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Old 06-01-2006, 02:26 AM   #1
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More Stupid Race Laws

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AN Aboriginal teenager is the first person to be charged under Western Australia's new racial vilification laws after allegedly calling a 19-year-old a "white slut".
Mellissa Blackney - a Caucasian - was allegedly attacked by three Aboriginal females, aged 14, 15 and 21, after they threw a rock at her car, outside her Kalgoorlie home.

Speaking to The Australian last night, Ms Blackney said she did not ask for the girl to be charged with racial vilification but it was appropriate such charges had been laid. "I don't know why they started this racist crap. I wasn't racist towards them," Ms Blackney said.

"One of the Aboriginal women said 'Look at you, you white slut'. Then, they just decided to get physical. When I started to complain they just said, 'Just look at you, you f..king white bitch'."

Ms Blackney claims the April attack was unprovoked. She had been sleeping in her parked car, waiting for her mother to return home with house keys, when the group approached and threw a rock at the Nissan Skyline.

"They were there, laughing at me," the 19-year-old laboratory technician said. "They wanted to damage my car and it's bad to throw things at cars and expect people to be happy about it."

The mining hub of Kalgoorlie attracts professionals who can command big wages in the commodities boom. But a portion of the city's large indigenous population is blighted by social problems.

Ms Blackney said Aboriginal violence towards whites was a problem at certain times in some areas of Kalgoorlie but no more so than some white racism towards blacks, adding that where Aborigines were employed, the problem did not arise.

The modified racial vilification laws came into effect in May last year in response to allegations that Jack van Tongeren's Australian Nationalists Movement was responsible for racist graffiti attacks on Perth's main synagogue and businesses owned by Asians.

Under the new laws, people charged with serious racial vilification offences face up to 14 years jail.

But the teenager can only be sentenced to a maximum of six months detention because of the jurisdiction.

If she was dealt with in an adult court, she could face up to five years imprisonment.

Police prosecutor Rob Taylor said the 14-year-old was originally charged with conduct likely to incite racial animosity or racist harassment, but it required the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions and was replaced with the lesser charge she currently faces.

West Australian DPP Robert Cock told The Australian he would be watching the proceedings with great interest.

"But special conditions apply when you are dealing with children," Mr Cock said.

State Opposition legal affairs spokeswoman Sue Walker, a supporter of the vilification laws, said they were modified to ensure tougher penalties for offences involving arson or violence that had a racial motivation. She said DPP-approval was needed on the more serious charges to ensure the intent of the law was maintained. Attorney-General Jim McGinty was not available for comment.

The girl is scheduled to face a hearing in the Children's Court in August.
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Can't the actions themselves be tried, attatching charges of racial vilification is just wrong.
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:46 AM   #2
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The trend towards criminalizing speech continues....

L.A. Council Wants to Have the Last Word About Offensive Language

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The Los Angeles City Council jumped into a national cultural debate about racist speech Wednesday, asking the city attorney to draft a law to clamp down on offensive language during public meetings.

The request was sparked by a black man using a racial epithet during at least three recent City Council sessions, offending council members.

Michael Hunt, 43, of Palms used the word "nigger" in voicing his complaints about a new city regulation that restricts the types of items that can be sold along the Venice boardwalk. Hunt said in a later interview that he was referring to himself and trying to illustrate his point that City Hall discriminates against blacks.
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:52 AM   #3
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Strange, I was just reading this from a link on a blog. Yes, some things you just don't say.

toldeoblade.com

Some things you just don’t say. And anyone who has been around as long as Mayor Carty Finkbeiner ought to know better than to call an African-American “King Kong.” It’s hard to believe, but that’s how the mayor referred to Toledo Fire Chief Michael Bell at a staff meeting last week.

Not surprisingly, Mayor Finkbeiner denies that he intended to offend anyone, and on that point, he’s probably sincere. Who among us hasn’t spoken before thinking and instantly wished we could have the comment back?

But the mayor has been a public servant for decades, including two previous terms as mayor, and he has enjoyed substantial support in the black community along the way.

How could he not know how deeply insulting it always is to blacks to hear themselves referred to, even via a fictional character, as an ape? The mayor’s office says the reference was to the fire chief’s physical strength. So why not a less troublesome comparison, to say, Samson, or Hercules? Or better yet, just talk about the chief’s strength in the abstract. No need to give it a name.

Why the mayor would use such a reference to compliment Chief Bell is incomprehensible. Even as a bad joke, it doesn’t work.

The chief, who was on his way to the meeting when the remark was made, said that before he could consider whether the remark was intended as a racial slur, he needed to understand the context in which it was made.

While that’s very gracious of the chief, the context shouldn’t matter. The reference was insulting.

Toledo has been down this road before, and once again the city’s image is hurt. Toledo has been fighting to attract jobs, gain respect, and stop the brain drain.

The last thing the community needs is for this to thrust it back into the national spotlight, making Toledo the butt of jokes — again. City leaders will be hard pressed to tout Toledo as a progressive city and convince talented and skilled workers to make this their home when the mayor utters even unintended racial slurs.

The reference was disparaging. Mayor Finkbeiner needs to apologize to the chief and to the city.
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:24 PM   #4
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This caught my eye as I grew-up in Toledo.

What is the context of the conversation?

And are we now to regulate speech completely independent of context?

Who is the racist in this situation: the mayor for using the words "King Kong" or the reporter who views it only as a racial insult?
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:48 PM   #5
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Their is one clear racist to me, the mayor. Anyone who would use that to refer to an African American person in my eyes has the conscious or subconscious makeup to use a term like that, it's not an *oops* To do it in private is bad enough, but as the editorial suggests the mayor knows better. Odds are someone who makes a comment like that in public does it in private as well.

