I don’t know about you, but I am SO over this notion of “no snitching.” I hear it every day from students, “Ms. Nu-Man, I’m no snitch”. While students profess their ability to keep their mouths shut, I can’t help but think how incredibly DUMB they sound. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand not snitching comes from a street code. It’s historically a badge of honor to be known as a person that will keep your mouth shut when the cops come around. However, my middle schoolers are not Tony Montana, aka Scarface, and more importantly, do not have a clue about what it means to be “gangsta.” They are just perpetuating the same ignorance and nonsense they hear within their community, social media, cinema, etc. There is no real thought or purpose by their choice to “not snitch,” everyone else is doing it, so they follow suit.
Now before you give me the side eye and negate this entire post, hear me out. Just check out this image below.
Now is this an appropriate message to preserve? That once you essentially relay information to someone, that may be unfavorable to a few, you are now a traitor who will be hated? So, lets’ say a student witnessed another student being abused or harmed, should they not inform an adult for fear of being viewed as a snitch? Or while walking in the streets, you witness another person being robbed, or attacked, should you ignore the situation and keep walking by because it is not your business and after all, you are “no snitch.” Or as a teacher, I suspect a student is being neglected at home or abused, and by law, I am a mandated reporter, should I just set that responsibility aside because “everyone hates a snitch.”?
Hopefully, at this point, you are chuckling to yourself, because you can see how utterly ridiculous it would be to ignore such events. However, at my school, this type of foolishness is occurring. A few days ago, a young girl was assaulted by two male peers. They took belts and beat her, groped her body and threatened to rape and kill her if she reported them. To make matters worse, this was done in front of a handful of other students, and no one came to her defense or spoke up to authorities for fear of being labeled a snitch.
What’s my point? CONTEXT IS DECISIVE. Students’ understanding of what a snitch is, IS in fact warped. How this term is used, in our everyday vernacular is misleading and in many cases harmful to student development and maturity. Jamie Masten has written a compelling article called, “Ain’t No Snitches Ridin’ Wit’ Us”: How Deception in the Fourth Amendment Triggered the Stop Snitching Movement. Although the focus of this work is on the impact of citizens within inner cities not relaying pertinent information to the police, it’s still relevant to what I am pointing to. I encourage you to click on the hyperlink and check it out for yourself. Then share your thoughts below about the Stop Snitching Movement. Are you for it or against it? I’d like to know.