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Thursday, May 18, 2017

THE ENTERTAINING, CHILLING DEFENSES OF A RACIST RANT VIDEO

   Ignore the message. Kill the messenger.
   No, literally, kill the messenger.
   In the wake of my Tuesday post exposing a racist rant that forced the exit of a teenager from Jesuit High School, that fatal intention is the alarming crescendo of feedback. Rather than admitting shock, expressing sympathy or pledging to examine the culture of a prestigious school that has helped foster two infamous racist videos in two years, the wave of comments on my story quickly deteriorated into personal attacks.
   And, ultimately, escalated into this:
... nobody gives a fuck about this website and your illegal blogs about childeren(sic) u fuckin loser. Kill your self(sic)
   I've been at this 30+ years and have experienced my share of pushback on articles and columns. But  never - not once - has the feedback gone to such a dark place that the stated goal was my death. Look, I have developed some extremely thick skin. The insults and attacks on my appearance or my writing don't offend me.
   But the perverted perspective behind them absolutely alarms me.
   Over 13,000+ unique views and 90+ comments later, the running theme in response to Charlie Burkhart's disgusting racist rant was not to admonish the message, but rather to ambush the messenger.
   Granted, a majority of the responses were likely crafted by teens armed with free time, keyboard courage and minimal maturity. In their eyes, I had the audacity to pick on one of their own. (Which, think about it, is a scary notion.) The response - cloaked in anonymity, of course - was to shower me with all sorts of colorful labels and creative descriptions. A sampling:
   "Idiot".
   "Turd".
   "Dick".
   "Penis".
   "Gay".
   "Chode".
   "Retarded".
   "Inbred".
   "Douchebag".
   "Sadistic fuck".
   "Fucking toad".
   "Sick son of a bitch".
   "Soulless ginger fuck".
   "Tranny with bad plastic surgery".
   And, my personal favorite: "A frog mixed with chewbaccas(sic) asshole that sprang out with Down syndrome and diabetes."
   The irrationally misguided haters also yanked my wife, Sybil Summers, into their bullseye, comically claiming she is "an ex-porn star." I mean, she's hot and all but ...
   A in creative writing. F in sensitivity training.
   The comments also came with assorted calls to action, such as "stick to sports", "get a life", "stop being a liberal" and, of course, "Kill your self."
   More troubling, there are attempts to inexplicably diminish, or even justify Burkhart's rant:
   "It's a 15-year-old boy making one mistake. What's your problem?"
   "Leave him alone! He's just a minor!"
   "Fake News!"
   Personal attacks notwithstanding, one comment - from an adult Twitter follower who claimed to be a Jesuit parent - genuinely bothered me.
   "What Richie did in writing about that kid is equally as horrible as the video."
   Think about the warped mentality behind that statement. In essence, the thinking is that the only thing as bad as racism is ... exposing racism?
   I guess I was naive enough to expect reaction to the video to be overwhelming - if not 100% - condemnation. This kind of attack of the messenger and, in turn, support of Burkhart is down right chilling.
   Again, the motivation for my original post was not to indict Jesuit for some sort of systemic, institutionalized racism. But you cannot deny the connection between the two stars in the videos. I don't think Jesuit is teaching racism, but there is evidence to suggest it's not doing enough to un-teach it.
   Hence ...
   President Mike Earsing in 2015
   I am appalled by the actions in the video and extremely hurt by the pain this has caused our community. It is unconscionable and very sad that in 2015 we still live in a society where this type of bigotry and racism takes place ...
   President Mike Earsing in 2017
   We are saddened by this young man's actions because they are not representative of what we - and our student body - stand for ...
   I respect Jesuit as one of Dallas' finest learning institutions. Jordan Spieth, in town for this week's Byron Nelson golf tournament, is just the latest example of what Jesuit is capable of producing. I coached youth soccer and basketball teams with several kids that went on to graduate from there. I'm still friends with many of the parents from the youth teams.
   Proud Jesuit parents.
   They acknowledge that Jesuit is willingly held to a higher standard, and that the actions of Burkhart and Parker Rice woefully fail to meet those standards and therefore do harm to the school's image. The incidents by no means suggest a habitual, unbreakable pattern of behavior by all Jesuit students. But nor should they be shrugged off as random, wholly disconnected coincidences.
   A "mistake" is when you turn right instead of left and are five minutes late to your appointment. Burkhart's racist rant wasn't merely a mistake, something he inadvertently blurted out. It's not a trivial hiccup to be swept under the rug. It was a product of a bigoted belief system he had before he arrived at Jesuit, and will likely maintain now that he's left.
   Best we can hope is that Burkhart learns a lesson from the incident. Maybe he will alter his actions, if not altogether transform his beliefs.
   There is, alas, a glimmer of hope amidst the hate.
   Rather than respond with crude, callous, childish and cowardly "anonymous" attacks, one Jesuit student took the time to respond via thoughtful email.
Charlie Burkhart is a great example of the opposite of what Jesuit students stand for: We are taught to care for our brothers, not to insult and push hate towards them. Charlie Burkhart had a negative reputation for incidents like this before he attended Jesuit. Jesuit's goal is not to instill hate in our hearts but to help us become open to growth, intellectually competent, physically fit, loving, religious, and committed to working for justice. Obviously not all students hold on to and care for what we are taught. I assure you that the hate in their hearts was not put there by Jesuit College Preparatory. I currently attend Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. I am in the class of 2020. I am not one of Charlie Burkhart's friends nor have I ever had the idea of trying to be. He is a disgusting individual and I am glad he is gone. I am only sending this to stand up for my school and its beliefs.
   Here's hoping that message echoes throughout Jesuit's halls, and finds its way into Burkhart's heart.

