Nearly four years ago an Oakland high school student set fire to the skirt of an agender teen asleep on an AC Transit bus. Author Dashka Slater tells the story of the collision of these two students’ lives in her book, “The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives.”

Guests:
Dashka Slater,
author, “The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

A Tale of Two Oaklands Colliding on ‘The 57 Bus’ 26 October,2017Michael Krasny

  • geraldfnord

    This piece:
    http://www.spectacle.org/0802/hogan.html
    …—it speaks well to the psychopathology of oppression’s including extreme social and religious conservatism.

    (Please ignore the incendiary title—“Oppressed people suck”: the author was trying to shock a milieu in which being oppressed were deemed equivalent to virtue, and the Web can infect nearly anyone with trollery. As Mr Spick once said whilst petting a tribble, ‘I, if course, am immune.’. )

  • Ben Rawner

    This event was not so surprising. Drive 1/2 hour outside the Bay Area and there is bigotry via rebel flags and racially divided communities. Within the Bay Area, if you talk to people in poor neighborhoods, the homophobia is palpable in word choices and attitudes. More education is the solution, but you have to want to be in school to learn.

    • Livre DeVisage

      This was INSIDE the Bay Area, carried out by a member of a group that itself complains (often justly) about far less horrific acts of discrimination. Hatred is EVERYWHERE, and we have a President and a Ruling Party that ENCOURAGE it.

      • Ben Rawner

        Many of the people I have met in the perpetrator’s community are quite homophobic. At the same time many are not. But being surprised about this is to be ignorant of the world they live in. Trump wasn’t president yet. This was 4 years ago. Hate is always there. It just needs a push.

        • Livre DeVisage

          Ben – I agree. Often one group that is oppressed or discriminated against shows little or no empathy for another. Doesn’t make THEIR oppressors any less despicable, just makes them less sympathetic when they act as oppressors themselves. And of course people are individuals. We find tolerance and intolerance in every group. Today, we have a President who encourages the intolerant and discourages the tolerant, and we must do our best to resist that for as long as we are burdened with this dangerous buffoon.

  • Another Mike

    Without blaming the victim, I am surprised that an agendered teen would wear gendered clothing — a skirt — instead of a genderless pair of slacks.

    • Hitori

      Clothing in and of itself is not gendered. In various cultures men and women wear clothing that could be called a “skirt.” A person can wear whatever clothing item they choose.

      • Another Mike

        We don’t live in “various cultures,” and there is no suggestion that the victim belonged to an immigrant or ancestral culture where skirts were universally worn. In North America, skirts are women’s wear.

        • Hitori

          If we’re talking about the gendering of clothing in North America, not that long ago pants were gendered as appropriate for men and not for women. The opinion of current society on what clothing is appropriate for whom and when and where is fluid and ever changing. And in any case, a person can wear whatever clothing item they choose.

          • William – SF

            Yup. Seems to me people wear whatever pleases them. I’m not convinced a skirt is women’s wear anymore than I’m convinced slacks are not identifiable as menswear.

          • Another Mike

            You know who I miss? The Naked Guy. Now there was a guy with his own sense of what type of clothing pleased him.

          • William – SF

            The NYC Times Square (not-so) naked guy? I can’t recall a Bay Area naked guy, and likely the image would have been pruned from my brain.

          • Another Mike

            First Lady Pat Nixon wore slacks in public a quarter-century before Sasha was born. The favored attire of the woman who hoped to shatter the highest glass ceiling of all was the pantsuit. Here, in America USA, slacks are worn equally by any gender, while skirts are not.

          • Hitori

            Yes, and a quarter-century before Pat Nixon was born, pants were considered menswear. Now they are considered appropriate for any gender, as you said. Clothing norms change, even now.

            More to the point, I’m surprised that you were surprised that a teenager who does not conform to society’s expectations of binary gender further did not conform to your expectations of gendered clothing.

          • Another Mike

            Yes, now I see that Sasha Fleischman was born into the world of the 1880s. Why? I suppose his parents are some sort of urban Amish. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

            No. I was surprised that an agendered teen would wear gendered clothing — a skirt — instead of a genderless pair of slacks. To me it was is if Richard Dawkins would choose to wear a crucifix around his neck.

          • Hitori

            That analogy is not apt. Being agender and being atheist are not comparable. If you think they are, I can see why you are surprised. Have a good one.

  • Livre DeVisage

    I’m sick of hearing how “damaged” these people are. Setting another human being on fire for nothing more than amusement is sociopathic and deeply evil. Put him away as a criminal, put him away as mentally ill, I don’t care. Just put him away FOREVER.

  • darqmyth

    Restorative Justice? This young man set another human being on fire for no good reason. How does Restorative Justice protect the next person he may take exception with.

    • Livre DeVisage

      I’d say he set another human being on fire for no BAD reason either. Some acts of violence are explicable even if they are unjustified. This one is either pure evil or the most extreme level of sociopathy ever. Either way, the perpetrator needs to be kept away from society until the end of his days.

      • darqmyth

        You are so right.Compassion has a place in justice but compassion is not all of justice. You can feel badly for a perpetrator that has mental issues but that can’t outweigh the other parts of justice, protection and punishment.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Touching indeed!

    What can one do? What can anyone do?

    Teaching all children, from a young age, in a civic way, in public as well as private schools: the simple, profound difference between good will and ill will — and how it affects everything.

  • Kepler34380

    If this were a white person lighting a black person on fire, would there be the same compassion?

  • William – SF

    Can you talk to brain development of teenagers? Is the teenager person going to be the same person in their 20s, 30s, ..?

  • Kathy

    Teenagers don’t always understand or forsee the results of their actions. When I was a teenager, I knew two kids who lit themselves on fire by accident because they didn’t understand what could happen when playing with or lighting a fire.

  • shondi

    The pronouns are He and She. Sasha, once he is now she. She. Period. Seems so belittling…. Childish. Anything but refer to her as she. Their judgment inherent and apparent.

    It is ironic that more time is spent on these enhancements than actual murder trial. Justice is served fairly and timely. Instead justice must wait until these matters of legislation are clear. By making these cases special, they become spectacle and the crime an aside.

    If we as a society handle such crimes in this way, we can in the least be expeditious about it.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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