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Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 11:40 AM
There appears to be a war breaking out:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6329569.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6335483.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6363303.stm

This is David Cameron's take on it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6367273.stm

So, over to you - what, if anything, could the Government do to try and stop so many young black kids getting involved in this whole gang culture?

john eden
16-02-2007, 11:55 AM
One thing is for sure, putting scores of armed cops on the streets will do nothing to stop this. It is a PR exercise aimed at Lambeth's chattering classes.

The police weren't there when these kids got shot, so whether or not they were armed makes no difference. One of the kids was apparently shot because of a mistaken identity. Having armed police as a permanent presence on estates in south london simply heightens the likelihood of more mistaken identities like Charles De Menzes or Harry Stanley.

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 11:57 AM
Oh, I'd agree with that. Plus it's just going to encourage kids to carry guns, I think - in their eyes, they'll have to protect themselves from the cops and other gangs.

It's a tough one, and no mistake. Although I have to say, I think Cameron's on the right track, although whether his ideas could ever be translated into a workable policy that isn't just going to penalise people unfairly is another matter.

matt b
16-02-2007, 12:00 PM
in a general fashion, this is v.important:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6359363.stm

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 12:03 PM
Yup. In fact I think it's mentioned in one of the murder stories. Pretty depressing all round.

matt b
16-02-2007, 12:03 PM
cameron's a bandwagon jumping cnut;

"The Tory leader called for a "complete change in our values"."

he was part of the tory party that started this legacy, he can't turn round and not take any responsibility for it.

he's just spouting vague nothings for political gain

swears
16-02-2007, 12:10 PM
he was part of the tory party that started this legacy, he can't turn round and not take any responsibility for it.



Yeah, it's pretty sickening isn't it?
There's no excuse for going around commiting heinous acts of violence, but if some of these young people could actually get decent jobs, felt like they had a future, then we wouldn't have half these problems.

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 12:14 PM
I guess today's teenagers are the kids of people who were teenagers themselves in the 1980s.
What goes around, comes around.

john eden
16-02-2007, 12:14 PM
in a general fashion, this is v.important:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6359363.stm

Your chest, Professor Jonathan Bradshaw.

matt b
16-02-2007, 12:17 PM
politicians don't give a fuck about these kids, its moral handwringing and platitudes. increase the fear of the middle classes, get them to vote for the 'tough' politicians.

i live in a nice middle class village and plenty of the adults are shit scared of anyone between 10-18: they won't talk to them, walk near them, ask them to pick up litter etc. its assumed they're gangsters.
having lived in plenty of shitholes (meadows in nottm being the least pleasant) i assure them these kids are angels in comparison to some of the neighbours i've had- it makes no difference, they're "scared to go out at night" etc.

its serving its purpose

matt b
16-02-2007, 12:18 PM
Your chest, Professor Jonathan Bradshaw.

i can see listening to all that grime's having an impact ;)

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 12:24 PM
politicians don't give a fuck about these kids, its moral handwringing and platitudes. increase the fear of the middle classes, get them to vote for the 'tough' politicians.

i live in a nice middle class village and plenty of the adults are shit scared of anyone between 10-18: they won't talk to them, walk near them, ask them to pick up litter etc. its assumed they're gangsters.
having lived in plenty of shitholes (meadows in nottm being the least pleasant) i assure them these kids are angels in comparison to some of the neighbours i've had- it makes no difference, they're "scared to go out at night" etc.

its serving its purpose

That'll be the Daily Mail working its magic, then.

I think this report is more about the way things are bad for kids themselves, rather than crime or antisocial behaviour committed by kids, although obviously the two things are related.

matt b
16-02-2007, 12:28 PM
I think this report is more about the way things are bad for kids themselves

absolutely- you've got kids with no aspirations, who don't see a long-term future available to them, because generally they haven't- social mobility has collapsed, and these kids are at the bottom of the pile, forgotten.

no wonder they focus on immediate gratification/ excitement through weed, petty crime etc and have such high levels of depression.

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 01:18 PM
Nice take on Cameron's bandwagon-jumping: http://www.b3ta.com/board/6870236

Omaar
16-02-2007, 02:39 PM
i can see listening to all that grime's having an impact ;)

on C4 news' piece on this last night Jon Snow did suggest it was the drugs, the guns, the gangs ... and the music ... later they played a bit of a roll deep video (http://www.stoptheguns.org/) from some trident media release package or something.

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 02:43 PM
I'm reminded of Chris Morris's awesome 'Uzi Lover' video he recorded as the rapper 'Fur Q'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_aU3TeDMnE

matt b
16-02-2007, 02:44 PM
officially, its now all the fathers fault

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 02:51 PM
It's hardly the whole story but I think it's a big part of it. A lot of these kids grow up with no father figure at all, and it's not good for people's development, especially boys, it seems.

matt b
16-02-2007, 03:06 PM
its a tiny part of it.

in iceland there is a higher % of single mothers than here.

their prison population is thelowest in the OECD (37 per 100,000)

income disparity, the run down of social networks etc is far more important

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 03:15 PM
There are absolutely loads of factors invloved, and the economic one is obviously very important. But it's also the case that kids from single parent families are disproportionatly more likely to have few quailifications, abuse drink or drugs and commit crimes.

matt b
16-02-2007, 03:25 PM
There are absolutely loads of factors invloved, and the economic one is obviously very important. But it's also the case that kids from single parent families are disproportionatly more likely to have few quailifications, abuse drink or drugs and commit crimes.

yep, but its not the only cause, nor is it the main one

Mr. Tea
16-02-2007, 03:42 PM
its a tiny part of it.

in iceland there is a higher % of single mothers than here.

their prison population is thelowest in the OECD (37 per 100,000)

income disparity, the run down of social networks etc is far more important

Well I daresay Iceland is probably not being inundated by cheap Jamaican crack at the moment...

mistersloane
16-02-2007, 03:58 PM
There's a good interview with the Stockwell pastor on the video section of the BBC website

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6367301.stm

where he comments that essentially Trident worked in that it took out all the larger players, and now the younger ones are vying for position. And if anyone knows the truth about the situation, it'll be him.

I lived just down the road from there for 20 years, Landor Road where that kid's estate is off has always been rough, Peckham has always had its fair share of trouble and kids in Streatham are vicious...it does seem to be really kickin off at the moment though. We need more of an internal and organised community response, cos the police are useless, no-one I know will deal with them.

Gabba Flamenco Crossover
17-02-2007, 12:16 PM
I think about this quite a bit, because I live and work around this area. My sis teaches at a secondary school in tooting so we talk about these issues regularly.

Firstly it's worth pointing out that south London hasn't turned into san andreas overnight, contrary to the impression given by some of the more excitable media reports. There isn't anywhere in south London that I'd consider to be a no go area - some places require a bit more vigilance than others, but that's natural. There's a steady drip-drip of violent crime, and you always see a few of those big yellow police witness boards dotted around, but no more so than in any other large city. What seems to have happened is that several murders committed over a short space of time - coincidence, it would seem, as none of them appear to be directly connected - have pushed this issue up to the point where the media sense a story in it. The fact that this is now driving government policy says a great deal about the political bankruptcy of the current rabble in power, but very little about the reality of what's going on in south London. Several other cities in the UK have been subjected to this kind of hysterical war-on-the-streets coverage over the last decade - Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Nottingham (although strangely not Glasgow, which, as I learned this week, has the highest murder rate in western Europe).

That said, there is a genuine issue with the progressive alienation of underclass youth over the last twenty years or so. It might be more acute with black kids because of factors specific to afro-carribean culture, but my instincts are that it's more of a class issue than a race issue. If you went to former milltowns in South Wales or Nottinghamshire, or fishing villages in East Scotland, I'm sure there'd be no shortage of white kids facing similar problems. The point about 'the kids feeling they have no future', as made upthread by swears, is true as far as it goes, but it's not very useful. It's one of those classic liberal/thatcherite tug-of-wars, and it obscures the truth - which is that they do have a future, if they want it. There s provision for them in education up to degree level (albeit debt-incurring), and enough jobs to go round once they come out the other side. We've had a decade of economic growth in the UK and there are big skills shortages in all sorts of areas. I remember this point being made very eloquently by Logan Sama a while back in a thread about grime lyrics. I think there's a tendency for well-meaning people in government to accept these kid's views at face value and focus on endlessly tweaking the institutions that serve them. This is counter-productive - it creates beaurocracy and change fatigue in the institutions themselves, and it makes them a sitting duck for political-correctness-gone-mad journalism. Ultimately it demoralises the people working there and pulls them away from the kids who need help.

A better approach would be to ask, why this belief is so prevailent amongst underclass youth? Unfortunately, that's complicated. It was exacerbated by the thatcherite assault on working class communities in the 80s and labour's unsuccessful attempts to assimilate her legacy over the last decade, but it's roots go back further than that. IMO, the key to the way these kids are behaving does lie in family, in it's widest sense. In every conversation I have with people actually dealing with these problems, it keeps coming back to the themes of family, parental attention and authority, and male role models (because this is ovewhelmingly a male problem). It's a grave mistake for the left to downplay the role of the family in raising and socialising children, and it's deeply saddening that 'the family' as a concept has effectively been ceded to the right as political territory. Because the right cannot get over the idea of family as a nuclear unit above and apart from society. In reality, effective families are pyramid shaped, with close family at the top of an ever widening base made up of extended family, trusted friends and neighbours, support networks like church groups, professionals working within institutions, and finally the wider community. If you cut the nuclear family off from that, you put a lot of pressure on it - if money is tight, the pressure is that much greater (because middle class families can at least afford home helps and holidays together to get the quality time needed to deal with these issues). Families need support networks, both fiscally and in terms of human contact, advice and practical help. When people talk about 'family breakdown', they're actually talking about the breakdown of this wider family that supports and protects the nuclear unit.

But the really important thing is for politicians to stop squabbling about who caused it, accept that it has happened, and start trying to address it. If the functions of the wider family aren't being performed, then the state will have to step in to perform them in the short term, while trying to encourage the regrowth of the wider family in the long term. The criminal justice system should be changed to give local communities thier own elected magistrates who can dispense small punishments for petty crimes - unpleasant stuff like hiking in the rain or digging flowerbeds in the park - and stump up the money for professional people to administer such schemes. There needs to be a direct link between crime and punishment, rather than a long, abstract legal process that kids don't understand and ends up with them being sent down and ruined for life. Kids should also be encouraged to take responsibility for thier own actions gradually, rather than making a sudden transition from innocent child to fully culpable adult on thier 16th birthday. The government also needs to stop sending out mixed messages in education, accept the vital community role of schools and help them fulfil it. Help schools to reflect thier local areas by stopping rich parents from bussing thier children out, and stop imposing ridiculous quasi-free market conditions on school funding. The aim should be to have all schools attaining an equal standard of excellence and service, not to kill off the failing schools - because when a school fails, all the kids in it are failed too. Above all, politicians of both parties need to accept that real communities can only be built on genuine authority and ability to make changes, and that means devolving power and resources away from the centre into smaller community-based institutions.

This will all cost money. But prisons, quite apart from the social cost, consume an absolute fortune of public funds - all politicians from left and right know this, but they're too shit-scared of the media to change it. It's depressing that no-one ever makes the case against incarceration from a right wing perspective that might get more sympathy from the Daily Mail - ie that we demand value for money in every other area of public spending, but we're quite happy to write blank cheques for the criminal justice system. There will always be a tiny minority of people who are a genuine danger to the public and need to be incarcerated - the reason that the prison system is under so much strain at the moment, and so many lives are being wrecked, is that kids who are basically decent are being dragged into criminality. Policy should be focussed on keeping out the marginal elements, who can be rehabilitated, so more resources can be used on the genuine wrong'uns.

swears
17-02-2007, 12:52 PM
'the kids feeling they have no future', as made upthread by swears, is true as far as it goes, but it's not very useful.

Yeah, emphasis on "feeling" there. Of course there are opportunities for anyone focused enough, but that's not the attitude young people generally have. I'm not saying personal resonsibility doesn't come into it and that it's all society's fault. Perhaps more specialist, vocational education is required, rather than teaching pupils rudimentary three Rs skills and then cramming half of them onto often pointless degress and the other half onto the dole queue.

HMGovt
17-02-2007, 12:57 PM
its a tiny part of it.

in iceland there is a higher % of single mothers than here.

their prison population is thelowest in the OECD (37 per 100,000)

income disparity, the run down of social networks etc is far more important

The low crime rate is clearly a function of it being too cold to leave the house. Global warming will see an unprecedented crime wave in Iceland, mark my words.

mistersloane
17-02-2007, 04:36 PM
A tragic story in today's Guardian by Matthew Taylor and Alexandra Topping

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gun/Story/0,,2015238,00.html

The quote that did me in was...

