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Deciding Something is a Hate Crime

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mahagonny:
As I understand it, a hate crime is identified by either serious injury to a person on the basis of hatred of the group to which that person belongs, or the threat of same. But what about when something symbolic of group hatred just appears? It seems to be inferred that the intent was to threaten or intimidate the specific group even though the perpetrator hasn't been found. If it is that (a hate crime) we would agree that it was a dastardly act that should be punishable. But considering (1) the prevalence of hate crime hoaxes (Wilfred Reilly has studied and published) and (2) the mobilization of reaction to the appearance of the hate crime, why should the motive of the vandal be assumed to be one thing and not the other?

https://dailyprogress.com/news/local/uva-police-rule-noose-on-statue-a-hate-crime/article_fe6bac5c-2fd2-11ed-bbf1-1bd8db8ba530.html

Parasaurolophus:
Suppose you call me a shithead, but mean it as a compliment. If we don't share some context in which it's clear that's a compliment, then it's both natural and correct for me to take offense. Language is public and shared, after all. It's the same for symbols.

If you draw a swastika, it's entirely justified to assume you mean it as a reference to nazis. Especially if you're operating in a cultural context where you ought to know better.

mahagonny:

--- Quote from: Parasaurolophus on September 25, 2022, 12:03:57 PM ---Suppose you call me a shithead, but mean it as a compliment. If we don't share some context in which it's clear that's a compliment, then it's both natural and correct for me to take offense. Language is public and shared, after all. It's the same for symbols.

If you draw a swastika, it's entirely justified to assume you mean it as a reference to nazis. Especially if you're operating in a cultural context where you ought to know better.

--- End quote ---

There's no question of whether the item is offensive. That's not my question.
I would be offended if a white supremacist put a noose on the statue of Homer in order to frighten black people, and I would also be offended if someone of any color who sees toxic, long lasting white supremacy in every human interaction or artifact placed the noose on Homer because he wants to plunge the campus further into his particular brand of faddish mania.
Hate crime hoaxes are a thing. They make things worse for victims of true hate crimes.
ETA: the campus police are trying to find out who did this. I doubt they will. The student activists who, as usual, stress the white-against-black racial animus narrative are calling for a stronger response from administration. That would be a response against something, the  nature of which is only partially known, that needs to be stronger. Hmm...
Little known: statistics show interracial violent crime involving both white and black citizens are something like 84% black perpetrator, white victim. Hate crime hoaxes that attribute racism to whites galvanize left activism, bringing political momentum with it. There is a lot of room for doubt in the certainty of what this represents, that is coming from the student activists.
If any black student or family is frightened by this experience, you have my sorrow and sympathy. I don't say you shouldn't feel that. Hopefully there is no real threat.
ETA: some of the students who carry on about social justice can easily be the same ones we catch plagiarizing and cheating on exams. just something to think about.

Ruralguy:
Any crime *could be* some sort of hoax or set up. I think the police often have that at the back of their minds. But on the surface, it look like a hate crime, so it gets investigated as a hate crime. If that turns up evidence of some sort of hoax, then the direction of investigations turns, but unless that happens, there's no more reason to suspect its fictional, a priori, than for any other crime. 

mahagonny:

--- Quote from: Ruralguy on September 25, 2022, 01:21:48 PM ---Any crime *could be* some sort of hoax or set up. I think the police often have that at the back of their minds. But on the surface, it look like a hate crime, so it gets investigated as a hate crime. If that turns up evidence of some sort of hoax, then the direction of investigations turns, but unless that happens, there's no more reason to suspect its fictional, a priori, than for any other crime.

--- End quote ---

As someone who, unexpectedly later in life, began to ponder whether I am the right fit for calling myself conservative, I've recently begun reading a different variety of things. I think there is hate on the political right, but it's not the hate the left portrays. It's not white people hating blacks. That only rarely. It's things like people who don't want their young kids taught presentism history or gender choosing thought processes. They hate the purveyors of this new thinking, no doubt. But it's not raw racial animus on a personal interaction level, not at all, nor is it a desire for whites only space. But the political left wants to build up the white supremacy specter, because the entrenched ugliness of it resonates. Hitting that target is as easy as throwing a rock at a barn door. Mention Trump and you've got icing on the cake (not that that is even that accurate, but hey, it works). So a few of the more enterprising and unscrupulous among them have been race crime hoaxing themselves into a furor, hoping it will build political clout by bringing out the vote.

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