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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Oy! This really burns my freakin' biscuits!

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Author Topic: Oy! This really burns my freakin' biscuits!
Hot_1
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I am very comfortable with myself. I am gay, and I am proud. That's not what I have the issue with. My issue is that other people can't except. I mean, most homophobics are straight. WE may not like it, but we have to get over it now don't we? We can't do anything about it? When have you honestly ever heard about a hate crime against straights? What makes them so special that they think they have the right to persecute us? I mean, there is just no POINT behind any hate crimes. Just because other people don't like it doesn't mean that gays will see it and stop being gay. If there's no purpose in hate, than why is it still done? The ultimate fear of mine is not what people think...but what they can do. The extremes that their hate will take them. Having to worry about being beaten up in a dark alley, or driven somewhere and being murdered.
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Milke
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Just becuase my partner happens to be male doesn't mean I hate people whose sexual orientation doesn't match mine, you know. While we realise that homophobia is a serious problem, and do what we can to spread awareness of diversity and tolerance, it doesn't mean we accept gross generalisations and slaggings of any other groups, either. What might be better than just saying this is wrong would be coming up with ways to change it, don't you think?

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I'd never let you go


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PoetgirlNY
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Moving to Sexual Ethics and Politics.
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Dzuunmod
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Hot_1, your worldview kind of reminds me of the worldview of the people who write the scripts for Queer as Folk. All straight people hate gay people (or at least have all kinds of misconceptions about them). All straight people are looking out for each other, and are out to get gay people. Obviously, that's just not so. Otherwise, there wouldn't be some straight people at this Web site directing some of our GLBT traffic to GLBT community groups.

Just one other small thing, and I know you didn't mean it this way, but: there are hate crimes perpetrated all around the world everyday, against black people, against women, and against people who, in various other ways, are different from the society that surrounds them (not to say that black people and women are different from the rest of society - but you see what I'm getting at). It figures that many of those people would identify as straight.

This is just another part of the QAF worldview that gets to me: that gay people are the only ones facing struggles. Gay people have struggles, but it's always important to remember that they're not unique in that respect.

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...and we raise the white flag, so they can paint it red and blue!
-Joel Plaskett, True Patriot Love


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Hot_1:
When have you honestly ever heard about a hate crime against straights?

And to go along with what Dzuun said, I'll cite you an example. Los Angeles County Sheriffs responded to a fight-in-progress call in the primarily homosexual enclave of West Hollywood, CA a few months back. They arrived onscene to four men beating up another. The man suffered lacerations to his head and arms, and ended up being hospitalized for several days before he was ultimately released.

The motive? Straight-bashing. The four intoxicated individuals just happened to be homosexual, and just happened to feel like attacking a lone heterosexual male on the sidewalk of a quiet street. It happens. It's disgusting, but contrary to popular belief, it's not something that is limited to any particular group.

You'd be wise to remember that you've got friends and supporters of every race, ethnic group, sexual orientation, etc. When you limit yourself to an "us" vs. "them" mentality, you are no better than the narrow-minded hatemongers you so despise.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," FHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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logic_grrl
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What is true, though, is that in our society we do have a lot of straight people committing hate crimes against gay people, white against black, male against female, etc. And those are all much more common than the other way around.

Clearly, it's not because straight/white/male etc. people are all the same, all wicked, or whatever. Generalizations don't get us anywhere, and generalizing about people on the basis of their sexual orientation (or race, gender, etc.) is exactly the sort of prejudice we're trying to avoid.

But it is true that some people from socially privileged groups think that they are entitled to abuse and harass people from other groups.

quote:
if there's no purpose in hate, than why is it still done?

Maybe we could use this thread to discuss that issue (instead of generalizing about "straight people thinking they're special")?

Why do hate crimes occur, and what can we as individuals do to fight hate and bigotry in our society?


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Milke
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It's worth considering, when analyzing statistics, whether the sources can ever truly be considered representative of people as a whole. It's true that certain crimes appear much more prominent than others because only a percentage of injustices committed will ever be reported.

A crime is a crime, regardless of who the victim is, regardless of why. It's not okay to launch an attack on anyone, whoever they are. In much the same way that rape/sexual assault are still the same whether committed on a stranger or someone's spouse, murder and battery are always murder and battery. Is it fair to consider something a 'hate crime' only when it's perpetrated on certain groups of people?

