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Old 05-31-2006, 01:59 PM   #31
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
threat of violence was used as the basis to create different standards for use of epithets against whites vs. blacks.

I think the key to the issue in this thread is that we lose sight of the violence between people when we start looking at the color of those involved.


no, it was history of violence that was used as one example to distinguish why epithets towards white people are not considered nearly as offensive as epithets towards non-white people and especially African-Americans. there are plenty of people who have used and still use the N-word in a hateful manner and exercise that hate in nonviolent but still destructive ways.

sometimes, we have to look at the color of those involved because the difference in color is often what makes it easier to commit violence -- the inability (or unwillingness) to view people of a different race as equally human makes it easier to commit acts of violence, and there's no question that people are often beaten simply for being the wrong color of skin.

only white people have the luxury of ignoring their race, generally speaking, in the US, Europe, and Australia. it is a fairly basic fact that, when you are not in the majority, your difference (whatever that might be) tends to play a much larger role in your own sense of identity and self than it does in the life of someone who is in the majority since you are continually confronted with your "difference." this weekend, at my little sister's graduation, i was asked many times about marriage, girlfriends, when-you-get-married/when-you-have-children, did i think such-and-such a girl was pretty, etc. there's nothing wrong with this (though, of course, if i brought up my boyfriend in the same casual manner in which other people bring up their spouses, then i'd be accused of "flaunting" my sexuality, but whatever ...), but you need to realize that not having to deal with difference is a luxury, and impossible for most everyone else.
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Old 05-31-2006, 05:34 PM   #32
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Originally posted by Irvine511




no, it was history of violence that was used as one example to distinguish why epithets towards white people are not considered nearly as offensive as epithets towards non-white people and especially African-Americans. there are plenty of people who have used and still use the N-word in a hateful manner and exercise that hate in nonviolent but still destructive ways.

sometimes, we have to look at the color of those involved because the difference in color is often what makes it easier to commit violence -- the inability (or unwillingness) to view people of a different race as equally human makes it easier to commit acts of violence, and there's no question that people are often beaten simply for being the wrong color of skin.

only white people have the luxury of ignoring their race, generally speaking, in the US, Europe, and Australia. it is a fairly basic fact that, when you are not in the majority, your difference (whatever that might be) tends to play a much larger role in your own sense of identity and self than it does in the life of someone who is in the majority since you are continually confronted with your "difference." this weekend, at my little sister's graduation, i was asked many times about marriage, girlfriends, when-you-get-married/when-you-have-children, did i think such-and-such a girl was pretty, etc. there's nothing wrong with this (though, of course, if i brought up my boyfriend in the same casual manner in which other people bring up their spouses, then i'd be accused of "flaunting" my sexuality, but whatever ...), but you need to realize that not having to deal with difference is a luxury, and impossible for most everyone else.
I am well aware of both the history and the use of the history argument when discussing racial issues. The suggestion is now that the generalities of history should be used as a proxy for the analysis of an individual case.

In the instant case, we have a criminal action. Should Mr. Moore serve on minute more or less based on the actions of other people through history?

As for the broader topic of the “luxury” of ignoring race, the realities of this world are that there are no more majorities (or at least they are regulated to rural areas at best). It is quite patronizing to suggest that I do not have any differences that stand out in the world and cannot understand dealing with such differences.
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:14 PM   #33
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
As for the broader topic of the “luxury” of ignoring race, the realities of this world are that there are no more majorities (or at least they are regulated to rural areas at best). It is quite patronizing to suggest that I do not have any differences that stand out in the world and cannot understand dealing with such differences.


the United States is still somewhere around 70% white. that constitutes a majority, even if many large urban areas have no true majority ethnicity anymore.