"Yesterday a website dedicated to Billy, whose street name was Remer, showed a video of the teenager rapping with friends. Underneath, posts praised the "fallen soldier". "I hope da mandem hu dne it read all des messeges so dai knw dat remer...was loved by all," read one.

On the Fenwick estate, where Billy died, teenagers said mandem was slang for gang..."

If Guardian journalists don't understand what man dem means ( literally, "the men that..." ), if they are that far removed...it just makes me want to cry.

....and I pretty much agree with everything you've said Gabba, I'd vote for yer!

Edward
18-02-2007, 09:11 PM
I think that they should ban violence from television and advertising.
I haven't had a TV for 15 years and when I do see it I am always shocked by the violence depicted, even in the daytime I have seen shows with people being shot etc.

am I an old fart?

I really think we should set an example to people with entertainment, not just cater to the lowest of the low.

I am ready for people to tell me it is irrelevant but I am not so sure.

Also I get a general sense these days that a lot of people have no sense of society / the idea that others are similar to them in terms of having an inner life / feelings / any right to expect what they themselves expect from others.

have i turned into the daily mail?

obviously people need hope and a dad helps and all the things above and big up GFC for the amazing post above.

Mr. Tea
20-02-2007, 12:30 PM
A tragic story in today's Guardian by Matthew Taylor and Alexandra Topping

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gun/Story/0,,2015238,00.html

The quote that did me in was...

"Yesterday a website dedicated to Billy, whose street name was Remer, showed a video of the teenager rapping with friends. Underneath, posts praised the "fallen soldier". "I hope da mandem hu dne it read all des messeges so dai knw dat remer...was loved by all," read one.

On the Fenwick estate, where Billy died, teenagers said mandem was slang for gang..."

If Guardian journalists don't understand what man dem means ( literally, "the men that..." ), if they are that far removed...it just makes me want to cry.

....and I pretty much agree with everything you've said Gabba, I'd vote for yer!

Maybe if they learned to spell they'd have rather more in terms of future prospects...?

Mr. Tea
20-02-2007, 09:27 PM
Something I've noticed in this thread is that it seems to be very 'politically incorrect' (awful phrase, but bear with me) to even consider many of the social aspects that are contributing to this problem. Many on the left seem to feel it boils down entirely to economics - if only poor Wayne had had that plasma TV he'd wanted, he'd never have become a violent crack-dealer etc. etc.
Well the fact is black teenagers in south London do not live in grinding, third-world-style poverty. They're certainly not privileged, of course, and living in a city like London they naturally see evidence of fabulous wealth all the time, but at the same time they don't have to steal or deal to buy clothes and food, or even trainers, music, computer games or fancy mobile phones. There are even government schemes to essentially bribe kids to stay at school or go to college.
The real poverty they face is a social poverty - an absence of father figures, stable family life, suitable role-models and social support networks in the most general sense. GFC has summarised this very eloquently in his/her above post, so I won't go into huge detail. I just think so many of these kids are so alienated they end up having no qualms about terrorising their own community because, as far as they're concerned, they don't have a community. They take up in gangs because it's the closest they've ever come to feeling like they've really belonged in a group.

As to what can be done about this, I have absolutely no idea. I think more comunity-based, rehabilitation-oriented punishments for minor misdemeanous, freeing up courts to deal with the really hardcore criminals, would certainly be a step in the right direction.

sufi
22-02-2007, 02:52 PM
From No Child Left Behind (http://www.blacklondon.org.uk/news/petitionsignup.htm)Campaign


Did you know?

• Black pupils start primary school with some of the highest scores in baseline assessments of initial ability, but within two years they slip behind other children
• Latest Government figures reveal a gulf between the performance of black teenage boys and their white classmates at GCSE.
• At 11, only 62 per cent of boys attain the expected standard in the national curriculum English test, compared with 72 per cent of white boys.
• The decline accelerates at secondary school; just 35.7 per cent of black Caribbean pupils achieve five good passes.
• Just 3,028 black children took A levels compared with 109,000 white students, and their results were an average of one grade lower in each exam.
• There is evidence that some schools are "institutionally racist" and expel black pupils three times as often as other children, according to a Government-funded report.

It is therefore essential that:

• We raise the profile of our educational demands and place them on the political agenda
• Black people develop visible leadership and speak out against the inequalities that exists in the education system
• Black community leaders and faith leaders need to organise, mobilise and participate in direct action to highlight the concerns we have around the education of our children
• Demonstrate to our children the importance and value we place on their education

The objectives of the day of action is to:

• Highlight of the issue of inequalities that exist in the current education system
• Demand high expectations, high standards and high performance from our educational establishments
• Demand a reduction in the number of school exclusions
• Demand support for supplementary schools and education projects
• Insist Local Education Authorities (LEA’s) develop a wider range of curriculum material that provides positive images of Black people (not just as part of Black History Month).

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 03:12 PM
Can I clear something up for everyone? San Andreas isn't really an especially bad city. That's just in the video game...

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:14 PM
Before that game came out I thought it was a geological fault line.

/nerd

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 03:17 PM
Yeah, it is. I think the use of "San Andreas" in the game title is more in reference to that fault line, and the urban centers that are built around it in general. San Andreas the city isn't such a big or bad place.

Another thing: the problem with making the absence of the father a focal point in fighting the breakdown of "family values" and whatnot is that women usually end up losing when this happens on the level of policy. They end up being effectively "blamed" and "punished" socially, which gets us nowhere either...

matt b
26-02-2007, 03:18 PM
^that's why its being rolled out, again.

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:22 PM
Well, what we have in Britain at the moment, in regards to single-parent families, is two rather unfortunate extremes - on the one hand, absent fathers who have no interest whatsoever in bringing up their kids, and who make every effort not to pay maintainance, let alone see their children - and on the other, men who really want to be good fathers and see their kids, but are obstructed by a system that is biased against them, and can make it very easy for the mother to deny all access if she wants to.

I think there are moves afoot to try and discourage the first sort of father and help the second, which both seem to be good things.

matt b
26-02-2007, 03:23 PM
Something I've noticed in this thread is that it seems to be very 'politically incorrect' (awful phrase, but bear with me) to even consider many of the social aspects that are contributing to this problem.

example?

matt b
26-02-2007, 03:27 PM
Well, what we have in Britain at the moment, in regards to single-parent families, is two rather unfortunate extremes - on the one hand, absent fathers who have no interest whatsoever in bringing up their kids, and who make every effort not to pay maintainance, let alone see their children - and on the other, men who really want to be good fathers and see their kids, but are obstructed by a system that is biased against them, and can make it very easy for the mother to deny all access if she wants to.

I think there are moves afoot to try and discourage the first sort of father and help the second, which both seem to be good things.

that's just a huge over-simplification. my dad didn't fit into either and friends who have kids and have seperated from the mother of their child don't either.

nor is the 'system' biased against fathers in the way you describe- fathers' lack of payments is a much bigger deal

the issue is not about fathers, its about wider social breakdown

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:29 PM
example?

Er, most of your posts? About how absent fathers/family breakdown has "almost nothing to do" with how messed up our kids are?

matt b
26-02-2007, 03:32 PM
so simply because i disagree with scapegoating single parents/absent fathers, i ignore personal responsibility?

total bullshit

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:34 PM
that's just a huge over-simplification. my dad didn't fit into either and friends who have kids and have seperated from the mother of their child don't either.

nor is the 'system' biased against fathers in the way you describe- fathers' lack of payments is a much bigger deal

the issue is not about fathers, its about wider social breakdown

1) I never said this describes every instance of family break-up that happens. Someone I know was brought up by her dad between the ages of 13 and 18 after her mum left and it was extremely difficult for her dad to claim child benefit for her, because the assumption is that that kids are going to stay with the mum - which brings me on to my point about the bias in the system. If a separated/divorced mother wants to stop her ex seeing their kids, there's damn near nothing he can do about it within the law; given how rancorous divorces often are, this unfortunately allows kids to be used as a weapon by one partner against the other.

2) I don't know how you can quantify the relative sizes of the two problems here, they're both bad and (reasoned, sensible) attempts to remedy both of them can only be a good thing.

john eden
26-02-2007, 03:35 PM
Can I clear something up for everyone? San Andreas isn't really an especially bad city. That's just in the video game...

It's not San Andreas fault that it has been stereotyped so cruelly. :)

Ah, my coat...

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:36 PM
It's not San Andreas fault that it has been stereotyped so cruelly. :)

Ah, my coat...


Why you LITTLE....!

*shakes fist*

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 03:41 PM
Ha, Eden. That took me a second, I hate to admit...

Well, I'll feel sorry for all of those oppressed fathers who are kept from being the wonderful parents they'd love to be by their evil baby mamas on the cold day in hell when the government is harder on men who owe alimony and aren't paying up.

At least, the American ones.

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:43 PM
I'm just talking about the situation in Britain, where there is a large body of public feeling that a lot of men are being unfairly denied access to their own kids. Of course there are lots of useless, deadbeat dads too.

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 03:43 PM
Mr. Tea, you can't run a system based on the few exceptions to a rule that may slide through the cracks, unfortunately. In a perfect world, you could, but this world isn't perfect; the defects in the law that keep a good father from having custody are unfortunately in place only to keep bad/abusive fathers from abusing children. If a few good men have their children on fewer weekends, but it keeps one more man from beating his kids, or worse, molesting them, then I have to say: keep the law in place.

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 03:44 PM
I'm just talking about the situation in Britain, where there is a large body of public feeling that a lot of men are being unfairly denied access to their own kids. Of course there are lots of useless, deadbeat dads too.

This is really happening? How do they deny them access?

matt b
26-02-2007, 03:45 PM
billions are owed:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6299469.stm

but bonuses are paid:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6347955.stm

matt b
26-02-2007, 03:47 PM
I'm just talking about the situation in Britain, where there is a large body of public feeling that a lot of men are being unfairly denied access to their own kids. Of course there are lots of useless, deadbeat dads too.

that's a feeling based on the publicity gained by husbands who would rather dress up in lycra and stand on tall buildings, rather than spend time with their kids.

the reality is somewhat different

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:48 PM
Mr. Tea, you can't run a system based on the few exceptions to a rule that may slide through the cracks, unfortunately. In a perfect world, you could, but this world isn't perfect; the defects in the law that keep a good father from having custody are unfortunately in place only to keep bad/abusive fathers from abusing children. If a few good men have their children on fewer weekends, but it keeps one more man from beating his kids, or worse, molesting them, then I have to say: keep the law in place.

Jesus Christ, there you go again with this man-bashing crap! Why not lock up ALL men, just in case, because some of them are rapists, eh? No-one has mentioned child abuse in this thread, and I fail to see the relevance of it to the discussion, vis a vis, the fact that (in the UK) court orders made to ensure that a man has the right to see his kids are very often not enforced, and that there is at present very little he can do if his ex-partner decides to play tricky and deny him access.

The idea that, at some point in the future, I may be denied access to my own children on the basis that I'm a man and therefore likely to rape them at the drop of a hat is enough to make want to run out and sterilise myself right now...

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:50 PM
that's a feeling based on the publicity gained by husbands who would rather dress up in lycra and stand on tall buildings, rather than spend time with their kids.

the reality is somewhat different

Er, hello? They're doing that because they're being PREVENTED from spending time with their kids. As ridiculous as the whole campaign may seem, it's just their attempt to attract publicity to their plight.

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 03:54 PM
Jesus Christ, there you go again with this man-bashing crap! Why not lock up ALL men, just in case, because some of them are rapists, eh? No-one has mentioned child abuse in this thread, and I fail to see the relevance of it to the discussion, vis a vis, the fact that (in the UK) court orders made to ensure that a man has the right to see his kids are very often not enforced, and that there is at present very little he can do if his ex-partner decides to play tricky and deny him access.

The idea that, at some point in the future, I may be denied access to my own children on the basis that I'm a man and therefore likely to rape them at the drop of a hat is enough to make want to run out and sterilise myself right now...

Who said you should be "denied access" to anyone? Child abuse is relevant to the way the law was written (in the U.S. at least) because historically women and children have had a very hard time getting away from abusive spouses/fathers, because of their economic dependence on them. What is "man-bashing" about referring to the unfortunate fact that many fathers (like many mothers) are abusive?

Sorry, but if there are unpleasant realities in life, it's not my fault.

