Thursday, October 27, 2005

And you wonder how they get like that?

Highland Park is the swanky neighborhood that surrounds the university campus. HP High School sends many a grad to the place. Wonder how the kids get to be snotty, elitist punks? Check out this story from the neighborhood paper. (Linked via our friends at The FrontBurner blog at D Magazine.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that had been a protest, it would have been great. It would have been a poignant way to point out the role of Hispanics in upper and upper middle class society; it's really too bad that those spoiled brats were taking themselves seriously.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not ok: stereotyping Hispanics.

Is ok: stereotyping HP High School students as "snotty, elitist punks".

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

Technically they're allowed to dress however they want. It just shows their true colors.
I ponder what would happen if real Crips and Bloods happen to stumble into Highland Park on one of these days. Look the look and whine the talk.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Greg - Cowboy in the Jungle said...

Now I'm offended that they are offended!

If you don't want to be made fun of for being "Thuggy" then don't do thuggy things? No one makes people get a gold tooth (for cosmetic reasons) no one makes the gangstas dress in red and blue - they choose to.

All of the cultural and racial stereotypes around ethnic appearance are done to make that individual stand out and be noticed, to grab attention. Be ware! When you grab attention it isn't always the kind you want!

So if you don't want to be made fun of for driving a lowrider with bouncy shocks, fuzzy dice, and a picture of the Virgin Mary and Selena on your tailgate then don't drive a lowrider with bouncy shocks, fuzzy dice, and a picture of the Virgin Mary and Selena on your tailgate.

All together gang! Repeat after me, "I am a special person. I am individual and unique - just like every one else that walks the planet."

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kids at HP probably are racist. DId it occur to any of them to dress up like Tom Delay, Carl Rove, Gary Condit, Jeff Skilling, or Jim Baker on "thug" day? They have plenty of white men to immulate if they want to be "thugs" for the day.

If wearing a gold tooth, bandana, and baggy pants are the only things that qualify as thug-like, then OK, they were not racist. But I tend to believe that the men mentioned above, along with many others, like Dennis Koslowski and Jack Abramoff, are worse than any gold-toothed, bandana-wearing "thug."

So, what do we call these white men who sin? Considering they are the type of people that would actually live in HP, maybe HP needs to get rid of "thug" day and bring in "White, lying, bastard, crook day" instead. That would be more representative. Seriously, who in HP actually knows a blood or a crip? But I'm sure someone has connections to one or more of the men above. So, in the "spirit" of things, HP, change your "thug" day to "White, lying, bastard, crook day," and no one will accuse you of being racist again.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Well, highland park really is the "bubble" ... a lot of them probably don't know any Hispanics other than the maid or the yard guy.

Reminds me of the story I heard once about the Hispanic woman walking in the grocery store with her daughter, and the little girl in another mom's shopping basket said, "Hey look, Mommy! A maid and a baby maid!"

You do what you know. It's kind of sad that they're so sheltered as to not be able to think out of that particular box. Real life - or even South Dallas - might just hit them in the face one day when they're totally unprepared.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bah, sounds like another overreaction.

The article does too.

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am white and have a white guy that mows my lawn, am I allowed to dress up like him or is that offensive too?

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, they have a narrow definition of "thug". Get a spray-on tattoo and dress as a Yakuza member, for goodness' sake! Dress as a 19th-century Cossack! A Colombian paramilitary! A 1950's Red Army member! A Jersey mafioso! A drunken, violent white American barfly! A Planned Parenthood protester! Karl Rove!

Not only are these kids racists, they're uncreative racists. And they're not just racist, they're classist as well - see the "white trash day" mentioned in passing.


3:30 AM  
Blogger Fish Out of Water said...

What's really sad is the band aid response in the last paragraph - changing it to dress up according to decades rather than discussing the themes raised.
I grew up in an upper middle class bubble, but in the 80s. I can't imagine my teens without idealism and politics.

10:16 AM  
Blogger GrumpyGringo said...

Honestly, I found the leaf blower to be inspired. Any suburban punk can go get an Iverson jersey. Let's give the kid some credit.

