by Anneli Rufus
It looks like assault, even attempted murder: hard, rapid-fire punches and kicks to the head. The victims are kids. So are the perps, seen firsthand in the latest teen-entertainment sensation: YouTube fight videos.
The fights are real. One, posted last month and allegedly depicting Berkeley High School students on Dwight Way, shows some twenty kids cheering as a big guy throws a little guy to the ground, bashing his face 21 times in fewer seconds: "This is donell and trevonte fighting down the street from Berkeley High," reads the summary. "Donell is the one in the long sleeve that gave the beating and Trevonte is the one in the short sleeve who recieved the beating." As the film (now set to private) starts, a voice jubilates, "It's recording!" Girls wearing backpacks hover, excited. In the video titled "Skyline Fight," a black teen pummels a white teen. "That's how you do it," an onlooker proclaims. "My homey, that's some good shit, man."
It's always the head, so you wonder how the losers emerge with eyes, teeth, crania, and brains intact, or even alive. It's a truism that kids are cruel, but the spectators' euphoria sends chills down your back. In a video allegedly filmed at San Leandro High School last year, a female student attacks a female teacher, clasping the gray-haired woman in a headlock. In the comments section, one alleged witness writes of the teacher, "dat bitch got her ass beat." And another: "lmao ... hahaha."
The blogger who calls himself the Mayor of Claycord exposed a series of fight videos filmed at Clayton Valley High School last year and sent his discoveries to the Concord Police Department, which launched an investigation.
Race plays a big role here. This is one aspect of the whole fight-video realm that teachers and other grownups who have schooled these kids all their lives in multicultural tolerance do NOT want us to see. During a fight filmed this February at Concord's Mount Diablo High School, supporters of a black kid pummeling a Latino kid jeer, "Whoop him" and "Beat his ass." This film is titled "jameel whoops scrap." Scrap is slang for Sureño gangsters. A Vallejo teen fight is titled "fuck scraps ... im beatin that scraps ass."
Kids post comments about the videos that would make Martin Luther King Jr. cry. "DAT$ WHA$ UPP HOMiE, FUk A $CRAP," someone writes about the Vallejo fight. Another blares: "White power." The N-word abounds, in myriad contexts.
Most comments just praise assailants' ability to injure. Regarding the Berkeley High fight, someone muses: "i liked dat slam at the end, was sweet."