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 03:54 PM
In the U.S., custody laws and custody decisions made by courts are enforced very strictly.

matt b
26-02-2007, 03:55 PM
well, the original F4J has been disbanded, because the original founder felt that members were becoming obsessed with PR stunts, not the reasons for the campaign- indeed one member spent time on F4J jaunts rather than with his son.

the other side of your coin:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1770011,00.html

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 03:59 PM
What's man-bashing about it is that you brought up the spectre of abusive fathers in a discussion in which they are not (as far as I can see) relevant. I was talking about two things that need to change to improve the role fathers play in post-divorce families - one of which involves trying to encourage bad fathers to be good ones, and the other of which involves trying to help men who really want to be good fathers but are being thwarted by an uncooperative ex and an unsympathetic legal system. This has been a big new topic in Britain for the past couple of years, maybe it's not so big in America? Anyway, all I'm saying is it's a real problem that needs to be addressed and not dismissed, or chalked up to some nebulous paedophilia threat.

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 04:01 PM
Matt, in the 90s, there was an outcry by conservatives about this "bias" against men in custody hearings re: mothers being granted "automatic" primary custody based on their being women and thus, its thought, "naturally" better caregivers.

I tended to agree that women need not be seen as biologically destined to be mothers or caregivers, while men are lost when it comes to raising children because they don't have estrogen in abudance.

But even though think this is unfair in theory, in practice, I can anecdotally refer to almost any example of a two-parent family I can think of, and across the board, I see that the mother has done the majority of the child rearing, and thus, probably knows her children better, is more in touch with them, and might be able to do a more thorough job of raising the kids. This is a social issue, really, but until we change quite a few social attitudes, unfairness is going to abound in terms of custody battles.

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 04:03 PM
What's man-bashing about it is that you brought up the spectre of abusive fathers in a discussion in which they are not (as far as I can see) relevant. I was talking about two things that need to change to improve the role fathers play in post-divorce families - one of which involves trying to encourage bad fathers to be good ones, and the other of which involves trying to help men who really want to be good fathers but are being thwarted by an uncooperative ex and an unsympathetic legal system. This has been a big new topic in Britain for the past couple of years, maybe it's not so big in America? Anyway, all I'm saying is it's a real problem that needs to be addressed and not dismissed, or chalked up to some nebulous paedophilia threat.

You're very lucky, Mr. Tea, to be able to see paedophilia as a "nebulous" threat. It's a really concrete reality, and the numbers are staggering.

Beyond that, child abuse (and I wasn't just referring to sexual abuse up there) in general may not pertain to how the law is written in the U.K.--in the U.S., the governing bodies are definitely trying to correct years of inadequacy where men were favored/privileged in the eyes of the law and abusive men were allowed to continue abusing their children. Hell, women would have to stay with abusers because they weren't allowed to work or have financial indepedence, so they'd have two options: 1) keep getting hit or 2) be homeless.

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 04:19 PM
OK, I guess we're arguing at cross purposes here slightly, I wasn't aware of the US situation and you naturally won't have heard so much about the development of the debate over here.

By 'nebulous' I didn't mean to imply that paedophilia doesn't exist, of course - I just meant that it seems like the worst sort of preventative measure to deny a man access to his kids simply on the basis that he *might* be abusive. And as you say, it's not unknown for women to commit abuse (sexual or otherwise) or at least collude in abuse committed mainly by someone else.

In response to Matt's link to the Guardian article, those cases are obviously horrible, and I should hope the courts' reactions to them are aberrations rather than the rule. However I don't think it inherently invalidates the point being made by F4J, despite what I think about their attempte to gain public attention/sympathy (a plot to kidnap Tony Blair's son - I mean, what can you say?) - I've also noticed that the Guardian has been antagonistic towards the group since it started out.

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 04:22 PM
Who exactly is getting denied access to their children? I'm very curious. I can't imagine that happening here. You'd get sued for all you were worth if you wouldn't let your ex-husband see his children during the court-awarded custodial times.

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 04:29 PM
I don't have any figures to hand, but I can only assume that the problem must be big enough for men to get upset about it to the point of dressing up as superheroes and trying to storm Parliament, with support from a fair number of guys who feel themselves to be in the same situation. You don't do that because you've had a bad day at the office.

I'm further prepared to go out on a limb here and assume that this isn't just a covert operation by some home-grown version of NAMBLA...

matt b
26-02-2007, 04:31 PM
in 1995 approx 4,000 parents defied court orders re: access. most were women. however, many of those (it seems) are due to the fears of the female (see gaurdian article above for possible reasons why).

most of the parents not doing their bit in terms of payments through the CSA were men (over 1 million).

mothers don't seem to have the time to dress up and highlight this

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 04:32 PM
well, the original F4J has been disbanded, because the original founder felt that members were becoming obsessed with PR stunts, not the reasons for the campaign- indeed one member spent time on F4J jaunts rather than with his son.

the other side of your coin:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1770011,00.html

This article really confirms what I feared: that the idea that courts were keeping good men from seeing their children was largely a myth perpetrated by a conservative watchdog group. The numbers offered up in the article actually show that more children are forced to see fathers with criminal histories of abusing children than there are men whose "vindictive wives" are hording their children just to spite their husbands.

Most mothers I know would be more than glad to have a weekend off from their kids. Why would they deny the father access, if nothing's wrong? I know it *could* happen, but the idea that it happens *often* seems based in very negative (and largely outmoded) stereotypes of female behavior.

matt b
26-02-2007, 04:33 PM
I don't have any figures to hand, but I can only assume that the problem must be big enough for men to get upset about it to the point of dressing up as superheroes and trying to storm Parliament, with support from a fair number of guys who feel themselves to be in the same situation. You don't do that because you've had a bad day at the office.

in theory you don't kill your two children and then attempt suicide because your wife says she's leaving you. but it happens

nomadologist
26-02-2007, 04:37 PM
There are all sorts of reasons why watchdog groups do things without having any real numbers to back them up. Why do fundamentalist Christians do anything they do?

Mr. Tea
26-02-2007, 10:49 PM
There are all sorts of reasons why watchdog groups do things without having any real numbers to back them up. Why do fundamentalist Christians do anything they do?

Because they're driven by an irrational belief in a supernatural being.
I wouldn't call a desire to see one's own kids 'irrational'.

You'll also notice that the "two-thirds" of cases mentioned in the Guardian report mention allegations of violence - but we've been through this in the 'stalking' thread so I don't see any point in bringing it up here.

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 12:45 AM
Because they're driven by an irrational belief in a supernatural being.
I wouldn't call a desire to see one's own kids 'irrational'.

You'll also notice that the "two-thirds" of cases mentioned in the Guardian report mention allegations of violence - but we've been through this in the 'stalking' thread so I don't see any point in bringing it up here.

Reading up on this more, I do think that fathers have it rougher in the U.K. than in the U.S. when it comes to custody battles during divorce hearings. I've read a fair amount of horror stories on blogs and such about women simply defying court orders in the U.K. and nothing really happening to stop them. Here in the U.S., if a woman didn't bring her kids to their father's for his custodial time, I'm pretty sure that would be considered "kidnapping", or at very least, it would quickly become a police matter and the authorities would interfere. At the same time, it seemed in my research that Fathers 4 Justice are basically considered a joke among serious lawmakers or children's rights activists. I read a lot of lawyers on this topic who kept emphasizing how the custody laws are supposed to be in place FIRST AND FOREMOST to protect the rights of children, NOT the rights of the mothers and fathers.

I'm sure there are divorces so messy, and marriages where both partners are so immature and selfish that they'd actually use their children as legal leverage for spitefully denying the other access to their children, but I think divorce is traumatic enough that most ADULTS with an average level of maturity try to work things out to some compromise without dragging custody battles on forever. In many cases, I think women are rewarded primary custody in the U.S., which often includes more literal time with them(note that it's mostly weekdays, not exactly days where "quality" time is an option), because they are usually paid less and required to work fewer overtime hours. In general, women are less likely to be on a "career path", or less likely to need to be married to their jobs and on call constantly, and therefore they are seen as more "reliable" primary caregivers for their children on the weekdays, in an everday sense.

What I had to ask after researching Fathers 4 Justice is: is the motivation of the Fathers 4 Justice really the emotional health and stability of their children? or is it just another divisive group of radicals with a political lobby but no real or practical solutions to the issue they raise? I think it's sad that an issue which seems to have a core of truth in the U.K. is ruined by their extremism and strangely aggressive tactics. It seems that alimony is the real core of F4J's sense of the injustice men are suffering--it almosts seems to me that if they didn't have to pay alimony, the F4J wouldn't be interested in the "right" to father their children this buys them. Their language often seems scarily close to insinuating that wives and children are the property of men. I personally think men always owe money toward the raising of their children, regardless of whether they are seen "fit" to have custodial privileges.

As for "allegations" of abuse, Mr. Tea: I guess I have to throw my hands up in the air here and ask you what kind of bad experiences you've had with women that seem to give you this fairly negative view of them as vindictive people, always looking to make false accusations of violence against men, or to deny men of their natural rights. Because for men to be so unfairly treated under the law due to these false accusations women are making, you'd have to believe that most of them are concocted for the sole purpose of seeking revenge.

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 12:48 AM
Any women I've known have gone into their marriages wanting them to be pleasant and hoping that even if it doesn't work out, things can be handled maturely and with some dignity. The picture F4J seem to paint is of women as crazy shrews sitting around plotting how to entrap men into marriage so they trick him into impregnating them for the alimony later, at which point they'll also deny him custody just for kicks.

Mr. Tea
27-02-2007, 11:44 AM
OK, so I admit I went out on a limb on the 'allegations' thing. As it happens, I've not had any particularly bad personal experiences with women, and I certainly wouldn't call myself a 'bitter' person.*

I guess what it boils down to is that I'd rather believe some mothers might try to unfairly deny their ex-husbands access to their kids - which is not a very nice thing to do, but is something I can imagine an angry but otherwise 'rational' person doing, in the wake of a messy and acrimonious divorce - than believe that all these guys want access to their kids just so they can beat or molest them, which is not something I can ever imagine doing.
Sexist, perhaps, but you can see how my instinct here is to want to think the situation is 'merely' one of spite and antagonism, rather than outright wickedness?

It's unfortunate that a group of people as seemingly clueless as F4J have been the ones to draw attention to what I still think is an important issue. I just hope they haven't done more harm than good.

(* a friend of mine was once falsely accused of rape - but then, I know at least two women who have been raped themselves; in one case the attacker was never caught, and in the other he received a desultory sentence due to being under 18. :( )

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 02:19 PM
Did I ever say that's why every man wants access to his children?

Why is everything a binary for you? My believing that the law should look out for children in the sad event that abuse be occuring in a home does not mean that I think *all* men who seek more custodial time with their children are abusers. It is not an "either/or" situation.

There are usually abuses of laws on all sides--it's just especially important that the law shield children from abusive parents, imo. Mothers, fathers, whoever. Just because you can't imagine something doesn't mean it isn't commonplace, unfortunately.

Guybrush
27-02-2007, 02:47 PM
Exactly how common is sexual abuse within families? Is it a major problem, or is it all muckraking on the tabloids’ behalf?

Mr. Tea
27-02-2007, 02:50 PM
There are usually abuses of laws on all sides--it's just especially important that the law shield children from abusive parents, imo. Mothers, fathers, whoever. Just because you can't imagine something doesn't mean it isn't commonplace, unfortunately.

Oh, for sure. I guess what's needed is a legal system with the resources to properly examine each case on its own merits, although sadly that's going to be a very tall order in the real world.

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 02:54 PM
Exactly how common is sexual abuse within families? Is it a major problem, or is it all muckraking on the tabloids’ behalf?

It's sadly probably even much more common than reports indicate. Here's one site that seems like a decent resource:

http://www.jimhopper.com/abstats/#official-us

Just google "child sex abuse statistics"--it'll turn your stomach to read a lot of the numbers.

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 02:56 PM
http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm04/index.htm

The government report from 2004:

Child protective services (CPS) agencies respond to the needs of children who are alleged to have been maltreated and ensure that they remain safe. Based on a rate of 47.8 per 1,000 children, an estimated 3,503,000 children received an investigation by CPS agencies in 2004.1 Based on a victim rate of 11.9 per 1,000 children, an estimated 872,000 children were found to be victims. A child was counted each time he or she was A child was counted each time he or she was the subject of a report. The count of child victims is based on the number of investigations that found the child to be a victim of one of more types of maltreatment. The count of victims is, therefore, a report-based count and is a "duplicated count."2 The victimization rates by individual State are illustrated in figure 3-1.