my suggestions are more specific than you interpret. it's less the suggestion that you cannot understand difference and more your continued suggestion of moving towards a "colorblind" society (combined with a fixation on the "playing of the race card" as somehow being worse than actual racism) that seems to speak to a lack of understanding that race is less of a thing to be ignored and more of a social experience to be understood. my main point is that race does matter, the question is, i suppose, how much does it matter.
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Old 06-01-2006, 09:46 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511


sometimes, we have to look at the color of those involved because the difference in color is often what makes it easier to commit violence -- the inability (or unwillingness) to view people of a different race as equally human makes it easier to commit acts of violence, and there's no question that people are often beaten simply for being the wrong color of skin.

only white people have the luxury of ignoring their race, generally speaking, in the US, Europe, and Australia. it is a fairly basic fact that, when you are not in the majority, your difference (whatever that might be) tends to play a much larger role in your own sense of identity and self than it does in the life of someone who is in the majority since you are continually confronted with your "difference." this weekend, at my little sister's graduation, i was asked many times about marriage, girlfriends, when-you-get-married/when-you-have-children, did i think such-and-such a girl was pretty, etc. there's nothing wrong with this (though, of course, if i brought up my boyfriend in the same casual manner in which other people bring up their spouses, then i'd be accused of "flaunting" my sexuality, but whatever ...), but you need to realize that not having to deal with difference is a luxury, and impossible for most everyone else.

Applause, cheers!!!!! (I haven't figured out how to use those icons yet). Wow, Irvine you just have a way hitting the nail on the head. You summed it up very well.

The ability to ignore your own race is of inestimable value. . .for it to be a non-issue. To people (i.e. white, male heterosexuals) who have never lived with being "different" as a factor this is sooo hard to explain. The common response with them is "Well if that's so valuable why don't you just go ahead and live that way. YOU have a choice! You can make race an issue or not." And believe me, every chance I get that's exactly what I do. I don't go around constantly thinking "I'm a black man, people are prejudiced against black people, I'm probably going to encounter prejudice today." I really don't feel I have a "chip on my shoulder" when it comes to race. I generally just think of myself as me and I don't have to constantly add the "black" adjective to define myself. This is much easier to do where I live now though. I am definitely in the minority here (I often joke about me and the other five blacks on Saipan), but then so are whites. The thing is here, though racism against African Americans truly is a non-issue. By and large it doesn't exist. (Other groups are on the bottom of the pecking order though--Filipinos, Chinese, and the absolute lowest on the totem pole, the Bangladeshis). Which bby the way, Irvine, I think suggests that merely being in the minority is not enough to make "difference" play a role in your life. It's when that "difference" is viewed by the majority culture as bad, unacceptable etc.

Here in Saipan I have, as Irvine so apatly put it, the " luxury of someone who gets to go through life unaware of the color of his skin." But to those who have always had this luxury, explaining the absence of it is nearly impossible. Whites in America seem to operate under the delusion that living with their race as a "non-issue" is a given. Okay granted, a white person may encounter the occasional prejudice or racial insult whether in America or traveling abroad, but the bottom line is it's just that, an aberration, an irritant that isn't part of any larger picture.

Nbc, I think the difficulty I have with what you're saying is that you want to believe that virulent, problematic racism is now history. I would love if that were true. If it were, living in the States would feel for me like it does to live here in Saipan. I believe that our country is headed in the right direction, that things are getting better. But we're not there yet. And our greatest challenge is that the strides yet to made in ending the divide between black and white in America can no longer be legislated. The obvious injustices have been rectified, it's the more subtle attitudes of the heart that are still in need of change.

I would also add that "difference" has NOT disappeared in America. I would agree with you except that every time I fly back to the States, I notice how many white people there are. The further east I fly the whiter the airports get. America is still mostly white (not that there is anything wrong with that. I'm married to a white woman by the way) and so to be black, Asian, Latino, is still to be "different."
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Old 06-01-2006, 09:58 AM   #35
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what is Saipan like? what brought you there?
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:07 PM   #36
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Originally posted by maycocksean
Nbc, I think the difficulty I have with what you're saying is that you want to believe that virulent, problematic racism is now history. I would love if that were true. If it were, living in the States would feel for me like it does to live here in Saipan. I believe that our country is headed in the right direction, that things are getting better. But we're not there yet. And our greatest challenge is that the strides yet to made in ending the divide between black and white in America can no longer be legislated. The obvious injustices have been rectified, it's the more subtle attitudes of the heart that are still in need of change.
No, I am in no way suggesting that racism is history.