As for the folks who are calling the kids 'racists,' since when did tasteless humor become racist? If you're going to toss these words around carelessly, they're going to lose all meaning.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is what is scary: not only the kids, but many of the commentators here don't know that racial stereotyping comes with a 400-year history of physical violence and economic dispossession -- unlike stereotyping HP kids as "snotty, elitist punks." It's not the stereotyping that's the problem, it's the history it reflects and furthers.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fabulous argument! The answer to turning around one bad history for the better is to pick a new group to stereotype. I'm sick of certain groups being held to a different standard. Tune into MTV once in awhile and you'll see the same attitude (only harder and more coarse), and it's not going to be from people who look like HP Seniors.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PP you really do hate these privileged kids don't you? It's shocking to you when you find one that you approve of. is 'teaching' really your calling?

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Retired Professor said...

To the most recent Anonymous:

It is not an act of hatred to hold up the genuine defects in people's character for public criticism. It is an act of love.

Teaching is not therapy, nor should it be. Neither is it simply the provision of information, or a means of credentialing. These things do not give a person any real power in the real world.

PP strikes me as a very fine teacher indeed.

3:38 AM  
Blogger SuperHolmie said...

I wasn't surprised by anything in the article. The behavior of the kids (and administrators) is typical. I teach in a Dallas suburb and I see the stereotyping there, too-- from kids who live in houses that aren't on streets named after Ivy League schools.

Is it right to dress as a Mexican, or a maid (those aren't always mutually exclusive) or some overly tattooed, metal-toothed rap star? Can't say. I completely agree about Cossack Day or White Lying Bastard Crook Day. Now THAT'S original.

Can I rant for a bit?

What I took exception to, and what really pissed me off, is the dressing up as teachers for white trash day.

I make $43,000 a year at my school. Depending on your value system, you are either shaking your head in pity or bugging your eyes out in jealousy at that amount. People have had both reactions at my salary, which I divulge freely and without pretense.

I'm so effing sick of people expecting me to be poor because I'm a teacher. I own a home (and not a trailer home), a car, and (gasp) name-brand clothing. I travel some. I go to concerts. I drink imported beer. I am not poor. I happen to own a fairly expensive watch and someone remarked to me once that I was the only teacher they'd ever seen with that kind of watch on. They asked if I had a part-time job or something so I could pay for it.

I also overhear, "Don't throw that away... some teacher might be able to use it." Now, I understand about using props and things in the classroom. I just purchased a life-size cardboard goat for this purpose. But I resent people thinking that teachers don't deserve to own nice things or spend money like everyone else does.

Now I'm mad. I'm going to go find some truffles to eat.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the the real truth behind this story is that it shows the lack of respect for others. Yes, we have Mexican, pregnant maids in this country, but my house keeper is white, middle-aged and white. She's a college student who cleans houses to make some money while she pays to quench her thirst for knowledge. She also pet sits my dogs. My yard guy is a German, white guy. He's extremely nice and dependable and is excellent at customer service. See, these are people. People that I don't look down upon because these are their jobs. Instead, I appreciate what they do. They are business people. They offer a service, which my husband and I find valuable in our lives.

My husband and I are not rich, HP people. We are two people with two dogs and an almost 2 year old daughter who work. The housekeeper and lawn person were hired to give us a little extra time to spend with our daughter on the weekend.

So, people can deny that the HP kids are racist (I still think they are), but I really think the story shows how little regard they have for the housekeepers, lawn people, etc. that do service for them. These people are PEOPLE, and if they didn't have blatant disregard for their place in society, they might know more about their housekeepers that would actually allow them to see them as people, rather than caricutures of pop culture.

And to the kids who make fun of the maids (all in the "spirit" of being a HP'er), what would you do if you didn't have a maid to pour your soda for you? GASP!

9:16 AM  
Blogger Eddo said...

OMW - it is offensive and a little bit funny. The afro and gold teeth and bandana is funny, making fun of Hispanics isn't funny.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

"What I took exception to, and what really pissed me off, is the dressing up as teachers for white trash day."

You have to admit there are some really wierd people teaching school. I was the only white kid in my sixth grade class and the only person who made fun of me was the black teacher. Of course, it did not help that I constantly corrected her grammar, math problems, and noticed her rather unclean personal habits as well.

