race & murder

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at jhu.edu
Fri Apr 23 08:49:50 PDT 1999

At 08:06 PM 4/22/99 -0400, Rakesh wrote:
>James H thinks he has located some special anti conformist energy that has
>simply been misdirected. But these kids were not anti conformists; they
>were the the most violent expression of the basic premises of middle class
>youth society: misanthropically individualistic, racist, and computer and
>video game obsessed.
>Why were they obsessed with jocks and blacks? Could it be that with only 15
>out of 1800 students as black, they needed an additional target that could
>more easily be imagined to be a threat worthy of their attention? Could it
>be that athletics to them represented the field in which blacks excelled?
>Hitler was obsessed with athletic success but this was before the
>embarrassment Jesse Owens visited upon him and his barbaric racial utopia.
>Maybe they wanted to destroy the very field of endeavor in which blacks
>most visibly assert their standing in society. Again, why were they
>obsessed with jocks? Has anyone even offered a guess?
>Or could it be that they had accepted the devaluation of manual labor and
>the body that our society inflicts on upper tracked youth to prepare them
>for 'symbolic analytical' work?

Rakesh, nothing personal (as I like most of the stuff you post), but that is the most farfetched excess of pomo imagination I've seen for a long time. Be real. Those kids were not out to change the odds for some abstract theory of society - they were out to boost their own egos screwed up by very real social relations around them.


>Or maybe they were reacting against all the sports hype in the Denver area
>after two superbowl victories? Perhaps the Olympian status enjoyed by a
>racially integrated group of athletes spelled to them the destruction of
>social hierarchies and standards? It would be ironic indeed if they reacted
>against the fascistic spectacle of superball football by becoming followers
>of Hitler.
>I have no idea what was going in these kids' heads; perhaps race was more
>important than presently recognized. Perhaps not.
>What I think is important to explain is the possible media reluctance to
>recognize that socially sanctioned racist ideas *may* have been centrally
>important to the descent of these two thugs into horrifying barbarity. That
>if these kids had not been racists, they would not have became who they
>became. This presents a racist society with the disturbing dilemma of
>rooting out racism root and branch or taking the risk of allowing racist
>ideas to flourish, whatever the collateral damage.
>As for this claim, "Eric had three best friends," classmate Nora Boreaux of
>Plattsburgh, N.Y., recalled. "One was black, one was white and one was
>It would be interesting to track down these kids and ask them what they
>thought of Eric and his parents. Perhaps they will remember a certain level
>of condescension?
>Yours, Rakesh

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