I am arguing that evaluation of current incidents should be based on current facts. Too often I read posts that use a general history as proxy for imposing intent on an individual. Not only do I see that as faulty analysis, but it can negate any strides towards ending the divide.

To the specific issue of this thread, should race change the potential punishment Mr. Minucci may receive if convicted of his crime?
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:50 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I am arguing that evaluation of current incidents should be based on current facts. Too often I read posts that use a general history as proxy for imposing intent on an individual. Not only do I see that as faulty analysis, but it can negate any strides towards ending the divide.



but doesn't history inform our understanding of current incidents? how can we separate present from past? if a white person beats a black person (regardless of what that black person may or may not have done) and uses the N-word, how can that be ignored by a jury? how can we not make a distinction between, say, calling someone an "asshole" and calling someone the N-Word? both are derogatory names, however one use of the word implies a very different motivation for the beating.

i can see how this is slippery, but at the same time, we all know just how taboo the N-word is -- it doesn't just slip out like "asshole" might, and it isn't a word that we associate with generalized anger, fear, or aggression. the use of the N-word implies something very specific as it is an invocation of a very specific kind of history.


Quote:
To the specific issue of this thread, should race change the potential punishment Mr. Minucci may receive if convicted of his crime?

and this is the issue. i have mixed feelings on hate crimes -- my issue has always been the determination of which groups get to fall under hate crimes legislation. to me, it's the groups that do not get to be included (i.e., homosexuals in many states) that is blatantly discriminatory, and really does call into question the validity of the categories that have been pre-determined as worthy of somewhat protected status.

i think hate crimes legislation is intellectually bogus and doesn't really do anything to prevent violence from happening in the future. it is pure emotionalism -- as i type, i imagine a 25 year old gay kid walking home from a bar in Hillcrest, San Diego and a group of white teenagers jumping out of the bushes and beating him unconscious and calling him "faggot." my reaction is very visceral, and it does seem as if something beyond a simple, unprovoked assault has happened. it does appear to be a different kind of crime than a run-of-the-mill assault. but that doesn't change his injuries, but it does beg the question of whether or not the 25 year old gay man is necessarily a more "worthy" victim than the 75 year old lady who is beaten by the same group of thugs later on that week.

though i wonder if we could make the argument that the gay man might have been beaten more severely because he was a "faggot" -- as in, the beating was less of an assault and more an administering of punishment for being part of the wrong group. might this be a distinction?

i'm not sure.

the main point i am trying to make is less about the validity of hate crimes and more about the power of the N-word and the fact that it's use by Mr. Minucci indicates a motive beyond self-defense. i think that's inarguable, and i think that the use of the word is of invaluable use in determining what occurred that night. context matters. however, the question, then, is whether or not he should be punished more severely.

my hesitant opinion is that, no, he should not.
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:26 PM   #38
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We do not criminalize motives. We criminalize actions. Plenty of people have motives, but take no action - thus there is no crime.

I think we are fairly close in our views of the situation (here and in general). I don't see the use of a baseball bat fitting a reasonable definition of self defense (based on the limited facts presented).

I do share your visceral reaction to the hatred carried in one's heart when it comes flowing out of their mouth.
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:54 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
We do not criminalize motives. We criminalize actions. Plenty of people have motives, but take no action - thus there is no crime.


but this begs the question as to whether or not a different crime has been committed. i am inclined to think that it's less about the criminalization of motives and more about the establishment of a motive that changes the crime itself.

is assault one thing, is racial assault something else? can we prove this? would it be possible to show that Mr. Minucci would have defended himself with something less than a baseball bat, or less aggressively, had Mr. Moore been white?

very interesting.

there are times when i wish i had gone to law school.
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:21 PM   #40
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We do not criminalize motives.
Don't we have various degrees of assault, manslaughter, and murder?

