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Hate Crime
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Below are the 5 most recent journal entries recorded in Hate Crime's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006
8:19 am
Iraqi Killings
Some of you may have read this post already. This is an interesting case. Technically the police did not commit a crime, much less a hate crime - these are the gray areas of "human rights violations" where we disagree with the horrible behavior of people in other countries but can't do a whole lot about it.

It's not surprising, since Iraq has a lot of history in the area of killing people for belonging to one category or another. I don't know if they stone single mothers like they do in Nigeria, but with or without Saddam Hussein the Iraqis are completely willing to terminate your rights if you violate their sensibilities, be it through behavior, appearance, or language.

Maybe the term "hate crime" isn't used broadly enough. Maybe we need to recognize that hate is a driving force in almost all forms of violence.
Sunday, May 7th, 2006
11:15 am
Slow horrible death
This crime has always chilled me to the bone. I didn't realize at the time that James Byrd's throat was cut before he was dragged to his death. Someone could not commit that monstrous an act without having a real sickness, an incredible amount of hatred, and a large capacity for violence. "Sociopath" comes to mind. It's certainly as horrific as anything you hear from World War II or Iraq or Serbia.

Why is it that this level of hatred is so often inspired by religion, orientation, and race? Why aren't these crimes as often found to be solely political? I know it also happens in families and other close, intimate situations, but it seems that bigotry is an incredibly efficient fan for the flames of hatred.

I am nominating the death of James Byrd for the Murder Hall of Shame, which I just created in my head as I type.
Friday, April 28th, 2006
10:01 am
Rock Against Racism
Rock Against Racism is an annual event at New Paltz College. Culture is headlining and speaking will be Cliff Thornton and Rev. Kenneth Glasgow. It's free and open to the public, and this time of year the weather is pretty likely to be great.

Any other events going on?
Sunday, April 23rd, 2006
12:03 pm
Day of Silence
The Day of Silence is a student protest designed to draw attention to the bullying of students for reasons of orientation and the like. It occurs in schools, and didn't exist when I was a student. I probably would not have participated anyway, being that I was fearful as a student. I was not in fear of literal physical punishment; rather, I feared that rejection of my peers that I was certain would occur were I to be revealed as not being heterosexual. For me, the bullying did not need to manifest to be real in my mind.

I'm interested in knowing if anyone has participated in, or plans to participate in, the Day of Silence, and if that participation was based upon a personal experience with bigotry or hatred, or perhaps with the experience of someone close to you. What was the reaction of others to your silence? Would you do it again?
Friday, April 21st, 2006
9:03 am
I was surprised that there isn't a community (that I could find) that's dedicated to hate crimes. I don't consider myself an expert on the topic, thankfully, but I've been touched by it enough that I think there's a need for more discussion.

Back in the fall I attended a wedding. This is the entry from my own journal:

Friday night at the rehearsal dinner one of the bridesmaids and I ended up chatting with the older brother of the flower girl. He likes a lot of the same kinds of movies as I do, was looking forward to dancing at the wedding, fairly articulate kid or maybe ten or eleven years. Later that night I brought the groom back to the hotel that all the non-locals were staying at, and the boy's mother asked our help; the girl had managed to get the boy stuck in the closet. I unstuck the door, and the boy and girl, both teary-eyed, were able to settle down for the night.

Wedding itself was wonderful but the reception started out kind of weak. I requested "It's Raining Men" because I like it and I knew the women would dance which would, at some point, get the men to dance. I think there actually was another guy on the floor for that song.

Maybe three hours later I was sitting down, resting for a bit, when I found a fist driving itself into my gut. I looked up to find the father of the boy I had befriended the night prior, drunk and angry, fist still clenched. I was shocked, but not terribly hurt. He said to me, "Don't you ever look at my kid like that again!" and stumbled off. I composed myself and got up to rejoin a friendly crowd.

The rest of the reception was ruined for me - I had been attacked, labeled a pedophile, and gay-bashed! I didn't mention it to anyone and the two bridesmaids who asked about it (the bride's mother had witnessed the attack and they had heard secondhand about it) I simply informed I wasn't doing to dwell on it. But dwell I did. My stomach was tight for at least two days. I don't feel like I can express my rage to my friends because the accusation was so despicable that I have an unreasoning fear that someone might wonder if this asshole wasn't right. It's like the question, "Are you still beating your wife?" You can't defend against the accusation of committing a thought crime, and even trying to makes you look guilty. So here I am, with this anger and helplessness and feeling of violation just sitting here on me.

I am obviously a very naive person, and have learned that for all the progress the world has made, I cannot always be comfortable in my own skin without being wary. The fact that this fear and apprehension is a good idea just fills me with rage! I am still stunned that this happened, and even now the details are growing muddy in my mind, leaving me only with the horror.

So I've thought about that incident off and on since. I was certainly the victim of a crime - likely a misdemeanor, I'm told, for the level of the assault. And I was victimized because a drunken sot decided he knew what I was thinking, and that he should punish me for the thoughts he imagined I have.

I did not press charges. Had I done so, I likely could have gotten him in more trouble were it prosecuted as a hate crime. But should it have been? Even though his words could be used as evidence that he was biased, how is that different than his judgment of me for his perception of my actions? Shouldn't he be punished for what he did, not why he did it? If he had applied that principle, he never would have attacked me, since I never acted inappropriately.

I'm searching for the proper place to draw the line in the sand.

Current Mood: thoughtful
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