The rate of all children who received an investigation or assessment increased from 36.1 per 1,000 children in 1990 to 47.8 per 1,000 children in 2004, which is a 32.4 percent increase (figure 3-2). The rate of victimization decreased from 13.4 per 1,000 children in 1990 to 11.9 per 1,000 children in 2004, which is an 11.2 percent decrease.3 The highest rate of victimization occurred during 1993, when the rate was 15.3. There has been a 51.3 percent increase in the number of children who received an investigation from 1990 to 2004; there has been 1.4 percent increase in the number of child victims.

First-Time Victims

Based on data from 39 States, nearly three-quarters of the victims (74.3%) had no history of prior victimization.4 Information regarding first-time victims is a Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) measure. The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Program reports this PART measure to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) each year as an average of all States. Individual State data are not reported to OMB.

Types of Maltreatment

During 2004, 62.4 percent of victims experienced neglect, 17.5 percent were physically abused, 9.7 percent were sexually abused, 7.0 percent were psychologically maltreated, and 2.1 percent were medically neglected.5 In addition, 14.5 percent of victims experienced such "other" types of maltreatment as "abandonment," "threats of harm to the child," or "congenital drug addiction." States may code any condition that does not fall into one of the main categories—physical abuse, neglect, medical neglect, sexual abuse, and psychological or emotional maltreatment—as "other." These maltreatment type percentages total more than 100 percent because children who were victims of more than one type of maltreatment were counted for each maltreatment.

Figure 3-3 illustrates that victimization rates by type of maltreatment have fluctuated only slightly during the last 5 years.6

Victims of specific types of maltreatment were analyzed in terms of what the report sources were. Of victims of physical abuse, 24.1 percent were reported by educational personnel, 21.8 percent were reported by law enforcement, and 11.0 percent were reported by medical personnel.7 Overall, 72.7 percent were reported by professionals and 27.3 percent were reported by nonprofessionals. The patterns of reporting of neglect and sexual abuse victims were similar—law enforcement accounted for the largest percentage of neglect victims (26.2%) and the largest percent of sexual abuse victims (26.5%); 60.8 percent of reporters of neglect were professionals and 68.9 percent of reporters of sexual abuse were professionals. The patterns of reporting medical neglect were different. Nearly one-third of all reports of medical neglect victims were made by medical personnel; three-quarters (73.1%) were made by professionals compared with 26.9 percent by nonprofessionals.

Sex and Age of Victims

For 2004, 48.3 percent of child victims were boys, and 51.7 percent of the victims were girls.8 The youngest children had the highest rate of victimization. The rate of child victimization of the age group of birth to 3 years was 16.1 per 1,000 children of the same age group. The victimization rate of children in the age group of 4-7 years was 13.4 per 1,000 children in the same age group.9 Overall, the rate of victimization was inversely related to the age of the child (figure 3-4).

The youngest children accounted for the largest percentage of victims. Children younger than 1 year accounted for 10.3 percent of victims.10

Nearly three-quarters of child victims (72.9%) ages birth to 3 years were neglected compared with 52.4 percent of victims ages 16 years and older. For victims in the age group of 12-15 years, 22.8 percent were physically abused and 16.5 percent were sexually abused, compared with 16.8 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively, for victims in the age group of 4-7 years old.11
...

Children who had been prior victims of maltreatment were 84 percent more likely to experience a recurrence than those who were not prior victims.
Child victims who were reported with a disability were 61 percent more likely to experience recurrence than children without a disability.
The oldest children (16-21 years of age) were the least likely to experience a recurrence, and were 52 percent less likely than children who were the youngest children (0-3 years of age).
Compared with White children, Asian-Pacific Islander children were 59 percent less likely to experience recurrence.
Perpetrators of Maltreatment

Nearly 84 percent (83.4%) of victims were abused by a parent acting alone or with another person.

Mr. Tea
27-02-2007, 03:11 PM
Good point that there are many ways a child can be abused - not just sexually, but physically/psychologically, through exposure to drugs or alcohol, or by simple neglect.

In the UK, at any rate, the effect of the tabloid hysteria has been to make parents terrified of the "man in the dirty mac"-type abuser, who (while not entirely imaginary) accounts for far less abuse than parents, other relatives or people known to the victim, such as care workers or priests. An upshot of this is that there's now a phantom nonce on every street corner, so parents won't let their kids walk to school or play outside, further exacerbating the obesity epidemic, urban congestion and pollution due to the completely unnecessary 'school run' and, in all probability, rates of childhood depression.

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 03:17 PM
The press in the U.S. tends to sensationalize the relatively few incidents of child abuse at the hands of strangers, too, but in the end I think everyone here realizes that there are so many abused at the hands of "caretakers" (so many more than are ever reported) that it's silly to focus on those cases in lawmaking.

Although we did get some good laws out of that one parent. "Megan's Law", I think it's called. After this one girl was abducted and killed by a crazy neighbor with a history of sex abuse and violence, her parents fought to get legislation passed that required all sex offenders to alert neighbors of their status.

I think it's actually been working in terms of keeping parents informed of who is a tangible threat...

Mr. Tea
27-02-2007, 03:21 PM
I think lawmakers are working on something like that over here (or it may even have been recently introduced, I'm not sure).
Typically, the tabloid pressed had to stick their oar in and fuck things up - there were protets in several cities in the UK a couple of years ago which culminated in a paediatrician being hounded from her home. Semi-literate mob + righteous indignation = trouble. :(

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 03:26 PM
Whoa, here's something crazy i just read in this article that came up on my google mail news bar:

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2007-02-26T133129Z_01_N23288551_RTRUKOC_0_US-MEXICO-HUSBANDS.xml

"In Mexico, about 75 percent of all murdered women are killed by their husbands, Perez Duarte said."

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 03:29 PM
I think lawmakers are working on something like that over here (or it may even have been recently introduced, I'm not sure).
Typically, the tabloid pressed had to stick their oar in and fuck things up - there were protets in several cities in the UK a couple of years ago which culminated in a paediatrician being hounded from her home. Semi-literate mob + righteous indignation = trouble. :(

You know, the world wants to think of Americans as stupid, but really, I've been noticing recently that Americans don't take most pop culture very seriously. Tabloids have no credibility here--sure, a few hillbillies might think Martians took over the Pentagon because the Weekly World News says so, but in general, most Americans look at all media with a very healthy dose of skepticism. I've noticed that people from the rest of the world take American media more at face value. (Especially since Bush's approval rating has plummeted drastically in public opinion)

In America, all of our commercials now are metatexts on how stupid and annoying commercials are. They're always a spoof of themselves, it's becoming very rare to see an ad that doesn't have a huge dose of irony in its dialogue, or the way it presents its product, etc.

Americans aren't all bad. They know that, say, Steven Segal movies are utter trash, completely camp, and they treat them with requisite lack of seriousness...

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 03:37 PM
Wait--people protested a mandatory registry for sex offenders? Ouch.

Mr. Tea
27-02-2007, 03:58 PM
Wait--people protested a mandatory registry for sex offenders? Ouch.

Ah no, I should have explained.
A tabloid published the names and addresses of some convicted paedophiles, and an angry mob rioted outside the homes of some of them. In the ensuing ruckus (not exactly surprising, given the average levels of intellignece and education of people who read News Of The World) a paediatrician was victimised too - as was anyone with a similar name to one of the paedophiles, or probably anyone they thought looked a bit 'dodgy'.

vimothy
27-02-2007, 04:36 PM
The point about 'the kids feeling they have no future', as made upthread by swears, is true as far as it goes, but it's not very useful. It's one of those classic liberal/thatcherite tug-of-wars, and it obscures the truth - which is that they do have a future, if they want it. There s provision for them in education up to degree level (albeit debt-incurring), and enough jobs to go round once they come out the other side. We've had a decade of economic growth in the UK and there are big skills shortages in all sorts of areas.

Well said

matt b
27-02-2007, 05:31 PM
^yeah, its that simple :slanted:

Guybrush
27-02-2007, 06:09 PM
How high are the typical British university fees? Have they been hiked in recent decades?

nomadologist
27-02-2007, 06:26 PM
Ah no, I should have explained.
A tabloid published the names and addresses of some convicted paedophiles, and an angry mob rioted outside the homes of some of them. In the ensuing ruckus (not exactly surprising, given the average levels of intellignece and education of people who read News Of The World) a paediatrician was victimised too - as was anyone with a similar name to one of the paedophiles, or probably anyone they thought looked a bit 'dodgy'.

oh my god...that's...ridiculous...

Mr. Tea
27-02-2007, 09:45 PM
^yeah, its that simple :slanted:

Not quite, but it's misleading to think these kids are growing up in Dickensian conditions.
The UK has free universal eduacation up to 18 (compulsory until 16), there are all sorts of schemes and initiatives to try and help kids get some kind of post-school education or training (not necessarily through university, despite the government's misguided attempts to get 50% of school leavers to go there) and unemployment is historically low.
I think the biggest problem is the gap between the lifestyles kids (boys especially) from this background aspire to - fast cars, flash women and designer clothes, courtesy of MTV etc. etc. - and the reality of a reasonable though unostentatious lifestyle they could afford through going to school and getting a normal job. Working in Curry's or as an office junior doesn't buy you much bling.

Mr. Tea
27-02-2007, 09:46 PM
oh my god...that's...ridiculous...

Welcome to tabloidocracy...

Diggedy Derek
27-02-2007, 11:59 PM
Ah no, I should have explained.
A tabloid published the names and addresses of some convicted paedophiles, and an angry mob rioted outside the homes of some of them. In the ensuing ruckus (not exactly surprising, given the average levels of intellignece and education of people who read News Of The World) a paediatrician was victimised too - as was anyone with a similar name to one of the paedophiles, or probably anyone they thought looked a bit 'dodgy'.

It's worth noting that this story may well be urban myth. If you can find a news story detailing exactly what happaned at such an incident in question, do post it, but it's hard to find evidence that this actually happened.

The BBC investigated it once, I think, and found one bit of graffiti outside a paedetrician's home. That could have been one braindead teenager, which hardly amounts to an angry mob. Basically, it's not clear this "ruckus" ever happened.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 12:26 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/865289.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1711506.stm
http://rooreynolds.com/2000/08/10/minor-riot-in-paulsgrove/
http://society.guardian.co.uk/children/story/0,,536868,00.html
http://www.hayling.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=3628&page=2

tht
28-02-2007, 12:32 AM
that's interesting cos i was looking at the old articles (http://www.guardian.co.uk/child/story/0,7369,361031,00.html) about it and the link seems flimsy, there was loads of hysterical shit that summer and it got conflated with the deluge of photos of the misspelt placards at council estate paedopogroms

Diggedy Derek
28-02-2007, 02:12 AM
Sorry, I was a little vague in my post. I meant to say that there's a lack of concrete evidence of actual incidents of paediatricians being hounded from there homes.

Of course there's evidence of a paediatrician getting stupid graffiti-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/901723.stm

and evidence of mob violence against suspected paedophiles-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/865289.stm

... but no real evidence of the two combined, ie mass mobs besieging the homes of paediatricians suspecting them to be paedophiles. Which seems like an important distinction to me.

Of course there's appalling tabloid hysteria, but I think it's wrong to assume that there was mass victimisation of paedatricians or anything.

hundredmillionlifetimes
28-02-2007, 02:54 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/865289.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1711506.stm
http://rooreynolds.com/2000/08/10/minor-riot-in-paulsgrove/
http://society.guardian.co.uk/children/story/0,,536868,00.html
http://www.hayling.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=3628&page=2



My point being, that if we're trying to have a rational discussion on some important current topic I'd rather hear what people on here have to say, than be met with a barrage of cut-n-pasted articles ...

Resistance is futile ...

I'm wondering what this thread is supposed to be about, now that its moved onto:


"In Mexico, about 75 percent of all murdered women are killed by their husbands, Perez Duarte said."

Why just Mexico? Most [civilian] violence in the West also occurs in the bedroom, and most child abuse in the home (approx one-in-four children in the West will be/have been abused by a family member, whether parent/sibling/relative), so its hardly surprising that parent-based mobs will seek out a - more public - paedophile scapegoat ...


In America, all of our commercials now are metatexts on how stupid and annoying commercials are. They're always a spoof of themselves, it's becoming very rare to see an ad that doesn't have a huge dose of irony in its dialogue, or the way it presents its product, etc.