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF

Ask me, I won't say no, how could I?

[This message has been edited by Milke (edited 06-18-2003).]


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Confused boy
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I agree. I sure George Orwell would have laughed if he heard the term "Hate crime." Attempting to prosecute people on grounds of intent is laudable but doing so on grounds of motivation is rather worrying.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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logic_grrl
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I agree, there's no reason to think that a violent crime committed because someone doesn't like your sexual orientation is inherently any worse than the same crime committed because they don't like your hairstyle. Either way, the victim ends up hurt.

But what is clear is that a lot of violence does happen because some people consider themselves entitled to make unprovoked attacks on strangers simply on the grounds of their orientation/race/gender/whatever. And there's also a sorry record of police and criminal justice systems often failing to treat such crimes seriously, or blaming the victims for "provoking" it.

If that hate was tackled, those crimes just wouldn't happen. And that's surely why it's important to fight hate crimes.

It's not about saying "hey, don't beat people up for being gay - find other equally stupid and senseless reasons for beating them up instead and we'll be happy!" .


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Heather
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Well, yes and no.

I'd say that all violent crime is, in effect, hate crime. And I'd say that the motivation for most intentional violence is hate. I'm not sure why it's a problem to look at that, because I think we should, very deeply.

And xenophobia -- be it about race, gender, national origin, orientation or religion -- is a serious issue and problem in our culture -- in some ways it always has been, and at the root of an awful lot of crime. Pinpointing that as a motivating factor is important in my mind both so we can address it rather than pretend it doesn't exist, and because it becomes especially important legally when a person who commits a xenophobic crime is someone in a position of power.

Criminally, motivation isn't just a factor with hate crimes. Greater punishment is suggested, for instance, when one kills someone for profit than when they do not.

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
Pinpointing that as a motivating factor is important in my mind both so we can address it rather than pretend it doesn't exist...

While I'd agree that it's important we realize that hatred of a specific group is important to recognize and combat, I'm not a big fan of hate-crimes legislation at all.

My problem isn't with the intent, it's with the mechanics. I have issues with how we divide ourselves up. I don't like the fact that certain groups of people are arbitrarily picked and chosen for certain things, be them affirmative action policies, Jim Crow laws, state-sponsored apartheid, or hate crimes legislation. It's just one of those things that irks me because in my little ideal world, we're all human and that is all that matters. Rather than splintering ourselves off into little cliques, I do wish we'd somehow be able to celebrate the fact that deep down, we're all composed of the same darned stuff.

It's a dreamworld, sure. But I can't help holding out hope that it'll be there someday.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," FHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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Confused boy
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I suppose "hate crimes" are just meant to be a temporary measure, just like affirmative action, to use on the way to making that wonderful world where there are no biases to try and balance out. However, they are still far from ideal justice.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Heather
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I see where you're coming from Dan, and I agree. Heck, I'd like the same utopia.

But I don't see calling crimes of hate for what they are as neccessarily standing counter to that. And I'm not sure that has to be about certain groups, save where the criminal makes it about certain groups. For instance, having been violently sexually attacked early in my life simply for being female (and possibly a white female) by a group of young black men doesn't demonize either group in pointing that out, does it?

For example, I think very few of us would say that the lynchings of blacks pre-civil-rights was not about hate and xenophobia and that pointing that out isn't important. And I find the fact that almost no one who committed those crimes was ever charged beyond apalling. Were they charged, I don't see how with that sort of crime, motivation cannot come into play, because for starters, in sentencing, it's going to be important to realize that the person who committed that act will likely continue to do so unless he suddenly wakes up one morning and it's racist and violent, the same way that unless a serial rapist finds a way to stop hating women, he's going to keep on raping.

Do you see what I'm saying? I do think there's a middle ground between the extremes where we can be upfront about the why of crimes being committed and look at that when prosecuting without furthering some of what caused them in the first place.


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Confused boy
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But surely your example demonstrates that "hate crimes" only come into existence in order to patch up a justice system that was blatently failing several portions of the population. If the laws were enforced fairly, there would be no need of them.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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logic_grrl
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But the only way of remedying those failures is to ensure that "hate crimes" are at least recorded as a separate category, so that when the justice system is failing to tackle them and failing to protect particular groups, we know about it and can address it.

