The Remarkable Difference In Use of the Word Hate

The Remarkable Difference In Use of the Word Hate

In April of 2005, a group of 5 black girls attacked another group of girls in Marine Park, Brooklyn.  While doing so, they called them “cracker” and “white bitches,” yelled “Martin Luther King” and so on.  The attack was brutal leaving many of the girls to miss school for days.  The local media outlets barely reported on the story, and the one that did seem to find it even a little interesting was the New York Post, but as is usually the case, they had to report on the beating in the context of a few letters to the editor of a local Brooklyn paper that no one actually reads.

“Anyone stupid enough to invoke the name of Martin Luther King – the modern-day model for tolerance and nonviolence – while stomping a helpless victim needs to be slapped with something more than a simple assault charge.

But there should also be some outrage over a newspaper that would wallow in the racial mud by printing letters that tell blacks to go “back to Africa.”

At least the troublemakers who started the fight in the park were juveniles who can hide, to some degree, behind their youth.

But the race-card-playing publishers who gambled that prejudice would boost their newspaper were presumably adults.

They should know better.”

Like most of the reports on the incident at the time, the paper could not bring itself to simply criticize the girls who attacked and leave it at that.  Instead, they had to find some way to make them victims as well.  So goes the story of hate crimes in New York.  In fact, so ridiculous are the application of “hate crime” statutes in New York City that it took the NYPD a year to declare that this beating was in fact a hate crime, and they did so only after enormous amounts of political pressure from the families who in turn pressured local politicians to get it done.

One year.

In contrast, the NYPD Bias Crimes Unit is often on TV the night of similar cases where the races of the victims and perpetrators are reversed proclaiming to the black community, often led by some local loudmouth like Al Sharpton, how they will not tolerate these types of crimes and how they will find the perpetrators and bring them to justice immediately.  From the second a scratch befalleth a black victim in New York City, the Bias Crimes Unit is involved and it’s up to the white perpetrator to prove that they did not, in fact, commit their crime based on race.

A stupid concept, for sure.

Hate crimes are stupid in general.  The idea that anyone commits a crime with anything but hate in their heart is ludicrous, so in reality, all a hate crime statute accomplishes is sending a message that some lives are more important than others.  The idea of a hate crime is that there’s a certain “extra malice” in a crime that needs to be punished additionally if someone is motivated by race, gender orientation, or any other protected group status.

And, as if the stupidity of hate crimes aren’t overtly obvious, there’s the additional angle of the application thereof.  If you attack a white person and you’re black, there’s a pretty good chance that, in spite of the fact that it could be racially motivated, you will almost always get the benefit of the doubt, as the perpetrators did in this case.  Can you imagine it taking a year for a crime to be declared a hate crime if the victim were black and the perpetrator were white?

If you really want to see New York City’s head explode, have two protected classes attack each other.  In 2013, there was a story of a vicious beating in Chelsea of a gay couple.  It was huge news.  Then they found one of the attackers.  He was a young black man.  All of a sudden, the zeal for hate crime charges subsided.  Why?  Because the hate crime pusher crowd hates it when it isn’t a white male being hit with the scarlet letter of a hate crime.

Further evidence of this reluctance to brand protected groups as even possible of committing a hate crime can be found throughout New York Newspapers.  Recently, a man was arrested for shooting people in Central Park with a pellet gun while yelling “Fuck you, you fucking white bitch” and “Fuck white people.”  How did Gothamist, for example, report it?



Note the scare quotes around “Anti-White”?

And that wasn’t the first time they used them.  In the original story before the arrest:


They just couldn’t bring themselves to commit.

Even though the NYPD properly started investigating it as a hate crime, the idea that something even could be “anti-white” required scare quotes.  It isn’t “really” anti-white.  It just “appears” that way.  Think about the times you use those quotes around terms and what you’re saying when you do.

So the question now becomes “Well, how do we fix it, then?”  Well, the answer is simple.  We abolish the idea of hate crimes legislation altogether.  If we want to make a claim that all lives are equal, then we can’t value some under the law more than we value others.  Assault is assault. Murder is murder.  If I yell “nigger” as I shoot a black man to death, he isn’t “more dead.”  He’s still dead.  And I’m still a piece of garbage for doing it and I should go to jail.

The law needs to be simple and equal, not complex and varying.  It can’t be subjective, and it certainly can’t be as randomly applied as the various hate crime statutes are around the country.  If the law is not consistent, then it is not the law. Hate crime legislation is well-intentioned, but as with most well-intentioned things, it has gone off the rails into creating a multi-tiered justice system which doesn’t serve any good purpose at all.

Header image via Longislandwins on Flickr

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