Friday, January 17, 2014

Are all violent crimes hate crimes?


How's your 2014 been so far? Mine's been...interesting. Not bad necessarily, just interesting. But I worked out this morning, so my blood is pumping and I'm ready to write a new blog post. Sweet.

Maybe you've heard and maybe you haven't, but a white guy shot and killed another white guy recently, because the first white guy wouldn't stop texting on his phone at the movies. In Florida.

Florida, what is the deal? You have been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. Pull yourself together, (wo)man.

Here is a link if you'd like to read more.

Lots of thoughts about this, so let's just do it stream of consciousness style...

--If the guy who was dead was black, this would be getting a lot more news coverage. And some people would for sure be calling it a hate crime (or at the very least, racially motivated.) Which leads to the question...

--Is it possible for a white person to aggress against a black person and it not be a hate crime? How do you know when a crime has gone from just being a crime crime to a hate crime?

--Related: How come you never hear about black people committing hate crimes against white people? Is that even possible? Why or why not? One of the most common things that I see when I encounter writings of people on the internet who would describe themselves as white supremacists are these examples of crimes where white people were kidnapped and/or tortured and/or killed by black people, and the media is not covering the story and no one is calling it a hate crime.

--Statistically speaking, is it more common for a white person to be killed by a black person, or a black person to be killed by a white person? It is important to note that the probability of being killed by another person period is extremely, extremely low--I am just curious about the numbers.

--The guy who did the shooting was a retired cop. Not doing a lot to help the reputation of cops. I also heard that when they arrested him, they handcuffed him in the front, which is against protocol. I guess to make him look less like a common criminal. Again, not the best time to have your fellow cop's back. You can read more on my measured, rational ideas about the police here.

--I don't really see the point in hate crime legislation. I get it, the government is trying to send a message that -isms and -phobias are bad. They think the way to show that is to add extra time to your sentence if you do a crime because of an -ism or phobia. But the problem is this: Prisons suck, and they do very little to rehabilitate the people who go to them. So making a racist or homophobe spend more time in jail doesn't solve any problem. If anything, it creates a distraction because then politicians can say, "Hey look we care about this, as evidenced by us creating this extra punitive measure on the back end." Then, they do nothing about the front end and want us to think that's progress. But that leads to an even bigger question...

--What can they even do on the front end? People with these biases have a problem with their thinking, and it's not the government's job to be the thought police. I feel like this is an example of When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The government's power comes through its ability to make laws, and at times I wonder if they think they can legislate racism out of existence. Obviously there is a lot that can be done for more justice in the court system, banking, and schooling just to name a few. But I wonder how much of this change needs to come from laws, and how much just needs to come from people who realize that we don't want to continue doing things the way we're doing them currently.

--Ok, I think that's all for now. If you have some thoughts that you'd like to share, you know I'd loove to hear them. Two "o"s. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will.

To like on facebook, click here.
To follow me on twitter (@myblackfriend) click here.


  1. Anonymous1:17 AM

    It is possible for a white person to aggress against a black person and it not be classified as a hate crime. When asked why he aggressed, if the white person does not mention anything about the black person's race it is not immediately classified as a hate crime. Only when the individual was motivated to aggress because of the color of a person's skin is it classified a hate crime.

    Your question about black on white or white on black crime is an interesting one. I would assume it would be black on white, based solely on the amount of media coverage these types of crime get. BUT, it may be because when a white person commits a crime agai st a black person, the race of the aggressor and victim is often omitted. Media skews perception once again.

  2. It might be that they handcuffed old dude in the front because his bones couldn't handle being put behind, or he had some sort of balance problem. Possible but not probable. His age might have also had something to do with it, at least giving them another reason to let him retain some dignity (and to disguise the real reason: that he is part of the police brotherhood).

    I do think that the law serves to deter hate crimes, though. Most law-abiding citizens tell themselves "I would do that if I knew I wouldn't go to jail for it.". Even when people like GZ get acquitted, most rational people say "He got lucky and I probably won't be as fortunate.". Just my two cents...not looking for a debate.

  3. oooph!! the day you write a blog post that doesn't make me wanna write a novel . .. dam

    anywhooooo - can a white transgress against a black and have it not be a hate crime. trayvon martin - race was not allowed as part of the prosecutors arsenal so yes, somehow they ruled that out as a motivator pre-trial. in a case that certainly it would have been reasonable to think it was a motivating factor. but yes, it has happened many times.

    black on white hate crime? it happens and is prosecuted as such. the numbers are low but the fbi stats will show roughly 10% (give or take) where the aggressor is black and victim white. i read about one in NOLA last year where the black attacker said "you're in the wrong neighborhood" . . . now, flip the races and tell rightwingers about that situation and they'll say "that's not necessarily race . . . " now why doesn't the media specifically say - black man charged with a hate crime?? well, i don't wanna get all conspiratorial but . ..

    --- here's my question - can a black person be charged with a hate crime against another black person based on race?

    who kills who more? well, on the face of the fbi statistics -most races kill their own race more. however there is a slightly higher amount of whites killed by blacks. here are some things that make me wonder about that though---- 1. as it appears to me the fbi seems to be living by the one drop rule on that so - if a killer is half white and half black why does his black half get "credit" for that killing? 2. the fbi records are based on convictions and . . i think you can see where i'm going with this, right?

    cops - i'll repeat myself. the issue isn't how many are bad but how often they face any consequences for misaction - spoiler alert!

    i understand your point about hate crime legislation but i disagree. it's similar to my thoughts on why it matters that white people aren't "allowed" to say the nword. or why it's important to remove blue laws from the books. etc. it's important to collectively state -we all agree that targeting someone based on race is not acceptable.

    what can they do on the front end -- whooooosh! really? can't you just give us a quantum physics assignment instead??? i'd settle for "tell the truth" for now. but okay - the laws; recently it was brought to light that a retired judge had, over his career, sent thousands of racist, sexist, etc emails -- if this doesn't set them to review his career then at the very least it should set them to think about how they can prevent anyone like him from ever sitting on the bench again. we ask questions of jurors to try and reveal their biases .. . seems more important to do that with the judge, no?

    oh, and you talk about jails - how about a concerted effort to actually make them what they are supposed to be - a place of rehabilation.