Outsiders Introduction (1 of 9) by Steve Jones
This content is part of a series.Outsiders Introduction (1 of 9)
Series: The Outsiders
Introduction: Do you remember the social hierarchy in the high school cafeteria? You sat at tables according to your social status. You had the jocks, the brains, the nerds, the skateboarders, the preppies, etc. These groups were in a definite hierarchy but even being on the lowest rung was better than being in no group at all because no one wanted to be an outsider. The worst thing you could do was to ''mess with the status quo.'' This experience was captured and put to song in Disney's ''High School Musical'' (play YouTube clip).
The reason I mention this is because it illustrates the powerful desire that we all have to belong. We want to belong to that inner circle. We want to be an insider, not an outsider. This desire is so powerful it can be dangerous.
In 2011 Florida A&M University, FAMU, had one of the most prestigious college bands in the country. They had played at Super Bowls, the Grammy Awards and at presidential inaugurations. Robert Champion had dreamed of playing in the marching 100 ever since watching them perform at a game while he was in elementary school. After trying out twice for the band, Champion was invited to join. In 2011, just after performing at a football game in November, Champion collapsed on the school's charter bus. He died a few hours later at an Orlando hospital. Champion had taken part in a rite of passage called ''Crossing Bus C'' just before he died. Crossing Bus C is an initiation process in which band members attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back, while being punched, kicked and otherwise assaulted by senior band members. Hazing of all kinds has thrived for decades at Tallahassee-based FAMU and other universities despite extensive efforts to stop it, say school officials. Even with the serious injuries and deaths that have occurred over the years at FAMU and elsewhere, the culture of hazin ...
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