"Stupid and annoying", especially the oh-so-oironic metatextual ones, which as you say constitute "all of our commercials now." We call that cynical pomo disavowal, not "really" believing in what they are doing but doing it - even more effectively - nonetheless, just the ideal (self-distancing) precondition for the smooth, justified, and flawless operation of ideology.

matt b
28-02-2007, 10:47 AM
The UK has free universal eduacation up to 18 (compulsory until 16), there are all sorts of schemes and initiatives to try and help kids get some kind of post-school education or training...<snip>

right, lets take a theoretical example of an average kid from an inner city council estate, and look at all the obstacles s/he must overcome in comparison to a middle class kid in order to get this future they want (and this is hugely simplified).

1. they are likely to go to a rubbish school, with poor GCSE pass rates (Less than a third of pupils left schools in deprived areas with five good GCSEs, compared to over half of pupils elsewhere, and pupils were twice as likely as those elsewhere to leave without any GCSEs at all. (http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,1089491,00.html))

2. kids who are able in such schools are often left to do set work (with little extension) as teachers have to deal with more troublesome students- they are not pushed in the classroom in the way that middel class children often are.

3. peer group pressure may discourage a positive attitude towards learning (this also happens in many m.class schools, but other factors within and without the school are likely to negate it).

4. the domestic situation may be a negative factor for a whole range of reasons that are complex- w.class families have less cultural capital, find it harder to engage with the school, are less likely to have books in the house (an important factor, regardless of whether they're read (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Freakonomics-Economist-Explores-Hidden-Everything/dp/0713998067)), are less likely to understand the complex processes involved in getting children into good schools (see also middle class flight (http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnists_m_z/john_rentoul/article334610.ece), making point 1. worse) etc. they may not have a quiet place to study.this has nothing to do with poor parents not caring, or focussing on 'bling'

5. lets assume the kid gets 5 GCSEs and wants to continue in education- s/he needs to apply to a college- local ones may not be the best, so they apply to one that has excellent results and gets in. they may then face subtle discrimination or stereotyping from teachers (most teachers in sixth form colleges will be aware of where their students came from) and peers, they may feel alienated and out of place- different language used in lessons, a different 'feel' to the learning environment. in addition, they may not be able to afford trips, extra resources etc that aid learning.

6. friends in their local area who are doing modern apprenticeships, or nothing put (subtle) pressure on the kid, so they may view what they have done in a negative light.

7. the student applies to university. as part of their selection process, universities look at GCSE results (on competitive courses this is the first thing they look at- to get onto a dentistry course, you need nealry all As at GCSE- two or more Bs, and you probably won't get an offer). due to the poor quality school they went to, the students GCSE results do not reflect their ability, or how well they are doing at A level. in many cases, this won't make a difference to the university.


8. the student gets a place at university, but the family baulks at £3000/year tuition fees, plus living costs (believe me, even if the student gets ALL the available grants, they're looking at £10,000 debt minimum)- traditionally, many w/c families are determined not to get into debt, let alone encourage it.


9. the student goes to university but has to work nearly full-time in order to fund their studies (if they go to a 'good' university- they could stay at home and go to the local ex-poly, which isn't very good, but is affordable).

10. after university the student applies for jobs. they won't have the advantage of family/friend connections, they won't be able to do unpaid internships and many firms with local knowldge discriminate against those from certtain postcodes.


in general middle class kids won't face any of those problems (they may work part-time at university)- they don't have to think about them, let alone overcome them.

assuming only poor kids have aspirations to nice cars etc is idiotic- they're just further away from getting them.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 12:03 PM
"approx one-in-four children in the West will be/have been abused by a family member, whether parent/sibling/relative"

Really? Any figures to back that up?
According to nomad's apparently well-researched post, the 'victim rate' is something like 12 per 1,000 children, i.e. a fraction over 1&#37;, and that's counting multiple cases of abuse or neglect on a single child as separate cases. One in four sounds ridiculously high.

Edit: and for the benefit of bazillionlifetimes - firstly, I posted those items in response to a specific question about whether or not something happened, and secondly you'll notice it was just a collection of links, rather than screens and screens of pasted text, which was my main gripe with your posts.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 12:14 PM
Matt, I agree with you entirely. I think we're arguing at cross-purposes here.
The cultural factors you talk about are exactly the sort of thing I've been trying to get at as well - for example, a lack of discipline in schools, fostered by a lack of stable home life, means the kids are disruptive, so the teachers have to spend all their time just trying to get the kids to sit still rather than actually having the chance to teach them anything, so the kids don't feel like they're getting anything out of being there, so they get disillusioned and disruptive, and so on - it's a vicious circle. The teachers are at their wits' end because there's nothing they can do about it, so they leave to teach at better schools or leave the profession altogether, so only the most hopeless teachers are left; another self-stoking cycle.

I suppose what I was saying is that it's not that educational opportunities aren't there, per se, it's that there are barriers to them, and that these barriers are unintentionally erected by the kids themselves, because of attitudes they've started to pick up even before they get to school.

matt b
28-02-2007, 01:22 PM
I suppose what I was saying is that it's not that educational opportunities aren't there, per se, it's that there are barriers to them, and that these barriers are unintentionally erected by the kids themselves, because of attitudes they've started to pick up even before they get to school.

this is where we differ, i think its much more due to structural barriers that are put in the way of kids- yes, thay CAN overcome them, but its often very difficult

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 01:39 PM
Well who is putting the barriers there, then?
I'm saying that there is a whole culture, that involves the kids themselves and is perpetuated by them, that prevents many of them from getting an education and having any real career prospects. I'm not blaming them, because the culture is already there and it's all around them, so they can't help but feel its influence.
At the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy, I think the music they listen to is a part of it, while the easy availability of drugs (and guns) is obviously massively important, too. But isn't it the case that kids turn towards this lifestyle because they've already, in a sense, given up on themselves academically? Or is it the lure of the 'street' that turns them away from school in the first place?

tht
28-02-2007, 01:54 PM
if you were growing up in that environment (slightly stupid imponderable) wouldn't selling drugs seem a more viable option than going to [shit university] and joining the lower middle class?

lots of priviledged white kids do the same, the difference being they can get out of it easily enough

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 02:04 PM
if you were gvrowing up in that environment (slightly stupid imponderable) wouldn't selling drugs seem a more viable option than going to [shit university] and joining the lower middle class?

lots of priviledged white kids do the same, the difference being they can get out of it easily enough

Newsflash: there are worse fates that being lower-middle-class in a wealthy, basically civilised country.
If a shopping trip to Ikea is your idea of 'hell' perhaps you'd prefer to live in Helmand or Darfour?

/standard FFS-there-are-kids-starving-in-Africa response

tht
28-02-2007, 02:13 PM
that is not the implication of what i wrote, although coincidentally i would sort of agree with it

there are 15yr olds who can get &#163;200 a day selling drugs, how can you convince someone to forgo that in favour of the possibility of lower middle class wage serfdom in the future, however much that appeals to you?

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 02:19 PM
remember that weird Eastern European guy who got caught having kept a few women prisoner in a tiny "dungeon"? they caught 3 or 4 guys who did that in America in the 80s and 90s, and some of them had victimized over 10 women. one guy was going by race, picking one girl per race, and even got a native american girl. i remember watching a TV show about it, and when one of the girls was finally returned to her parents home (he had forced her to write letters to her parents saying she'd run away to go to rehab in another state, and she'd found a husband or something...), the police didn't believe her story and wouldn't look for the guy. she spent years trying to convince him, but it wasn't till his black victim managed to find a payphone during a trip to the store where he left her unsupervised to go to the bathroom that a victim escaped and could ID him.

it was nuts. people are nuts. i can understand getting annoyed because in the U.S. law enforcement isn't exactly vigilant about trying to prevent this stuff...

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 02:24 PM
tht, it sometimes seems to me that mr. tea doesn't understand the idea of "privilege"--he thinks people are always crying "oppression", and he tries to point out that people aren't overwhelmingly oppressed by individuals or institutions, or at least as oppressed as they used to be. a problem that's as big as oppression is privilege, where you are born with a much better ticket than others in the big social lottery, and not because you deserve it or because you have more to offer the world.

at the public school in the U.S. (the one the government runs) a lot of schools do the privilege game to illustrate this in gym. they line people up along the center of the gym. then they say "if you were born white, take a step forward. if you weren't, take a step back." then "if you were born male, step forward. females step back."

at the end, you'll have a lot of kids who end up against the wall, on the exact opposite end of the room, behind the white males born to two parent households with at least one parent with a college degree and dual incomes.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 02:27 PM
"Stupid and annoying", especially the oh-so-oironic metatextual ones, which as you say constitute "all of our commercials now." We call that cynical pomo disavowal, not "really" believing in what they are doing but doing it - even more effectively - nonetheless, just the ideal (self-distancing) precondition for the smooth, justified, and flawless operation of ideology.

Well, I agree with you theoretically, Hundredmillion, and I don't think being detached from commercials means you've circumvented capitalism. But I do have to give credit where it's due. Americans aren't all just sitting there being spoonfed what the media wants them to believe. There are definitely a lot of Americans who hate the same shit you do and want to end it.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 02:28 PM
oh wait, Matt made that point up there while I was writing mine. Ignore mine.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 02:30 PM
"approx one-in-four children in the West will be/have been abused by a family member, whether parent/sibling/relative"

Really? Any figures to back that up?
According to nomad's apparently well-researched post, the 'victim rate' is something like 12 per 1,000 children, i.e. a fraction over 1%, and that's counting multiple cases of abuse or neglect on a single child as separate cases. One in four sounds ridiculously high.

Edit: and for the benefit of bazillionlifetimes - firstly, I posted those items in response to a specific question about whether or not something happened, and secondly you'll notice it was just a collection of links, rather than screens and screens of pasted text, which was my main gripe with your posts.

One-in-four is one of the speculative figures most social workers or other experts will guess is the real figure on rape/sex abuse. I haven't found any documented studies that make that claim, but this figure is accounting for how hard it is to actually report rape and sex abuse, and how most victims don't knowing how negative the consequences can be on their own lives.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 02:35 PM
When did I ever say some people aren't born more privileged than others? My point is *not* that these kids could just pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they really wanted to, but that it's a massive oversimplification to blame it all simply on poverty. There are many ways someone can be underprivileged, apart from having no money.
In the UK, at any rate, actual poverty is generally more widespread in rural communities and small provincial towns than it is in large cities. Unemployment is certainly higher. Yet it's in the citiies, and particularly London, that we see this culture of anti-academia, drugs, guns, and violence.

Yes, a lot of these kids grow up in council flats with a single parent on benefits, and I'm not denying the effects that can have, but it's a cultural and social poverty that does the real damage, I think. Someone growing up in that environment is massively underprivileged.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 02:42 PM
Well who is putting the barriers there, then?
I'm saying that there is a whole culture, that involves the kids themselves and is perpetuated by them, that prevents many of them from getting an education and having any real career prospects. I'm not blaming them, because the culture is already there and it's all around them, so they can't help but feel its influence.
At the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy, I think the music they listen to is a part of it, while the easy availability of drugs (and guns) is obviously massively important, too. But isn't it the case that kids turn towards this lifestyle because they've already, in a sense, given up on themselves academically? Or is it the lure of the 'street' that turns them away from school in the first place?

Mr. Tea, you might be the most conservative person on Dissensus. At least who I've read.

Could it be that the music *reflects* cultural circumstances that already exist? I think that's what the music is doing. I don't think guns and bling are becoming our reality because of hip-hop music, I think hip-hop music reflect realities and tendencies and cultural problems that already exist.

This is the same thing people get wrong about feminism. Feminism didn't *cause* the culture to change so radically that women started working--it is a movement that sprang up around culture when economic changes radically altered our way of life, so that feminism was a *reaction* to those changes, an attempt to get culture attitudes and values to catch up with reality. It's industrialization that you can blame for causing the economy to change so drastically that we needed women in the workforce. Then the world wars for forcing women to stay, and draining society of the members that would have been the most successful career people. Then you can thank the post-war boom in America and western Europe and the attending tech boom for keeping capitalism in need of workers and consumers, fueling the need to keep everyone at work for longer and longer hours.

The "breakdown of the family" as Mr. Tea sees it is ultimately capitalism's fault, not feminism's, not guns, not bling culture.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 02:50 PM
As far as the role of capitalism goes in this discussion, several people have mentioned its effect on families in this thread and I can only say I agree. I think the Reaganite/Thatcherite idea of "personal wealth by any means necessary" is, to a large extent, behind the fact (mentioned above) that these kids would rather make easy money selling drugs than get a job driving a bus or working in a shop. I don't recall mentioning feminism in this thread, although I think I mentioned the damage caused by absent fathers several times.

