going (going) back (back) to (to) cala (basas)

April 27, 2011

photo via KTLA

After leaving the insular world of the San Fernando Valley behind more than six years ago, comes this report that current students at one of my old high schools (I went to four) spray painted anti-Semitic and overall racist  images and words across campus walls, doors and signs.

No, this was not at North Hollywood or El Camino, both of which are highly diverse (ElCo less so) Los Angeles Unified high schools, but at Calabasas, a school more affectionately known as Cala-black-less due to its low African-American population (the five that were students when I was there included Jermaine Jackson’s skater son Jeremy and rapper Mack 10’s football-playing son).

When deputies arrived onto the scene, they found that the vandalism was in fact Nazi Swastikas as well as a picture of Hitler and the words “whites only,” “gas chamber,” and the names “Walker” and “Camacho,” reportedly names of teachers, according to the statement.

The students claim that it wasn’t a hate crime against any race in particular, but that they were trying to “get back” at students and teachers who had wronged them during the year, but it doesn’t seem to help their case that the school is notorious for being mostly full of rich Jewish kids, this week is the holy week of Passover and a Holocaust survivor was set to speak at the school next week.

I can understand the simmering rage against teachers and students since the majority of the kids that I met while there weren’t really people I would want to encounter in the real world (if they even make it there) and lord knows that Mrs. Camacho was the stick-up-her-ass 20-something math teacher that failed me in Algebra II (forcing me to take summer school), but the manifestation of that anger is still puzzling to me. “White’s only” under a swastika next to a drinking fountain? Are they trying to keep the school’s few black kids away from the shorter drinking fountain or are they trying to insinuate that Jews are black?  Either way, this looks on the outset like the work of a few non-Jewish stoner-punk kids (we were a rare breed at Calabasas), but the reports said they all had 4.0 GPAs, which just furthers my confusion. If they hate everyone, why don’t they just transfer to another high school and never talk to the catty anorexic girls or wannabe ska kids again like I did?

P.S. Speaking of anti-Semitism, there is apparently a measure to ban circumcision that is set to hit the San Francisco ballot in November, citing it as “genital mutilation.” Men are chanting “Let boys keep their foreskin!” but who wants that nasty old thing? Certainly not your future sexual partners. Are we really this ignorant?

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