How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mizzy?
Bored little boys with nowhere to go: the great class cage
There’s something almost LaHaineian about the moment Bacari-Bronze O’Garro was arrested. A wide eyed, effeminate little face stares confusedly down the pointed camera, his silly hat pulled down over his prominent ears. He looks like he’s going to cry as his petite arms are fastened behind his back. In that moment, Bacari is a little boy. A child. A child realising this time, mummy is really going to take his toys away. Except, this is far more serious.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to make excuses for him. He’s an idiot. I don’t endorse his disgusting behaviour towards women, his harassment of his neighbours, his abuse of elderly people, or his mockery and physical attacks on Orthodox Jewish people. He’s a little twat, to engage with the lingua of my flatmate. But he is little. And that little boy is a big problem.
Mizzy wants attention. He wants to be looked at. He wants to be significant, worthy, noticed. Like a child standing on the bouncy castle begging daddy to watch him jump, he craves mattering. He craves importance. He is naughty because he wants attention. That’s nothing unusual in itself: I think we can all relate to being tearful or tearaways when we felt insecure, anxious, or stressed as children. The naughtiest children I’ve ever met, whether ten or teenagers, have always been the ones terrified of abandonment. They test you: test whether you’ll abandon them, test whether you’ll give up on them, test whether you’ll be unreliable or angry when they go to far. Mizzy reeks of being an ignored child. A child ignored by society, by school, and by the system. A child scared of going nowhere and being nothing as the reality of no job, no degree, and no way out dawns over the council estates of Hackney.
As he steps out of school and into adulthood, he’s discovering that grown ups don’t get detention. Grown ups don’t get bad reports from cross teachers. No wonder this kid hasn’t got a job: he’s not an adult. He’s a child; with all the self control, discipline, and emotional awareness of one. I’m not one of those people who believes you magically become a grown up on your eighteenth birthday; some of us are children for fifteen years, some of us are children for twenty. Mizzy, with his…