She drove a nice Corvette to school.

So trash is as trash does.

Kids see the world without filters that we as adults consciously or not put on ourselves.

When kids dress up to parody others it does not matter where they come from - someone will get skewered. What HPH students do is no different from what Midlothian students would do.

That somehow rich kids should be singled out because they have money misses the point.

Yet this becomes the point.

And like Racism, we tar and feather everyone, rather than approaching everyone equally.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Red River said...


I have a Maid, she is my wife.

She has a Gardener, its called me.

She parodies my antics sometime, and I point out her foibles, too.

So its a human thing, deeply human, to mimic others with an exagerated flair.

As most the posts on here have superior aire!

"I would never do that!
They say.

"But those damn rich slobs so it all the time!!!!!" They Exclaim.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

For a "fiesta" theme, I would expect sombreros, brightly colored clothing, maracas, and other trappings of celebration. Dressing up as a landscaper or pregnant maid does not imply celebration — it implies "This is what I think when I think of Latinos." And that's sad. I agree with the parent quoted who said it was like showing up in blackface. It pains me to know that so many parents of students who showed up in this garb see it as no big deal. These parents would probably see cultural sentitivity training in school as a ploy to corrupt their darling perfect children with liberal ideology.

The dresing up as teachers on trailer trash day was equally offensive to me for the profound disrepect it showed. This is presumably an affluent district, where teachers tend to be paid well. I've lived in districts where teachers have to take on extra jobs to make ends meet in the summer, and I've lived in districts where the teachers make over $70k per year. In neither have most of my classmates wanted to be in class, and a number of us truly despised some of these teachers, but we all had a little respect and at least didn't make fun of them to their faces. Certianly not for a social class that if it were lower than ours was enforced by our parents.

Social studies class totally needs to include race and class components other than the civil rights movement of the 60s. Some real history of feminism would also be nice. So much of what I "learned" in social studies was the same old crap every year until I took an elective AP course senior year. Only then did we talk about anything with the intention of analysis.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really strange to see the number of people posting here that do not consider what the HP kids did as racist and/or showing a complete lack of respect for others. And yes, this, too, could happen in Midlothian. The money that the HP kids have is not the issue. I don't think they are racist because they are rich. People are racist out of ignorance. And to the person who said his maid is his wife and that you parody each other: I wrote the post about my housekeeper, and my point is that I see my housekeeper as a business person, not someone to poke fun at.

We can have a sense of humor, but really it's the idea that these kids, and some of you who have posted here, see certain jobs or certain races in one way. That's not funny, but I guess it's life.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

Kids? I don't consider these people in high school as kids they are young adults. They know right from wrong by this point in their life. I am sure they knew what they were doing when they decided what they wanted to wear.

You can't change people like this. So if that is what they want to do the least they can do is call the day what it really is. If they want to make fun of housekeepers and gardners they should call it "Migrant Houseworker Day" and not try to cover it up with something cute like "Fiesta Day"

If you can't say it, then don't do it. Don't try and cover it up.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a senior at Highland Park and i believe that we were not being racist. Why dont you go look up the defination of "Thug" in the dictionary. it does not say anything about African Americans. Everyone is being racist by saying that we are being racist. Why don't we just forget about it and move on? Thug day was actually not really a day. Its a SENIOR tradition so only the seniors were involved. thug day was on the same day as western day. im appoloize for anyone who was affended but seriousally lets get over it and stop picking on the rich kids.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous zyne said...

"Seriousally", close your legs and mouth and learn to use punctuation and caps, you stupid rich white fuck.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

If a growing number of people become offended by this event, it certainly should not be overlooked and 'gotten over'. Instead have a little sympathy for those who are offended and consider WHY they are offended. Dear High School Senior you're going to learn a cruel lesson if you don't. When a large group of people are upset about something, do you think they'll have any respect for you if you tell them to 'get over it'?

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HP senior,

Do your parents pay for your grades because you have some issues with writing that a SENIOR should not have? Why don't you stop arguing about how you are NOT a racist and learn a thing or two?

If you want someone to "get over it," admit you are a racist, and we'll be over it.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:37 PM  

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