stopping hate

I wish my motivation for a non-writing-related post were more cheerful.

Came across two things today. The more recent is this post about a murder that took place not too far from where I live. A couple of guys spent literally hours beating a man to death, dragging him out into the middle of nowhere, leaving him to die, then coming back to find and shoot him, and so far their defense for this has been “he was gay.” Which he wasn’t. But his actual orientation is in a sense irrelevant; what’s relevant is that it’s being claimed as a justification, that Indiana has not passed any anti-hate-crime legislation, and that this story has been buried. Almost nobody reported on it when it happened. Not nationally; not locally. Just a couple of smaller, more independent papers. But when a ten-year-old girl was killed, it made news everywhere.

Turning to gender, I’m sure many of you read Joss Whedon’s . . . I don’t want to call it a rant, or a diatribe, because those words invite you to dismiss his words as undirected anger. Nor was it a manifesto, per say. His post — a bland word — about Dua Khalil, a young Iraqi woman who was beaten to death in a so-called “honor killing,” and about how spectators stood around and filmed her death on their cellphones, doing nothing to try and stop it. (Those videos are online. I have not gone looking for them. I’m sure you can find them if you try.) Skyla Dawn Cameron and others are putting together a charity anthology of essays, short stories, poetry, artwork — anything relevant to the issues Whedon raised, regarding misogyny and violence against women. I don’t think they’ve specified yet which charity the proceeds will go to, but it’s not for profit.

I figure both of these are issues near and dear to the hearts of some of my readership here. Both links contain information on how you can take action. If you’re an Indiana resident, you can particularly help out with the Hall case. Either way, I hope these efforts can do at least a little bit of good.

0 Responses to “stopping hate”

  1. d_c_m

    The men who did the beatings should go to jail for life for killing someone out of total brutality and obviously not in self-defense. Jerks.

  2. wadam

    S. and I found the Hall posting on the Bloomington Community and mailed links out to pretty much everyone we knew. Nationally. Including to some people who have the means to publicize it further. And S. wrote to our local and national representatives about hate crime laws in IN.

    What angered me, I think, as much as anything else, was the way in which certain people commenting on the posting over there got angry at the writer, calling it sensationalistic and over-blown. Now admittedly, it isn’t the most well-written piece I’ve ever seen. But the fact even I, who live so close to where this happened and keep apprised of current events, didn’t know about it means that in whatever form, it was important to get the info out there.

    • Marie Brennan

      I must have missed it when this initially went around, then.

      But yeah — to deal with this issue, first people have to know about it. Silence is a stumbling block in the way of getting anything else done.

  3. drake_rocket

    This sort of event is entirely unacceptable in our society; however, I don’t really know that the people who are being raged at are entirely the appropriate ones. This is a product of the anger and evils of two people (and arguably the upbringing/society that brought their evils about). This does not make any of this the fault of the media or law makers. Anti-hate-crime legislation is problematic on a number of levels, not the least of which is morally questionable act of calling a murder for socio/political reasons a worse crime than a murder for other non-self-defense related reasons (I’m not quite clear how murdering someone because they are gay is worse than murdering them because they are a republican or some such). And as for the media, I will make the same comment I always do as someone with a degree in this sorta thing….the media reports what their publics want to hear and won’t be angry at them for. An institution like the Herald Times could suffer severely for a story on this that sounded even slightly amiss. While there is this expectation for journalists to be public servants, neither the government nor the people provide them with real funding to be selfless and our laws do not really protect them anymore than they do normal folks. It is more accurate to blame a populace that couldn’t handle the sort of impact printing this would have in a rationale way and a pair of sinister men who are really the true villains in this tragedy.

    • Marie Brennan

      I wish I had bookmarked the piece I read a while ago that put forth a very good and cogent argument in favor of anti-hate-crime legislation. I don’t remember the points well enough to recap them or argue their side, but if I recall correctly, it had to do with the role “intent” plays in our legal system, and the way in which a hate crime is differentiated from an ordinary murder (or other offense) by intent: that is, the perpetrator is not just attacking that individual, but inflicting harm on other members of that minority. (All you fags out there, this is what you’ve got coming to you, etc.) Nobody’s arguing that it somehow isn’t a bad thing when, say, a middle-aged man gets mugged and shot, but that doesn’t cause every middle-aged man to be suddenly afraid to walk out his front door. (There are worthwhile parallels to draw between hate crimes and terrorism.)