Doesn't motive help to determine this?
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:32 PM   #41
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Don't we have various degrees of assault, manslaughter, and murder?

Doesn't motive help to determine this?
No, those are all degrees of intent - from the accidental to the premeditated.

Motive can be used as a piece of a much larger puzzle, but in racial situations it is used a proxy for intent (saying a word = what a person believes = why the person acted in a certain way).
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:14 PM   #42
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Hate crimes are the affirmative action of assaults.
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:49 AM   #43
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Hate crimes are the affirmative action of assaults.




that's a slick sounding soundbyte, but could you push that a little bit further so that it means something?
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Old 06-02-2006, 10:15 AM   #44
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They are built with an emphasis on intent, specifically intent against a minority group, an other if you will. Beating somebody with a baseball bat is a serious crime (provided it's not self-defence of course), the fact that the bastard called the victim a nigger before hand shouldn't be excluded from considerations, it demonstrates the hostility preceeding the attack.

Procecuting a crime more harshly on the basis of a race (as it seems to be in most cases like this) does not make up for past wrongs and injustices, meeting out different punishments on the basis of the victims ethnicity or sexual preference creates a heirachy of victimhood that doesn't sit well with me. Surely vile crimes can be punished and the sentences be measured out in the confines of regular laws and at the discrecion of the judge rather than introducing the principle of the hate crime.

The benefits or disadvantages of something like affirmative action are an entirely seperate debate ~ but they do share the elevation of minorities to an end, in the case of affirmative action that end is diversity at tertiary levels and more opportunites for maligned groups, in the context of hate crimes it seems to be an elevated status of victimhood - but to what end?
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Old 06-02-2006, 11:23 AM   #45
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They are built with an emphasis on intent, specifically intent against a minority group, an other if you will. Beating somebody with a baseball bat is a serious crime (provided it's not self-defence of course), the fact that the bastard called the victim a nigger before hand shouldn't be excluded from considerations, it demonstrates the hostility preceeding the attack.

Procecuting a crime more harshly on the basis of a race (as it seems to be in most cases like this) does not make up for past wrongs and injustices, meeting out different punishments on the basis of the victims ethnicity or sexual preference creates a heirachy of victimhood that doesn't sit well with me. Surely vile crimes can be punished and the sentences be measured out in the confines of regular laws and at the discrecion of the judge rather than introducing the principle of the hate crime.

The benefits or disadvantages of something like affirmative action are an entirely seperate debate ~ but they do share the elevation of minorities to an end, in the case of affirmative action that end is diversity at tertiary levels and more opportunites for maligned groups, in the context of hate crimes it seems to be an elevated status of victimhood - but to what end?


okay -- so you agree it's a poor comparison?

i'm also not sure that we're talking about the elevation of minorities as a motiation for hate crimes legislation, though i think that's a reasonable reading of what the effect of the legislation would be in the mind of a member of the majority. basically, many arguments i hear against hate crimes legislation, both here and in the real world, can pretty much be boiled down to the sneaking suspicion that society (due to PC-ness, or whatever) views it as worse to assault a black person than a white person and the difference in punishment is tantamount to saying that black people (to use one example) are more "worthy" or "sympathetic" than white people, or "elevated" as you put it.

i can understand this viewpoint, but i think it misses a few crucial factors when it comes to understanding what a hate crime actually is and is not. it is not meant to redress past wrongs, it is not meant to elevate the status of a minority, it is meant to identify and then punish transgressions on the basic foundation of any free society -- that when a person is beaten because he is black (or whatever) then not only was a crime committed against that particular person but a message of intolerance has sent to all members of said group. hate crimes can and do intimidate and disrupt entire communities causing a rupture in social order and reduced sense of individual safety on the status of an immutable characteristic.

how much i buy this ... i'm not sure. i think it's a reasonable argument, but i'm not wholly convinced, and i don't think it has anything to do with the "elevation" of any sort of minority, it's concern with the functioning of a free society at large.

i will say, as a proponant of affirmative-action, that drawing lines between the two is akin to the proverbial apples to oranges.
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