Whether it's a good idea to legally establish automatically higher sentences for crimes if they are deemed to be "hate crimes" (as was suggested at one point in the UK, I believe), I don't know, although I agree with Heather's point that motives should be taken into account when sentencing.

But I think the value of recording hate crimes as a separate category for purposes of measurement and analysis is pretty indisputable.


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Milke
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The only problem is that police often do already keep track of who commits what crimes against whom; if you've ever heard of 'racial profiling', you'll have some idea how that works. It also happens to be something a lot of people have problems with. Would you consider it fair to find yourself considered more suspect than someone else simply because of the colour of your skin, or your sex? A lot of black men who get pulled over simply because they are black men, just as an example, don't. The Toronto Star actually took on TO's PD on this issue some time ago, and found that the vast majority of the city's inhabitants were really bothered by such practices.

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF

Ask me, I won't say no, how could I?


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Heather
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Yet what we're looking at with hate crimes is the opposite, isn't it?

The perpetrator is not being profiled, their victim is because that victim was "selected" for violence on a criteria sought out by the perp.


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
But I don't see calling crimes of hate for what they are as neccessarily standing counter to that.

Sure, you can call them what they are, but how do you arrive at that? As it stands now, we've got "protected classes" of people to whom those laws apply. Included among protected classes are racial and ethnic minorities, members of the LGBT community, religious minorities, and the newest club members, adults-of-advanced-age (legislature can't agree if age discrimination should start at 40 or 50 or what).

What this means is that if a 25-year-old heterosexual Caucasian guy walking down the street in West Hollywood gets attacked by four belligerent men, it is not a hate crime even when proof exists that the attack was motivated strictly upon hatred of that person's sexual orientation, skin color, age, etc.

And I, for one, have a serious problem with that. Aside from the fact that I'm not sure it's Constitutionally sound (14th Amendment? Equal Protection Clause, anyone?), it just seems plain wrong to afford certain rules to certain groups of people and deny them to others. I thought this was the case when I read about Jim Crow laws as a youth, and I think it's wrong now that the shoe is on the other foot.

If we're going to have hate crimes legislation, my feeling is that we oughta do them right. Make it so any attack which is motivated explicitly on the basis of some form of xenophobia is a hate crime and is registered as such. But this Animal Farm nonsense of "all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others" just rubs me the wrong way, and I think it's a big step in the wrong direction.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," FHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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Heather
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I'd absolutely agree with you on all of that, Dan. Without question.
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Milke
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How is one legally defined as part of the GLBT community? How can you prove someone's sexual orientation so it'll stand up in court -- and how can you tell, say, if someone you're about to mug sleeps with boys or girls? These aren't rhetorical questions.

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF

Ask me, I won't say no, how could I?


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Heather
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Why would you need to prove someone's orientation in court in terms of hate crime?

If the victim of a hate crime was selected because of their orientation or assumed orientation, whether they are or they aren't makes no difference: it's that the perp decided they were. And the perpetrator's orientation (or race, or what have you) is irrelevant. Even were they a member of the same group they're attacking (and it's happened before), if the crime was motivated in whole or in part by their xenophobia, it's a hate crime, no?

How can someone tell if who they're about to attack is gay or lesbian? Again, I'm not sure why you're asking, but, of course, they can't. The issue again is that that sort of perpetrator is motivated to commit a crime based on their idea or belief that the person is such, and is whatever being so represents to them.


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emsily0
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you would have to prove someone's orientation in court to prove it was a hate crime, because if the victim is not GBLT then they would not be in one of the protected groups. the perpetrator would presumably not admit to choosing a victim based on their perceived sexual orientation in this case, because that would make it a hate crime, which would be worse in the eyes of the law

in this way, it's not really the perp's motivations, but their chosen victim that determines whether it's a hate crime.

see? the problem is the ways these laws can be twisted. motivations are very hard to legislate. it seems to me that hatred is hatred is hatred, and all violent crime is hate crime, regardless of the victim's group. i'm not sure there should be a special legal category for it, because it's too hard to legislate.

em

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Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk - real straight talk about souls - for life is holy and every moment is precious. I heard the Denver and Rio Grande locamotive howling off in the mountains. I wanted to pursue my star further. -Kerouac


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