I don't think I'm particularly right-wing. I sometimes talk to people and come away feeling like a big old pinko tree-hugger. Maybe being the most conservative person on Dissensus is a bit like being the world's tallest pygmy? :)

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 02:53 PM
I happen to think the traditional family structure needed breaking down, in the service of making sure our biology no longer had to be our destiny.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 02:56 PM
I happen to think the traditional family structure needed breaking down, in the service of making sure our biology no longer had to be our destiny.

Well what do you suggest instead? Kids brought up communally, like in the great apes and some 'primitive' societies?

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 03:11 PM
No, I would say it's important for people to be building relationships that are strong no matter who a person'a primary caretaker is--we should focus on individual psychological health and on building a strong "web" of support comprised of friends and and their relatives and whoever you know and trust. There have been tons of sociological studies of queer culture and the way many gay people have to build up "surrogate" families when their families reject them. Those surrogate families are actually amazingly functional and a wonderful model for straight people. They illustrate how biological ties aren't always more important than the ties we build with others...

And there's nothing "primitive" about matriarchal or tribal living--at least those people who are still living in tribes live ecologically "sustainable" lifestyles!!

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 03:22 PM
And there's nothing "primitive" about matriarchal or tribal living--at least those people who are still living in tribes live ecologically "sustainable" lifestyles!!

Ahh, the myth of the noble savage living in perfect harmony with nature - best not to mention the extensive extinction and deforestation caused in some parts of the world long before 'civilisation' turned up.

The 'primitve' was meant as a convenient, conventional term, hence the ' '.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 03:27 PM
When did I say perfect harmony? There are tons of problems in African countries alone, sadly it's hard to think of where to begin with them--genocide, AIDS, etc.

I'm just saying that what you've called a "primitive" way of life could in fact win out in the face of, say, a cataclysmic event where our technologies are destroyed or rendered useless.

Many Carribean cultures don't have a "father" figure, where mothers get pregnant, have the children, and share the child rearing responsibilities with their other children and their mothers-- and these people turn into fine healthy adults, this culture is in fact a great model of that "village" raising a child notion, and I think would serve as a great prototype for us.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 03:32 PM
of course species have always been becoming extinct. that's called "evolution." the question is whether species have always been driven to extinction by the overbearing presence of humans and their lifestyles invading ecosystems...

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 03:38 PM
Many Carribean cultures don't have a "father" figure, where mothers get pregnant, have the children, and share the child rearing responsibilities with their other children and their mothers-- and these people turn into fine healthy adults, this culture is in fact a great model of that "village" raising a child notion, and I think would serve as a great prototype for us.

I don't know about the rest of the Carribean, but I would NOT call Jamaica a country with 'fine, healthy' culture.
Your description of the child-rearing system sounds a lot like an excuse for men to get women up the duff and then bugger off, absolving themselves of all responsibility. Or is this only bad when white guys do it in developed countries?

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 03:47 PM
Hm?? First, I said those people turn out to be "fine, healthy adults"--i didn't say anything about a "fine, healthy culture." Jamaica may have problems--it wasn't the culture I was talking about, i'd have to look up which island it was i read about--but I guarantee you that the problems are not caused by women who decide to or are forced to raise children without fathers.

I don't think single parenthood is wrong when anyone decides to do it, anywhere. Some women, believe it or not, would rather not even bother trying to get alimony from the father of their children. If a women wants it, and goes after it, more power to her.

I just don't think the traditional family structure is any sort of guarantee of emotional or psychological health for children, or any sort of guarantee that there will be fewer problems in general for the family in question. Psychological health is something anyone has a right to, and can have. It's not achievable by some sort of formula where you put x y and z in a household and you have perfect harmony.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 03:55 PM
Well of course there's no magic formula, and there are going to be people who turn out OK in the most adverse conditions and also people who have the best possible start in life but still fuck up - but in the UK, at any rate (and I am talking specifically about a densely populated, urbanised, post-industrialised society here) there's a noticeable correlation between single parenthood and poor school achievement, abuse of drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy and so on. Certainly doesn't mean a kid brought up in that kind of environment is doomed from birth, just that they're statistically more vulnerable.

Alternative models like the ones you've mentioned might work brilliantly in very different societies, I'm not denying that.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 03:57 PM
The problem is, the root of the problem that you have with the children of single mothers in a society like the U.K. is that the single parents themselves have lost out at the hands of the "system" already. They are having children when they are not ready emotionally, financially, psychologically, and obviously in terms of their relationships, because they have already "lost", they have already fallen through the cracks. They are symptomatic of a problem, not the cause of one.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 04:04 PM
I agree with that. It's the sad old tale of what comes around, goes around, and people turning out just like their parents. There are now 'parenting classes' for first-time couples and young single mothers, and whether you think it's a drop-in-the-ocean measure or not, it's good that people are at least trying to do something about it.

nomadologist
28-02-2007, 04:16 PM
Yeah, we need more of those programs here, too. That's the short term sort of solution. I really balk at the idea that single parenthood is the "cause" of problems because historically that viewpoint has been espoused only to blame women who are awful enough to have sex before they're married, which is of course a huge offense to the religious right, for all the world's problems. Unsurprisingly, these same people have little to say by way of condemnation about men who behave similarly.

Mr. Tea
28-02-2007, 10:18 PM
I think I should clarify a few points here where you seem to be misunderstanding me as some kind of draconian lunatic who who thinks these damn kids should just sort themselves out, pull their socks up, count themselves lucky and so on and so on. I am very aware that these kids grow up highly underprivileged, and I'm aware of my own privilege, too. My main contention is that the root cause of this underprivilege is not, primarily, absolute poverty. After all, if that was the sole or main cause of juvenile crime and underachievement, surely all the countries less wealthy than the UK (i.e. nearly all of them) would have proportionally far worse problems with their childrens' behaviour? Yet this is not the case.

I think the main problem is twofold; firstly, as I've mentioned above, there is severe relative poverty, in the sense of the gulf between the lifestyle most working-class people can reasonably afford by legitimate means, and the aspirational lifestyle displayed in adverts, films, pop music and vidoes and so on. As I'm sure you'd agree, this is a product of an excessively consumerist culture, where personal worth is measured by personal wealth.

Secondly, there is a very severe social poverty, whereby children grow up with no real idea of who they are, where they've come from, who they should aspire to be like and who they should look to for values and social guidance. Your typical 'breakdown of the family' type stuff (and as far as the society I know about goes, I would certainly call the breakdown of the traditional nuclear mum-and-dad family a Very Bad Thing Indeed. Without bringing up any idea of blame, the statistics on single-parent families speak for themselves).

Put these things together and you have a recipe for a very disfunctional society. Anyone born into this sort of situation is very disadvantaged from the very outset, and that's what I've been trying to get at all along.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 03:31 AM
Sure, violence and crime are bad, but the statistics about violence and crime in single parent families with sufficient INCOME and where the parent is EDUCATED don't reflect the same sort of problems you see in the statistics on single parent families whose parents are also unemployed, IMPOVERISHED, and UNEDUCATED. Thus, it is obvious that it is not the lack of nuclear/traditional family unit that causes violence and crime, it's POVERTY and IGNORANCE. It actually IS the case that third world countries have loads more crime and violence per capita than the U.K. does. Loads and loads more.

Which countries have the most violence and crime? The ones that are the poorest and the least educated. Which countries are absolutely desolate war zones where women are killed for being raped and "dishonouring the family" and people are executed at the discretion of local authorities without bothering to do so much as rig a staged trial to give the illusion of human decency? The ones that ostensibly believe the most in the role of women in the home as primary caregivers and men as providers for the traditional family unit.

Your notion that single parent families have violent criminal children because there are not two parents at home just doesn't hold up, even though I think most people want to "commonsensically" believe you. Most people think (this is at the heart of the conservative impulse) that there was once a time (rose-colored glasses in place) when people all had roles to play, values were absolute, and social problems were just non-existent because these black and white, surefire moral values were inherently foolproof.

The most hilarious part of this view, to me, is how ignorant it is of the actual circumstances of our recent past. Christians would believe the Victorian era was morally superior to ours because men and women were mothers and fathers, with women laboring happily at the hearth, fulfilled by her husband's success in the workplace, and by having children without the aid of birthcontrol to guide her reproductive (lack of) choices. In reality, men in Victorian societies often frequented prostitutes and brought home syphilis to unsuspecting wives who, if they survived childbirth as it happened at least once a calendar year (if you were lucky--otherwise you were an "old maid" or "barren" and worthless because women have no value outside their ability to carry pregnancies and give birth, of course), went ahead and passed that on to their offspring.
Promiscuous women were ostracised, divorce was not allowed even under the most heinous of circumstances, lest a woman dishonour her family and bring intense shame on herself. So women and children had no escape from abusive husbands, about whom it was considered impolite to speak so the only reason it may seem in recorded history that domestic violence was rare was because it was highly stigmatized. Women were not the mother-goddesses people imagine, either: women rarely breastfed their own children, and any family who could afford it had children raised completely by nannies, with little or even no contact until they became young adults. Children were seen as little adults who were unruly and alien and needed to be forced to behave even if that meant hitting them or manipulating them emotionally in all sorts of gruesome ways.

And I don't think I need to mention the horrors the first world was perpetrating on the world through colonization. Marriage and the family unit were never the utopia conservatives try to tell us we've "lost."

The only thing we've lost (I would say it's just evolved)--the traditional family unit-- is something that was never in and of itself a success. There was never a "fully functional" society in the way you're imagining. Even those that were *relatively* more successful can't chalk their success up to a double-parent family structure...

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 06:02 AM
Your notion that single parent families have violent criminal children because there are not two parents at home just doesn't hold up, even though I think most people want to "commonsensically" believe you.

Because you say so, or because you have the statistics to prove it? Everything I have read on the subject so far indicates that kids growing up with two parents, ceteris paribus, are more likely to be well off than kids growing up in single-parent households. Bringing up the Victorian era is a sanguine herring if I ever saw one.


Which countries have the most violence and crime? The ones that are the poorest and the least educated.

I dispute this correlation, too. I will look into it later today.

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 11:13 AM
I'm certainly not holding up the 19th century, or any other age, as a paradigm of happiness and social cohesion, and I don't particularly see the relevance of (for example) the role of women over a hundred years ago to the present discussion. I'm just talking about the situation in the here-and-now, and it is undeniable that kids (in Britain, in 2007) do better (in most measurable criteria) when brought up by two married parents than by unmarried parents or a single parent. This is borne out by studies again and again. Why are you so antagonistic to this idea? Is it because marriage is 'unfashionable', too fuddy-duddy and old-fashioned for today?

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 02:10 PM
Because you say so, or because you have the statistics to prove it? Everything I have read on the subject so far indicates that kids growing up with two parents, ceteris paribus, are more likely to be well off than kids growing up in single-parent households. Bringing up the Victorian era is a sanguine herring if I ever saw one.



I dispute this correlation, too. I will look into it later today.

Guybrush, where are you statistics that prove that income level and education AREN'T factors? I'm doing a google search now, and I've already found tons of information. I'll organize it and post it in a few minutes.

Mr. Tea--you never said that about Victorian era families, but your entire view of the traditional family seems to rest, as conservatives' ideals do, on the idea that in the past we had a "better" family situation in general. I'm saying there are always problems with every system, and it's ridiculous to act as if we've "lost" some sort of edenic

I am antagonistic to that idea because it's people who espouse it who usually are AGAINST social programs that could help correct the problems...

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 02:17 PM
http://www.cbpp.org/6-15-01wel.htm

statistics on how children living with single mothers has actually DECLINED in the U.S.

Children living in lower-income families (families with income below 200 percent of the official poverty line) are more likely to live with single mothers and less likely to live with two married parents than are higher-income children. Among children in lower-income families, there was a significant decline between 1995 and 2000 in the share living with a single mother. There was also an increase in the proportion of children living with a cohabiting mother and an adult male.

Conclusion

This analysis of CPS data for the late 1990s compared to the late 1980s indicates that child living arrangements have begun to change in recent years. The decline in the proportion of children living with two married parents that occurred during the late 1980s stopped in the late 1990s. At the same time, the proportion of children living with single mothers decreased.

There were notable variations across racial and ethnic groups. The increase in children living with married parents was concentrated among Black children. While all groups experienced a decline in the percent of children living with a single mother, the decreases were largest between Black and Hispanic children.

