At the risk of sounding too much like one of the most annoying people to ever exist on YouTube, I have to stand on my soapbox and rant about something: leave Raven alone.
As many of you know, Raven-Symone is my spirit animal. She is the inspiration for my blog and the way I live my life, with no fucks given and a little bit of pizzazz in my day-to-day. Ever since she’s been on The View, she’s been on the out-of-control side, but I firmly believe that she still has her head on straight. She speaks her mind, hasn’t gotten involved in drugs, alcohol, or disobeying the law, and she’s just electric.
Recently, this viral video of a police officer, or “school resources officer” manhandled a young girl who was repeatedly told to put away her cell phone, literally flipping her upside down, tossing her across the room and cuffing her. On the view, Raven-Symone had this response:
And the Internet exploded, mostly with hate.
Frankly, I think that everyone just needs to calm the eff down. In the above video, Raven says two very true things. First, “there’s no rhyme or reason for him to be doing this type of harm, that’s ridiculous,” and then, “you gotta follow the rules in school.” And for some reason, everyone immediately jumped to the conclusion that Raven was defending the officer for what he did.
But that’s not at all what I heard Raven say.
I heard Raven tell me that two wrongs don’t make a right, which is very true. Everything she said is true, and I think that she has the story completely right: one, excessive force is bad, and two, children and teenagers need to obey the rules of their schools. Having been a teacher and a student, I’ve been on both sides of this debate over cell phone usage in school. I didn’t get a cell phone until seventh grade, and it was one of those old-style Nokia phones which maybe had Znake on it, and during class, I had no reason to use it. Even still, as a college student, I don’t use my phone in class. When I do absentmindedly have it on my desk and it vibrates, I turn fifty shades of embarrassment, even though nobody really cares because it’s college and it’s 2015 and these kinds of things happen. But in high school, what could be that urgent that you need your phone in class, and on top of that, you choose to flout the teacher when they instruct you to put it away? This type of behavior in schools is symptomatic of the “student is always right and can do whatever he/she wants” mentality that our society is doing nothing to control or combat. Above all, high schoolers are by and large minors, and as such, have to listen to the teachers.
As a teacher, I generally do not allow cell phone use in my class. The only time I do is when I have a video clip to show; since my room does not have a projector, I email the link to my students who then watch in on their phones, with me, in class (which is actually kind of fun). When I was an undergrad TA at UMass, one of my students was actually having a conversation on her phone during class, and had to be told several times by us to stop. And it was annoying. Not worth being tackled, but extremely annoying and disrespectful to the rest of the students and the learning environment.
Then, there’s the issue of surveillance. Something tells me that there is much more to the story than we (Raven included) are being fed. For one thing, it is clearly being recorded from multiple angles, meaning other students had their phones out too. That strikes me as having an element of provocation, and a bit of voyeurism on the part of the students. Documentation of these incidents is important, but there is clearly something else going on in the background. As with many stories, there is more to it.
But I’ve gone on long enough. The issue notwithstanding, I firmly believe that what Raven-Symone said was completely appropriate and true. She was commenting on two different issues at the same time, a concept around which many people on the Internet can’t manage to wrap their minds, instead opting to yell at her, demean her, and call her a crazy lady. I wish I could reach through my computer and give Raven a hug, because she speaks the truth, no matter how anyone chooses to interpret it.