I don't know the context, I'd have to do some more research. However the context is irrelevant for me, because I don't think it's ever appropriate to use a term such as that to refer to an African American.
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:10 PM   #6
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How can we assume the mayor's thoughts or intentions with so little information? There is no suggestion that it was used in any negative connotation.
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:16 PM   #7
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racist taunts are classed as 'hate crime' here in the UK.

I work for the police, and nearly every day I see crimes logged that involve racist name-calling
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen

I don't know the context, I'd have to do some more research. However the context is irrelevant for me, because I don't think it's ever appropriate to use a term such as that to refer to an African American.
I agree that the comment was inappropriate, but when you say "I don't think it's ever appropriate to use a term such as that to refer to an African American.", the key phrase is "African American." What if the chief was white and the mayor called him King Kong? Would this be news? Maybe the guy just meant it as in, the chief is a huge, strong guy. I've never called anyone a King Kong, but I've called people, to their faces completely in jest, similar names, the only reference being their strength and stature, not the color of their skin. What if the black chief called the white mayor Hulk Hogan? Would that be racially offensive or make the news? I dunno, I have a problem with the mayor/chief thing because 1) this is hardly newsworthy to begin with and 2) I think accusing someone of being a racist is a very, very serious claim so there better be more proof than some article that openly denies the significance of context.

Speech = communication = utterly meaningless and completely arbitrary without context.

I feel strongly about race issues because I grew up being one of very, very few caucasian kids around. Race was of little concern to us. We were afraid of the neighbor kids that were in gangs, but as kids it never registered to us that we should fear/hate them simply because they were black or Hispanic. Now I see all these people accusing others of being racist. Everyone is on their toes and the kids I gew up around, we can't even look each other in the eye anymore because, who knows, we might seem racist! We're never going to make any progress if everyone's looking for reasons to point the finger at someone else.
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:23 PM   #9
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But the point is what it says in the editorial

"How could he not know how deeply insulting it always is to blacks to hear themselves referred to, even via a fictional character, as an ape? The mayor’s office says the reference was to the fire chief’s physical strength. So why not a less troublesome comparison, to say, Samson, or Hercules? Or better yet, just talk about the chief’s strength in the abstract. No need to give it a name."

If you don't intend to make racist comments, at least think before you speak. I've known enough people in my life (thankfully not that many) who refer to African Americans as "monkeys, gorillas" et al to know that most people don't use terms like that for no reason. Automatically racist to call him King Kong? Well, perhaps not. But perhaps it does indicate a certain conduct and attitude that exists in private, or a subconscious thinking that "slips out". I had a grandfather who used words like that and worse, maybe that made me extremely sensitive to that. He was a racist without a doubt.

Like it or not, I think we all need to be sensitive to what words we use to describe people. I would disagree that words are always utterly meaningless without context.

toledoblade.com

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner acknowledged calling Toledo Fire Chief Michael Bell "King Kong" during a staff meeting on Wednesday, but said through his spokesman that the comment was not meant to be offensive.

Mr. Finkbeiner during a Wednesday morning staff meeting called Chief Bell "King Kong," in reference to the movie about a giant gorilla. Chief Bell, who is African-American, was on his way to the staff meeting when the comment was made.

Teresa Graven, Mr. Finkbeiner's spokesman, said the comment was made referring to Mr. Bell's strength, and in no way was it meant to be taken as a racial slur.

Chief Bell said he was not in the meeting when the King Kong reference was made, and declined to comment on it. He said he would have to know in what context the comment was used to know if he would have considered the term racially offensive.

References to African-Americans and Africans as gorillas, monkeys, or apes have long been considered racially offensive to blacks.

WilliAnn Moore, president of the Toledo branch NAACP, said no one has contacted her office about the comment.
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:47 PM   #10
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Everybody has made a comment and gone 'oh crap, didn't mean to say it that way'...maybe the mayor just watched the film King Kong, read an article about it that day or the night before, and it was the first image or idea of strength that came to his head....maybe the idea that the chief was black never crossed his mind in a way to affect what he was saying (and maybe that is me being naive, but is colour something we all automatically register when we talk about someone or meet them?)...fine he should have known better, but everybody should know better about a lot of things....he was silly yes, but a racist from what I have heard so far I don't think so.

I have heard my mum call me and my brothers when kids 'little monkeys' for climbing trees and messing around...if she said the exact same thing in the same way about a bunch of black kids playing around, would that be racist?

I just think it is wrong to judge the mayor purely on one silly, stupid remark which may have had no malice behind it at all. It was inappropriate but in a stupid way........
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by bammo2
racist taunts are classed as 'hate crime' here in the UK.

I work for the police, and nearly every day I see crimes logged that involve racist name-calling
Sounds like a waste of time at best and a gross distortion of what constitutes harm at worst.
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:11 PM   #12
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A waste of time?

Righto.
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:17 PM   #13
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Punish people for throwing a rock at a car or threatening somebody, not for saying a racial slur. There is no right to not be offended by speech, when you start criminalising offensive speech it can get severely out of hand and protection is given to people who don't deserve it, for example the religious.
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:22 PM   #14
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It was just a Skyline. The car doesn't bother me. Sorry, had to say it.

No really, our problems with race start with racial slurring too frequently for it to be ignored. It cant be ignored. Want me to bring up our good friend the Pakistani doctor again and his satan spawn sons? The rioters who are still not entirely rounded up? Do you think hate speech was NOT, honestly, a large part of that, and with mob mentality and hot blooded anger, a definite instigator of racial violence?

Do you know where most of our violent crime occurs? Out of interest. It's a statisitc many seem ignorant of, and it is surprising if you want to be PC or ignore racial problems.
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:29 PM   #15
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There is a difference between kill the fucking lebs and racial slur, one is incitement and the other is nasty name calling.
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