Saturday, August 19, 2006

What racism really looks like.

From Montgomery county this morning:


Story from NBC4's web site -- eventually their video should be posted: Vandals Spray Racial Slurs On Md. Cars, Homes.

One woman, talking about the attack, said something like "you get mad for a minute, but then you get up and do something about it".

As I said, don't let these creeps control your life. Of course, this was vandalism and real threats -- hopefully we can all still rise up against racism like this, despite those who trivialize real racist attacks like this by using the attack when it is unwarranted for political purposes.


David said...

Yes, it is disgusting, just like this is disgusting.

It's more than simply racism, though. It's a hate crime.

Racism itself is just an idea. It may lurk in the small minds of people afflicted with it without an overt expression like this, or it may reveal itself. I don't think that recognizing one way that it may be expressed trivializes other ways.

The distinction you are looking for is the one between speech and hate crime, not between racism and something other than racism.

Anonymous said...

First find the perps and see if it was racism or someone who wants you to think it's racism.

James Young said...

Poor David. Still advancing the anti-constitutional notion that there is such a thing as a "hate" (read: "thought") crime. The criminal law doesn't protect particular demographic or behavioral groups, David, and it protects the right of freedom of thought/belief/association.

I guess Charles' primary offense was that he got a little too close to the truth in identifying the victimhood lobby.

Charles said...

David, I think I see the distinction you are making. I would imagine we are all "racists" to some degree or another, and we all would practice some form of racism or another, whether it be going to a mostly-white or mostly-black church, sitting in the appropriate cafeteria at the local high school (yes, some local schools have two cafeterias, and they are self-segregated), or walking to the other side of the street, or avoiding driving down certain roads, or looking down instead of at, or any number of things.

But when one is accused of a "racist act", it is considered something serious, and that was the distinction I was going for. When one cries wolf too many times, people stop listening, and one treats the most trivial of slights as a capital crime, one hardly has a more appropriate punishment for a "real" crime.

BTW, I am serious about racism being pervasive and somewhat universal. It's small minds that pretend that only others unlike them are racists. People who see racists around every corner are the most racist of all in some respects, judging EVERY interaction based solely on people's skin color.

For example, people who have no problem calling "people" monkeys, but who would cringe at the thought of doing the same of the particular person being refered to happened to be black, thus treating people quite differently simply because of the color of their skin.

James, I'm not persuaded that there is no such thing as a "hate crime". In fact, I'm certain that some people commit crimes against others simply because they hate them. But I would agree with you that "hate" itself is not a criminal act, nor should it be punished as such, nor should an identical crime be punished extra because it is motivated by hate rather than by, say, simple evil.