      As for the media, I’d say the point is for people to speak up and say that they do want to hear these stories, that we’re more offended by this silence. It’s a situation that can only be altered through activism, since people have to hear about a story through independent channels before they can even be aware that they did not hear about it through mainstream ones, and then if they don’t say anything about it to the mainstream, there’s no pressure to change. So I think that first spreading the information and then acting on it by contacting local media is at least potentially an effective response.

      I say “potentially” in large part because I’m aware of the difficulties newspapers in particular are suffering right now anyway. A great many of the people who are offended by the lack of reportage aren’t subscribers to the local newspaper because of the perceived shortcomings of the reportage in the first place.

      • drake_rocket

        That’s a more acceptable, reasonable and rationed argument than most I’ve heard for anti-hate-crime legislation. I have more problems with it than the one’s I’ve listed above (exactly who is supposed to receive the protection, what real effect it’s supposed to have on hate crime, the frequency of individuals who support it not being in support of stronger anti-terrorism laws), but that is a sufficiently effective reasoning that I can see the purpose in bringing up the topic of such legislation in this context. Zomg Eric concedes point ^.~

        The media point…well…newspapers don’t have good cause to care that folks are offended, particularly when it’s not their main readers. Your last point is spot-on in a lot of ways. It doesn’t hurt the odds of the HT staying afloat if someone who isn’t a subscriber or really even in their main target audience is ticked. Most college and grad students…as well as a good number of the more liberal folks in town (those who would be the absolute most offended by media blackout)…aren’t really of importance to them. Those people either seek alternate media sources, use teh intrawebs or do something else that is not paying a paperboy. More importantly, because of this lack of subscriptions, the HT has to look at what this will do for its advertising; the largest source of its wealth. It could lose sponsors publishing an even slightly inaccurate or biased story for any variety of reasons. Churches are not uncommon advertisers with them, for example (so are Masons for that matter). If you’ve heard of this, it’s likely that you look at alternative media a lot…which probably means you don’t have a ton of interest in the HT…which means it’s not really worth it to them to tick off their regulars (or advertisers) for you. While some kind folks might respond to better coverage by supporting the paper with monies, most won’t. They like their internet news and alternative sources. But newspapers just can’t afford to try to cater to those people over thier regulars. Activism doesn’t help nearly as much as dollars do. This isn’t meant at all as a personal criticism or anything…I just tend to rush to the defense of the media because it’s often much more helpless to solve some of its problems than people believe.

        I am a bit surprised that bigger papers like the Star or even the Tribune haven’t picked up on this though. I guess the Tribune is a bit far away and the Star…well it does just blow.

        • Marie Brennan

          It’s a vicious circle; the Star (or whatever paper and incident one wants to use as an example) doesn’t report on this, which feeds the impression that it isn’t worth my money to subscribe, which drops its readership (or rather keeps it low), which makes it more dependent on keeping its remaining readers and most especially its advertisers happy, which reinforces my feeling that the Star is not relevant enough to be worth my money.

          It’s hardly the only factor contributing to the problem, but it is a factor. And it’s also worth spreading this information so that people who are subscribers hear about it, ’cause I bet some of them would be upset, too. My understanding is that the subscriber/non-subscriber divide runs more along age lines than any other factor like political orientation or race: they’ve failed signally to recruit a new generation of readers.

          (I hear you about them being helpless; several of the online sources I read are actually maintained by people whose day jobs involve working for newspapers, which is where I get my understanding about the pervasive problems they face.)

          There’s only one thing I’d argue with:

          It could lose sponsors publishing an even slightly inaccurate or biased story for any variety of reasons.

          Inaccurate and biased stories happen all the time. The thing that will lose them sponsors is being inaccurate and biased in a way that offends the sponsors — which is why depending so heavily on, say, advertising dollars from churches can really limit them. If their revenue base was broader and more diverse, offending any one group wouldn’t hurt them as badly. But I say that “if” in the recognition that they’re hardly doing this on purpose; they’d love to have a broader and more diverse base, if only they could manage it.

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