best friend is black. His antic was focused on the senior class which was dressed in black and not blacks as a race. The boy did not bring the hood to school, but was participating in the assembly when someone handed him the hood thinking it would be funny. The boy put on the hood without thought or consideration. IT WAS NOT PREMEDITATED. Yes it was stupid, but stupid not racially motivated. Rather than being labeled a racist the boy needs some education with regard to the plight of blacks in this country.

2. Mr. Cosby himself has somewhat of a reputation for using racial slurs and behaving as a bully. He and his father are using this event rather disingenuously for publicity of an upcoming book.

3. Mr. Cosby is not entirely accurate in his reporting of the event.

SLDrone said...

In fact to this last point, let me conclude by posting the observation of another black student at the school who was an eye witness to the events.

(I've edited out a couple of words that are causing this post to get flagged for moderation, but other than that, this is word from word from a comment on Larz public blog)

Posted by Javon on March 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I am a black senior at Alta High School, and was there for this incident. I was sitting 3 rows behind where this happened and saw this whole incident first hand. I agree that wearing a hood like that is ignorant and dumb, but Larz if you’re going to try and make a case here don’t tell so many lies. This is not AT ALL how this story happened! I was right there and you provoked this more than anyone!

The whole school knew that was in no way directed towards race. I’m glad you got your fame and are trying to ruin a good kids life, but I’m thinking about writing a blog and telling the whole truth. Before people rush to judgement about what happened in this case, realize Larz is fabricating the truth immensely, and if anyone wants to know the real story, please feel free to check out my blog with evidence on the story.

This whole blog is just a bunch of dumb high school kids, and Larz I saw you in the library yesterday on this site writing a bunch of comments on this blog saying it was written by other people. I know you want this story to become huge and are doing everything in your power to make it huge, but realize I’m glad you showed everyone how racially naive Utah is and I’m glad you are putting our black rights on the front line of the news, but to what extent are you doing this all?

Are you willing to tarnish a kids life that has made NUMEROUS attempts to apologize to you, has been suspended five days, has a district hearing coming up, and has already served 20 hours of community service for his action. I was able to see McKay at the store and he was devestated for what this has become. He is one of the most genuinely caring and nice people I know and he obviously feels extreme remorse and sadness for what this has become.

I was in the cafeteria yesterday when he tried to call you again and apologize and you in front of all of your friends said I’m gonna make this b*** pay for what he did to me earlier this year. You are trying to take out personal revenge on a kid for truly thoughtless mistake. I do not feel for you in any way Larz, I was black and right there and you are making this story into something it was not. If this was truly a racial issue, I would be on the front lines making sure that McKay and anyone involved were punished as much as possible, but the fact is, I can sleep at night knowing that I saw what really happened and this has blown SO FAR out of proportion. I hope you get whatever type of feeling of satisfaction you are desiring, but for those of us who want others to learn from this experience and be better people from having seen or experienced this, I feel like you are taking this to a whole new level.

Just realize people are watching and investigating Alta High School, and for you to be saying “I’m gonna s**** McKay, who cares about race in any of this” is going to be heard by enough people or recorded so that they will see your true intentions. In conclusion, I am not taking this situation lightly and am glad to see McKay got punished and people are able to learn from this. Race is never something to be joked with and I hope this can be a learning experience for all of us. I hope the truth of the whole story comes out and no ones life is ruined over a truly thoughtless mistake.

SLdrone said...

Having tried to post a more balanced report of both the incident and the blog comments to your blog, I'm disappointed that you don't have the intellectual honesty to allow them to remain.

Unfortunately, you seem to prefer your once sided circular logic and misrepresentation of the facts. Good luck to you.

SLDrone said...

Racism and Bigotry cut both ways. I would hate to see the school district use this boy as a scapegoat because school administration didn't act more quickly or decisively, or the Tribune try to sell a few more papers by embarrassing a HS kid who in a split second decision did the wrong thing.

It is a fallacy to assume the “antic” was racially motivated. Let’s not be-smudge the boy, pretend to know his motivations and character, and most importantly let’s not rush to judgement about his upbringing and his family.

Please don’t rush to judge his parents, his neighborhood or him based on a stereotype. Isn’t that the the same mistake the KKK made in the first place?

We can analyze the action and judge it wrong, but let us not assume to know what the boy was thinking, or more likely NOT thinking.

I’ve read Mr. Cosby’s blog and also scrolled through the 200 or so comments. There is a common theme. For the most part those that were NOT there assume the boy who donned the hat was racially motivated and react accordingly. Those that WERE there and who know both boys react quite differently, claiming that the boy is in fact not racist but rather “a tool” and clueless as to the history and suffering of blacks and the role the KKK played. Here is what I gather from eyewitness accounts.

1. The boy in question is not racist, his best friend is black. His antic was focused on the senior “black clad” class and not blacks as a race. Yes it was stupid, but stupid not racially motivated. Rather than being labeled a racist the boy needs some education with regard to the plight of blacks in this country.

2. Mr. Cosby himself has somewhat of a reputation for using racial slurs and behaving as a bully. He and his father are using this event rather disingenuously for publicity of an upcoming book.

3. Mr. Cosby is not entirely accurate in his reporting of the event.

This is an issue that could have been handled on a personal level with perhaps a public apology within the confines of the school. Involvement of the general media seems to me just an attempt to bully and ridicule. I heard someone say once that "two wrongs don't make a right"