Changes in children's living arrangements varied across income groups as well. In the late 1980s, children in both lower and higher-income families became less likely to live with married parents and more likely to live with single mothers. While this continued in the late 1990s for children in higher-income families, both trends ceased for lower-income children.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 02:22 PM
http://ideas.repec.org/p/wop/jopovw/100.html

a study of low-income single mothers and why they don't get married, using research conducted by interviewing the women themselves

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 02:25 PM
I am antagonistic to that idea because it's people who espouse it who usually are AGAINST social programs that could help correct the problems...

Well, as I hope I've made clear I'm most definitely FOR social programmes that might help people who've not had a great start in life. I'm not into victimising people who've failed to live in some prescribed 'ideal' way, either - families break up for all sorts of reasons, and if the parents are at each other's throats all the time divorce is far preferable to the ridiculous situation whereby couples stay together 'for the sake of the children', unwittingly doing more harm than good.

I think the most important thing to do is to try and persuade people not to have kids before they're ready, although that's going to be difficult to do when child benefit and assisted housing are so easy to come by (at least in the UK). Namely, how do you convice people it's not in their interest to have kids if they don't have a steady relationship and some sort of income without penalising kids born to people who have no independent way of supporting them?

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 02:31 PM
I think it's more important to focus first on social norms that keep men and women from going to college, and especially the ones that make young girls feel like they have no worth outside of their relationships with men. ( http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthnews.php?newsid=63514&nfid=rssfeeds after a study proved that objectification/sexualization of women in the media stunts mental development of girls the APA released a full report on the social impact)

If you could keep impoverished American teens in high school until they graduated, and if they made it affordable and within reach for these kids to get some form of higher education--even if it's tech school or a certificate program that proves they have clerical skills, anything--then they would enter the job market and be able to take of children if they then decided to have some.

The problem in the U.S. is that higher education is simply not feasible for kids who grow up in low-income families. There is no upward mobility for the children of low-income parents, so the children of those children are at an even worse disadvantage. And nothing is done to even the playing field.

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 02:41 PM
Social mobility does seem to be less than it was a generation or two ago, which is worrying.
Your point about girls is interesting, but in Britain girls out-perform boys now in every subject and at every level of school education. Programmes to improve attendence and achievement at school seem to be needed most urgently for boys in general, and black, Bangldadeshi and working-class white boys in particular.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 02:52 PM
Same here in the U.S., girls are outperforming boys from elementary school all the way through college and into the boardroom. When I started reading those stats, it made me understand why chauvinists were so scared of women getting the right to vote and being taught to read and allowed an education--because they must have been afraid of women outperforming men who are supposedly inherently "superior" in intellect. I still think that there's a glass ceiling in place, regardless of how well women perform in school or at work. Why is the wage gap still so huge?

This outperformance can be part of why low-income mothers aren't marrying, and it is if you read that study--they just can't find anyone to marry who is making the same or more than they are, so they feel like having another person in the house is just another mouth to feed that's a strain on the budget. Pair that with the prospect of a male partner cheating on you and impregnating someone, or already having several children they have to pay alimony to (as is the case often in the U.S.), and there are precious few reasons why a low-income woman would ever want to get married.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 02:56 PM
From the report:

The mothers that we spoke to were quite forthcoming about the fact that the men who had fathered their children often were not “worth a lifetime commitment,” given their lack of trustworthiness, the traditional nature of their sex-role views, the potential loss of control over parental and household decisions, and their risky and sometimes violent behavior. While mothers maintained hopes of eventual marriage, they viewed such hopes with some level of skepticism. Thus, they devoted most of their time and energy toward “getting it together financially,” rather than “waiting on a man.” Those that planned on marrying generally assumed they would put off marriage until their children were in school and they were engaged in labor market activity. By waiting to marry until the tasks associated with early child-rearing and the labor market withdrawal such tasks required were completed, mothers felt they could minimize these risks and enhance their bargaining power within marriage.

This complex set of motivations to delay marriage or remarriage (or less frequently, to avoid them altogether) has interesting implications for welfare reform. If single mothers have less income from the state, it is reasonable to argue that they might become more dependent on men and men’s income.14 This might encourage some couples to marry, but given the low levels of trust between men and women in this population, and given the men’s labor market difficulties, many of these marriages might well be conflictridden
and short lived. A more likely scenario is that cohabitation might increase, given the fact that cohabitation allows women to make a substantial claim on the male cohabitor’s income. Both cohabitation and marriage, however, might put women and children at greater risk if their partner is violent. In these situations, a separate residence may be a protective factor. Unless low-skilled men’s economic situations improve and they begin to change their behaviors toward women, it is quite likely that most low-income women will continue to resist marriage.

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 03:16 PM
This outperformance can be part of why low-income mothers aren't marrying, and it is if you read that study--they just can't find anyone to marry who is making the same or more than they are, so they feel like having another person in the house is just another mouth to feed that's a strain on the budget.

A very good point, but I'm mostly talking about kids brought up on benefits, i.e. whose parent(s) have no 'earned' income at all. The out-performing women who go off and have great careers tend not to be the ones who have kids at 16.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 03:23 PM
http://www.newsobserver.com/1413/story/515742.html

just found that by accident searching. pretty scary that homicide is the leading cause of death of pregnant women.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 03:24 PM
A very good point, but I'm mostly talking about kids brought up on benefits, i.e. whose parent(s) have no 'earned' income at all. The out-performing women who go off and have great careers tend not to be the ones who have kids at 16.

Yeah, but even at the minimum wage earning "low-income" level in the U.S., women are considered more employable than men. This is probably partially because women are less likely to have criminal records.

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 03:40 PM
Guybrush, where are you statistics that prove that income level and education AREN'T factors?

That was not my point, though. I used the ceteris paribus disclaimer precisely because they are factors—even weightier ones, perhaps. However, from what I have read, children growing up with one parent are less well off than their peers living with both of their parents—assuming all other factors to be equal. I will give you the statistics shortly.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 03:46 PM
Here is a study about the correlation between income inequality and violent crime where they prove there IS a correlation between low-income and high crime rates.

http://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlawec/v45y2002i1p1-40.html

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 03:48 PM
That was not my point, though. I used the ceteris paribus disclaimer precisely because they are factors—even weightier ones, perhaps. However, from what I have read, children growing up with one parent are less well off than their peers living with both of their parents—assuming all other factors to be equal. I will give you the statistics shortly.

Assuming what other factors to be equal? That's not a valid way of studying populations.

Low-income families are more likely to be single parent families, and low-income people are more likely to commit crimes than are high income people. High income people are less likely to commit crimes than low-income people, as are children of high income families with single parents.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 03:56 PM
You cannot assume other factors are equal when you are studying populations--the entire point of studying populations is to INCLUDE all factors. All things are *not* equal, and you cannot statistically or mathematically create a "ceteris paribus" model w/r/t single or double parent families, because in populations there is always income variation.

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 04:01 PM
Assuming what other factors to be equal? That's not a valid way of studying populations.

Low-income families are more likely to be single parent families, and low-income people are more likely to commit crimes. High income people are less likely to commit crimes, as are children of high income families with single parents.

Sure. That is why, if you want to get somewhat reliable data, you have to sift out factors that may skew the results, economic differences’ being sure-fire such. In this particular instance, I would imagine they only compare households which are very similar on all levels except some’s being run by a single parent.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:06 PM
If you wanted to level out the "income factor", then you would have to study only families that made x amount of dollars. Say you only studied families with a yearly income of $40,000/year, and found that of the single parent families in that range, their children were more likely to commit crimes than double parent (which I'm not so sure would be the case, because $40,000 for a single parent family is quite a lot, or a decent income--add another adult to the family, and it is a huge strain on the $40,000). This study's results would not be any indication of what happens in THE POPULATION AT LARGE. This is why in studies of populations, you have to have a "variable", x, that stands for the income factor. You have to take into account families of different incomes, or your study's results have no bearing on the real world and what happens in it.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:07 PM
x factors like income don't "skew" results--they reflect real populations.

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 04:16 PM
Or you write ‘ceteris paribus’ and get it over with. ;) The whole point of writing in those terms is not to generalise, merely to write that, on that specific micro-level, those observations have been made.

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 04:17 PM
The purely economic factor is one thing, certainly. I happen to believe (hoary old conservative that I am, apparently) that another important factor is that a supportive and involved father figure present during children's upbringing (whether or not he's the biological father) means the offspring are more lilkely to grow up into well-rounded, responsible and ultimately happy adults.

Note that I am not saying "Dads at any price" - obviously no Dad at all is better than a neglectful, abusive or criminal one.

Edit: Guybrush, what does that phrase mean?

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:18 PM
What? In what terms? The whole point of studying populations and accounting for variables like income is to be sure you reflect actual information instead of trying to "generalise" the truth by mapping the study of one population based on its shared income variable onto the entire population of the world.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:20 PM
The purely economic factor is one thing, certainly. I happen to believe (hoary old conservative that I am, apparently) that another important factor is that a supportive and involved father figure present during children's upbringing (whether or not he's the biological father) means the offspring are more lilkely to grow up into well-rounded, responsible and ultimately happy adults.

Note that I am not saying "Dads at any price" - obviously no Dad at all is better than a neglectful, abusive or criminal one.

Edit: Guybrush, what does that phrase mean?

ceteris paribus is used in economics and law to mean "all other things remaining equal." you would use it to compare two examples of something while limiting the factor you want to discuss. it DOES NOT apply to the study of populations.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:22 PM
The purely economic factor is one thing, certainly. I happen to believe (hoary old conservative that I am, apparently) that another important factor is that a supportive and involved father figure present during children's upbringing (whether or not he's the biological father) means the offspring are more lilkely to grow up into well-rounded, responsible and ultimately happy adults.

Note that I am not saying "Dads at any price" - obviously no Dad at all is better than a neglectful, abusive or criminal one.

Edit: Guybrush, what does that phrase mean?

How would you go about measuring "well-roundedness" or "happiness"? Unfortunately, the only measure we have of the "unhappiness" of single parent families is the tendency of their children toward crime and other anti-social behaviors. At least in studies I'm finding...

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 04:23 PM
Edit: Guybrush, what does that phrase mean?

Just so you know, I don’t use it to be hoity-toity, it is an extremely useful concept which is used all the time in economics.

Ceteris Paribus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceteris_paribus)

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 04:23 PM
Oh, x-post.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:25 PM
It just doesn't apply to scientific studies of populations, Guybrush. The entire point of scientific studies is to find variable factors and *not* to isolate them so as to find correlations and determine causality.

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 04:27 PM
Just so you know, I don’t use it to be hoity-toity, it is an extremely useful concept which is used all the time in economics.

Ceteris Paribus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceteris_paribus)

That wasn't my intention, I just hadn't heard it before. Ta for the link!

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 04:33 PM
How would you go about measuring "well-roundedness" or "happiness"? Unfortunately, the only measure we have of the "unhappiness" of single parent families is the tendency of their children toward crime and other anti-social behaviors. At least in studies I'm finding...

I've heard it linked to a whole host of social indicators, everything from performance at school to mental health, substance abuse statistics and possibly even life expectancy.

After all, why wouldn't having your father around be benificial when you're growing up? Provided your parents have a reasonable relationship, you can learn about how couples interact and live together; having two parents around means more time for at least one of them to spend with kids, while the other's at work or otherwise busy; a father figure is seen as especially important for boys' development, in terms of learning social boundaries and rules, and perhaps families with a dad are more likely to get involved in a sport of some kind and therefore get a bit of exercise, which is obviously going to have a big effect on health in later life.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:35 PM
I've heard it linked to a whole host of social indicators, everything from performance at school to mental health, substance abuse statistics and possibly even life expectancy.

After all, why wouldn't having your father around be benificial when you're growing up? Provided your parents have a reasonable relationship, you can learn about how couples interact and live together; having two parents around means more time for at least one of them to spend with kids, while the other's at work or otherwise busy; a father figure is seen as especially important for boys' development, in terms of learning social boundaries and rules, and perhaps families with a dad are more likely to get involved in a sport of some kind and therefore get a bit of exercise, which is obviously going to have a big effect on health in later life.

Maybe, I don't think having a father in a family is bad, I just think that any male role model who is psychologically healthy and directly involved can substitute.

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 04:37 PM
Maybe, I don't think having a father in a family is bad, I just think that any male role model who is psychologically healthy and directly involved can substitute.

I haven't heard you say this before. I agree, but I think in the case of most families that's still going to be the actual father.

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 04:45 PM
It just doesn't apply to scientific studies of populations, Guybrush. The entire point of scientific studies is to find variable factors and *not* to isolate them so as to find correlations and determine causality.

I don’t really understand what you mean by this.