16 comments:

  1. Stop tweeting about Jesuit because you are still butthurt that you didn't get in ages ago...

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  2. If you have such "thick skin" the why do you feel so obligated to write an article on your sports page about some kids ripping on your apparently "hot" wife?

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  3. Asking for round 2?

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  4. If you receive more of these HORRIBLE comments on this article, ignore them, please. These are dumb teens who will look back at this when older and see how stupid it was for commenting, they, and I have yet to learn, I, and the rest of Jesuit a truly sorry, with that, if any other comments below this are hurtful towards you, they, with charlie, are not apart of the Jesuit mission. They only say this because they are taught to live to such a high standard that when that standard is crushed at its peak, they are quick to hide it and abolish any negativity. Teachers have seen these comments and were disappointed in us and themselves, and we all should be. Some people went out of line because they, once again, are stupid teens attempting to impress their friends. Again, all those who actually live by what Jesuit teaches, are truly sorry, we are. Thank you for saying you respect Jesuit, that's all these kids wanted, but if they still comment horrible things, they are irrelevant to what we are taught. These names are nothing we would say in public, but once they see you can go anonymous, they will start throwing out anything and everything to put you down. These teens see every second what our society talks about behind the screen and believes what they say is what we should say. Sorry, we are sorry, sorry you had to deal with this and us. But, nothing will get through these kids, so please just ignore them, because they are irrelevant to Jesuit, you, and the world.

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    1. ^That's a fat lie Richie. I would call you a soulless ginger fuck if I ever met you because we can't just ignore the obvious and I'd probably beat da shit out of you after. I go to public school so I got no consequences other then hoping you don't right an article ab me droppin ur Bitch ass then bangin that b Sybil summers again. Drop this Charlie and Jesuit news. None of your actual fans care about it, they only want to read your sports articles.

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    2. Lol wait. You have no fans that care ab this shitstorm website.

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  5. All of the vulgar attacks are just further​ proof to me of a culture problem the school is hesitant and reluctant to address directly. Notice how some boys revel in homophobic rants, try to one up each other in shock value, and generally react as if their frat party has been broken up. There have been other racial incidents which have not made it in the media. I don't believe the school promotes bigotry. It does has a difficult problem to address. Formation can mean there are swift and severe consequences for ignorance and bigotry. Faculty and administration must summon the energy and effort to do more to confront and root out this bigoted subculture that has taken hold. Reduce the enrollment, take a firmer stance on discipline, and get a tighter grip on the school culture - or face further scandal. These bigoted boys might be small in number, but they obviously feel safe enough within the school culture to continue to do these things. This must change.

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  6. So this has happened at BL too? Ursuline? ESD? JPII? Nolan? No? Huh.

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  7. Your a cum guzzler

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  9. Richie, to be completely honest with you, you did go out of your way to publicly expose Mr. Burkhart which was wrong of you. He already received his punishment and that's enough. There is no need to affect his family and all those who associate with him. This is bigger than Charlie. When you expose him, it hurts others and you need to realize that. It hurts our school, which in no way supports what he mistakenly said. Personally knowing Charlie, I know that Mr.Burkhart is no "racist punk". That video came as a shock to me and many others. Never have I ever heard him say such things. I agree with you that the comments on your last post were quite excessive. But when you attempt to ruin him and our school it is difficult to not receive such comments. Charlie did not represent what Jesuit teaches that day and those comments were out of anger at your hateful remarks to Jesuit. They, like many others, love Jesuit and it hurts to see such things happen to it causing them to leave such comments. These things happen at every high school at this day in age and it just so happened that a prestigious institute such as Jesuit, which has been highly honored, got put on the spot. People are only making this bigger than it should be because it deals with Jesuit. If you really want to see this stop then look at just bigger than Jesuit. There is racism and "n words" all around us; in our songs, in our movies, in our everyday life. This is not Jesuits fault, but society itself.

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    1. Very well put. Thank you. I have known Charlie for 8 years and he is definitely not a racist.

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  10. This man was so happy that people were commenting on his article for once that he wrote an entire new article just about that

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  11. The school figuratively breaks its arm patting itself on the back at every school assembly. Such a noble, virtuous place, etc. As we can see, there are plenty of people turned off by how much sunshine is pumped. It can use some sobering criticism from an outsider.

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