As a side note, the study of populations ought to be quite similar to macroeconomics. With this in mind, I find it odd that the methods beloved by analysers in the latter field—allegedly—should be unfit for use in the former field. You seem to have a very rigid view of what should be deemed ‘scientific’.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:48 PM
I don't have a narrow view of what's "scientific" at all, I'm surrounded by it every day, I was since I was a kid (my own father was an inorganic chemist). If I'm "rigid" about it, that may be because the scientific method has very rigid limitations/guidelines. (You can't just take data, interpret it however you like, and call it "science"--experiments need to be conducted with proper "controls" in place...)

I'm saying that there is no way to take away the income factor from a study of the effects of single parenthood on the general population if you want to reflect the reality of the entire population in your findings.

Guybrush
01-03-2007, 04:50 PM
I'm saying that there is no way to take away the income factor from a study of the effects of single parenthood on the general population if you want to reflect the reality of the entire population in your findings.

I agree. But the income factor is not the whole story.

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 04:55 PM
No, but it's significant, and I think a lack of resources is the most oppressive thing for low-income families and the cause of a lot of pain and discomfort and inconvenience. Being poor is demoralizing. It's indignifying. And (in the U.S.) the odds are so stacked against people like children of single mothers on welfare who live in the ghetto that it's literally a one-in-a-million chance that you'll go on to succeed if you are born in these circumstances.

Mr. Tea
01-03-2007, 05:14 PM
Every British city has what might euphemistically be called 'less desirable' areas, but I don't think we have 'ghettos' as such, like many American cities do. Where ghetto-type situations do exist, it tends to be due to immigrant populations clustering around areas where families they know already live, which is sometimes compounded by people not learning English or generally integrating. Although I think Britain is relatively well integrated* compared to a lot of countries, such as France, which has horrendous levels of segregation.


*then again, I'm talking mainly about my own experience of London here

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 05:18 PM
Most of the ghettos in the U.S. are populated by black Americans who've been here for many generations, but there are more and more hispanic ghettos and in Brooklyn we have really bad neighborhoods that aren't quite ghettos but might as well be for lots of different immigrant groups. Crown Heights is the one with mostly Atlantic islander immigrants and one of my friends who lived there was out at 3AM once (luckily in the safety of a car) and saw three men drag a dead body (stiff from rigor mortis) into the back of a van and speed off...

nomadologist
01-03-2007, 05:23 PM
this is what i've been trying to tell the, tht

Mr. Tea
02-03-2007, 11:41 AM
So money's all there is to it, then? If my mum shops at Lidl rather than Waitrose, that's a pretty good reason for me to take up a life of crime?

nomadologist
02-03-2007, 02:12 PM
no. but if she can't afford food for her kids, has to work a night shift or shitty hours and can't afford proper child care, then you have "latch-key kids" who grow up without adult supervision and don't have 24/7 guidance or even a watchful eye making sure they behave and do their homework, etc.

Mr. Tea
02-03-2007, 02:22 PM
Of course - but surely that situation is all the more likely if there's no father around?
In any case, many of the kids we're talking about (in Britain, at any rate) come from families with chronically unemployed parents, who surely have far MORE time to spend with their kids (if they want to) than working parents?

nomadologist
02-03-2007, 02:27 PM
But if they're not educated themselves, even if they're unemployed and around, they don't know how to give their kids advice that will, say, help them get into college.

and in the U.S., two minimum wage jobs can't take care of a whole family. one minimum wage job can barely feed a grown man. so no, it wouldn't be better to have a father around in that case. it would be worse on the budget

Mr. Tea
02-03-2007, 02:38 PM
If low-income jobs in America really pay that little, then that's terrible, but (once again, in the UK) I can't think of a situation in which a child would be (financially, at least) better off with one working parent rather than two. In any case, we have child support over here, which may not be loads but does at least make it easier for one parent (either one) to work while the other can stay at home to look after young kids.

nomadologist
02-03-2007, 02:45 PM
yup, sounds like you have a much better situation over there

(minimum wage, last time I checked, was $5.15/hour)

Gavin
04-03-2007, 06:58 PM
Yes, $5.15/hr is the national level, but most states have higher minimum wages. Of course, these rates are still egregiously low considering the lack of basic benefits that go along with most minimum wage jobs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_minimum_wages

Guybrush
04-03-2007, 07:10 PM
Yes, $5.15/hr is the national level, but most states have higher minimum wages. Of course, these rates are still egregiously low considering the lack of basic benefits that go along with most minimum wage jobs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_minimum_wages

This almost looks like an election map:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/State_min_wage2006_copy.jpg

What’s up with American Samoa? I heard something about shady dealings involving Nancy Pelosi, but I don’t know how reliable the information was. Does anyone know anything about that?

matt b
05-03-2007, 11:28 AM
Black pupils 'are treated worse'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6413265.stm

Gabba Flamenco Crossover
05-03-2007, 01:25 PM
Black pupils 'are treated worse'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6413265.stm

This is an obscene piece of buck-passing on the part of the DfES. For 10 years schools have been under pressure to contain thier budgets and standardise their academic performance, while thier community function has been undermined by the government's parental choice inititives. All of these things mitigate against treating children as individuals, with dire consequences for those at the bottom of the pile - not just children from minorities, as highlighted here, but white working class children, or those with special needs, mental problems, etc.

In a manufacturing enviroment, it makes no sense to keep the defective parts - they get thrown out and written off. The government has spent the last decade turning Britain's schools into academic assembly lines - and now they turn on the teachers who have been forced to adopt the logic of the asembly line, and try to blame them for stereotyping kids. It's pathetic.

The DfES has no concept of what teachers actually go through. I know several teachers and most have been involved in dismissals - without exception, they regard it as a personal and professional failure for any child under thier charge to be expelled or suspended. But if a child is posing a safety risk to other pupils and staff, or seriously damaging the learning of others through disruption in class, what choice do they have? Schools desperately want the resources to treat these cases individually, but the government won't give it to them, so they have to be excluded - moved on, filed under 'someone else's problem'. Only a DfES mandarin could seriously believe that teachers don't lose sleep over that situation.

It's absurd to compare school exclusions with police stop-and-search laws. Even post-MacPherson and De Menezes, police accountabliity is practically opaque. In a system where police can kill a man for carrying a table leg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Stanley) and get away with it, you would have no chance whatsoever of holding an individual officer to account for a stop-and search incident.

Schools, on the other hand, are regulated and inspected to within an inch of thier lives. OFSTED can perform a full inspection on any school at short notice, get access to any area of the school, comment on individual teachers, and make recommendations about school staus and funding which determine it's future. Can you imagine the shitstorm the police would kick up if the government tried to impose a similar inspection regime on them? It absolutely would not happen.

Here's a point I was going to make in response to your last post, Matt, but I didn't find the time. In a sense, OFSTED has done the job it was set up to do. There are no consistantly 'bad' schools in the UK state sector now, which is a victory for OFSTED, because in the 80s there was a genuine (though exaggerated) problem with the culture in some state schools, and their accountability to thier communities. Obviously there are still transitory management issues at individual schools, but they don't persist because government and local councils now have such sweeping powers to remove and replace senior staff, or even the entire school. So why has this had such a minimal efffect on academic polarisation along class lines (other than, arguably, to make it worse)? Because a school is only as good as it's intake. This is the deeper problem behind the superficial rhetoric of 'failing schools' that the creators of OFSTED didn't address - either because they misdiagnosed the original problem., or (more likely) they baulked at the sheer scale of it. Far easier to blame the teachers, who are close to hand and can be directly punished/controlled through thier pay packets.

If you surveyed teachers in Britain, hardly any of them would say that they spend too much time on pastorial work and assessing individual pupil's needs, and not enough on thier subjects - if they felt that way, they would be lecturers, not teachers. The overwhelming majority of teachers want to spend more time on individual care and less on assessing academic performance against universal standards. So if the government is serious about giving schools the power to operate within thier communities and work with children on individual development, it has an army of teachers willing to take thier work in that direction. What holds it back is a plain lack of political courage - because it would mean reversing the parental choice reforms that treat schools as services in a free market, and families as isolated consumer units, and it would mean ploughing a lot more taxpayers money into eduction to set up the extra-academic funtions that would be needed in schools. And as I've already said, governments are only prepared to write blank cheques to incarcerate children, not to educate them.

Even as the funding pot gets smaller, the demand on schools gets bigger: increasing immigration is putting extra pressure on schools to find translators and fund basic english classes. If the government had the vision and political courage, it could act now to set up a new breed of inner city schools that focussed on integrating the individual child, from whatever academic base or cultural background they happened to start on, into a mutually benficial multi-ethnic community with the school at it's centre. This would be a huge step in addressing the alienation behind so many of the problem currently apparent in the UK, from the south London shootings to the tube bombings. But I'm not optimistic. The DfES is stuck in a time warp of leafy grammar schools prepping tomorrow's future stars for oxbridge entrance, while the grateful proles go off to learn a useful trade, doffing thier caps as they leave - like Alan Bennett's The History Boys on permenant loop. Because if you look at the civil servants and policy advisors who make the decisions, that's overwhelmingly the background that they come from.

In case after case, from parental choice to PFI initatives like the Paddington Academy (see the spin (http://www.paddington-academy.org.uk/) ws. the reality (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2006/11/a_lost_year_of_education_for_academy_school_1.html )), the DfES panders to the imagined predudices of middle england while treating the futures of underpriviliged kids with contempt. So when those kids go off the rails, obviously, it's the teacher's fault.

Gahhh! *blood boils*

matt b
05-03-2007, 03:02 PM
OFCOM= OFSTED

(proper reply later)

Gabba Flamenco Crossover
05-03-2007, 03:08 PM
OFCOM= OFSTED

(proper reply later)

Shit yeah, got my sinister government acronyms confused! I'll edit the piece, to avoid any confusion (not just my own blushes).

matt b
05-03-2007, 06:51 PM
on the whole i'd agree- league tables in particular have led managers and (to some extent) teachers to encourage exclusion in order to make results look better. more often than not the excluded kids then have nowhere to go -due to funding cuts etc, leading to boredom, and the anti-social behaviours discussed upthread


OFSTED's powers were changed a few years ago and now almost soley focus on what goes on in the classroom during observations- they don't focus on the role of management half as much as they used to. OFTED just isn't that good- there are still some 'failing schools'- this one* has an awful reputation, although i don't know enough about it to know how much is down to management/teachers/pupils.

middle class flight from 'the local comprehensive' in certainly a big problem too

re: pastoral care (and the lack of), links to communities and 'production lines'- by the time i come into contact with students (16-19), they often consider education to be soley about gaining qualifications (e.g. 'do we need to know this for the exam?'), not about exploring the world around them or their place in it. you could argue they subliminally see themselves as little units for universities and employers to 'consume'.

however, i do think that racism exists in some classrooms- research has suggested that teachers find students most like themselves easier to teach and better students. as most teachers are middle class, this may lead to indirect discrimination against other groups.


an excellent post, btw.

*not my work, rather ridings school

Indigo
06-03-2007, 06:56 PM
I was born in London but I've grown up her in American. I was thinking of returning to England since America seems to just be going downhill. It's always been bad for black people here but it seems that England has it's fair share of problems. I guess there is no where in the world where black people can live in peace.

The excuses as to why life is hell for black people in England is the same rhetoric that I see said here in America. It's all crap. It seems that both America and England (all Europe?) are racist neo-colonial sh**ters who prefer that people of color be gone unless there is a broom to be pushed around.

owengriffiths
03-05-2007, 01:17 AM
What I can't get my head around is the easy availability of guns in English cities. You might be surprised to hear that in Northern Ireland things are qite different. Here the only ones with access to guns are paramillitaries and a few unafilliated criminals. It really isn't in the paramilitary's interests to sell guns to punters like they sell E's & coke, part of their power relies on the fact that they more or less have a monopoly over gun ownership. Clearly English crims arent playing by the same rules.

Would I be right in assuming that 10/15 years ago the only people who had guns were high level crims? Were deaths by stabbings a lot higher than they are now to account for this?

To me it seems strange that gun dealers are even about. Surely there is not much money to be made from it, given that they are expensive items sold dirt cheap, and that the courts should (in theory) throw away the key for anyone caught selling them

Mr. Tea
03-05-2007, 11:23 AM
I think guns are quite cheap 'wholesale' now, as it were - many of them come from former Soviet Bloc countries or China, and a lot of them are actually air pistols or model guns that have been converted to fire live ammo. Judging from the papers there must be a whole 'cottage industry' of gun converters in the gang world at the moment.