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The Murder of Emmett Till
January 9, 2003 1:18 AM   Subscribe

Emmett just barely got on that train to Mississippi. We could hear the whistle blowing. As he was running up the steps, I said, 'Bo,'--that's what I called him--'you didn't kiss me. How do I know I'll ever see you again?' He turned around and said, 'Oh, Mama.' Gently scolding me. He ran down those steps and gave me a kiss. As he turned to go up the steps again, he pulled his watch off and said, 'Take this, I won't need it.' I said, 'What about your ring?' He was wearing his father's ring for the first time. He said, 'I'm going to show this to my friends.' That's how we were able to identify him, by that ring. I think it was a Mason's ring.

Mamie Till-Mobley, 81, who wanted the world to see her teenage son's disfigured face after his slaying in Mississippi in 1955 and who became a figure in the civil rights movement, died of a heart ailment Jan. 6 at a hospital in Chicago. She had kidney failure.

The impact of the Emmett Till case on black America was even greater than that of the Brown decision. On January 20, 2003, The American Experience will present, on PBS, The Murder of Emmett Till. (Continued Inside)
posted by y2karl (51 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
What made this killing any different from any of the hundreds of other lynchings of blacks that occurred in the South? It was in large part due to the publicity it garnered, largely due to the actions of Emmett's mother, who insisted upon having an open casket funeral for all the world to see, and Jet magazine, in its finest hour, for printing the photograph of Emmett Till as he lay in state.

NPR's Michele Norris speaks to filmmaker Stanley Nelson about Mamie Till Mobley and his film The Murder of Emmett Till.

Studs Terkel interviewed Mamie Till-Mobley for his book Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Here, from WBEZ in Chicago, is an excerpt, and here, if you scroll down, is a transcript.

Here is a slide show of the only known original booklet of Complete Photo Story of Till Murder Case, photographed and printed by Ernest C. Withers in 1955.

Here is the Soundprint radio documentary, The Murder of Emmett Till.

Here is They Stand Accused: James L. Hicks Investigations, an excerpt from The Lynching of Emmett Till by Christopher Metress.

Now consider the following assertion:

The term "hate crime" is a meaningless abomination, and an affront to justice and common sense.

I disagree.

If you can't speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that's so unjust,
Your eyes are filled with dead men's dirt, your mind is filled with dust.


Bob Dylan later disavowed writing songs like The Death of Emmett Till but as the report there linked says, in spite of Dylan's rejection of his own song, there can be no question that in choosing this story to write about, he was once again ahead of his times.

But I report--you decide.
posted by y2karl at 1:20 AM on January 9, 2003


But still after all these years we get stories of racist attacks, guys getting dragged down the road off of some hick's bumper, or the recent story about the black guy who got his head smashed in by youths that MeFi linked to recently. What has America learnt?

Not to forget other forms of violence and hatred, such as Matthew Shepard who was tied to a fence in Wyoming and pistol whipped to death for simply being gay. (Which, ironically, resulted in one of Elton John's best songs)
posted by wackybrit at 1:56 AM on January 9, 2003


I don't think that any country can consider it's residents truly tollerant of people unlike themselves in any way (no matter how hard any individual may try), but why is it that America seems to do so badly at it?

Yes, in the UK gay kids get picked on and a white guy may feel as uncomfortable in a black area as a black guy in a white area, but we don't get shit like this, and I don't think (not think) we've ever had anything like this bad. I'd love to know why this is.

Obviously the black/white thing can be traced (however accurately) to slavery and economic backgrounds, but why the gay thing?
posted by twine42 at 2:53 AM on January 9, 2003


btw wackybrit, what was the song?
posted by twine42 at 2:54 AM on January 9, 2003


Oh, I forgot to say, I guess a part of the race thing might be that the UK invited most of it's coloured population into the Uk after WW2 when we had no men left to run things...
posted by twine42 at 2:55 AM on January 9, 2003


BTW, my America comment was not to imply my own country has a flawless record. It's just that America is the topic here.

Many Brits are extremely racist, IMHO, probably more so than the 'average' American. I live in one of the UK's largest counties, and I've seen perhaps two black people here in three years. Small town people are scared of the 'immigrant invasion' and are pretty heated up about it. I grew up in London, so black, brown, white, orange, it's all the same to me.

That said, we don't have the high profile racist cases over here. Europeans can talk and make people feel bad, but they don't generally tie them up to pick up trucks, or pistol whip them. Again, different culture. I think that's why we have less violent racial crime here.. it's just not in our character.

but why the gay thing?

That's a great question, and I can't put forward any answers. The common belief is that it's caused by peoples' insecurities by their own sexuality, but that sounds like hog-wash to me.

I have respect for gay people, and treat no-one any differently, but underneath I still feel a bit funny about the idea. The only reason I can think of is that gay people do things that I, personally, would find disgusting to do. After all, this is why people who don't even have kids can get so angry about pedophiles.. they do things that we find disgusting. The idea of gay sex repulses me (even though I believe in the right to do it if you want) so perhaps that's where my underlying feelings stem from.

twine42: The song, btw, is 'American Triangle' from the 'Songs from the West Coast' album.
posted by wackybrit at 4:55 AM on January 9, 2003


Flavor of the month. By 2004, how many will remember the Till family who did not know them before 2003?
posted by mischief at 5:05 AM on January 9, 2003


The term "hate crime" is a meaningless abomination, and an affront to justice and common sense

This is a contextual fugue. Although the person who said that was sparklingly correct. Oh, it was me.

I had a thread deleted for doing exactly what you're doing now, y2karl, and that is: continuing and advancing a particular argumentative point of view in a discussion by making a front page post about it, and I don't think it's necessary or fair. The conversation continues. It was yesterday, after all.

What you are doing now sir, is called race-baiting. Harry Belafonte spewed the same vengeful nastiness toward Colin Powell, and Powell's response was:

“I’m serving my nation,” Powell said. “I’m serving this president, my president, our president. I'm very happy to do so. Harry has every right to attack my politics... But we have advanced in this nation where you shouldn't have to rest it on this kind of reference that should have been left in the past.”

I think what you've started here is underhanded, petty, and disappointing, y2karl, and I am embarrased for you.
posted by hama7 at 5:09 AM on January 9, 2003


Flavor of the month. By 2004, how many will remember the Till family who did not know them before 2003?

Good point. Let's all forget about it then. Thank you once again for trolling on about how hopeless life is. Perhaps you've forgotten what happens when people don't know their history. More to the point, thank you y2karl for another great post.
posted by yerfatma at 5:39 AM on January 9, 2003


Flavor of the month. By 2004, how many will remember the Till family who did not know them before 2003?

Well I will now, and so will you - even if you do bracket the Till families courage as a passing fad (troll). Call me a softy but I've always considered fighting racism more than a flavour of the month.
posted by niceness at 6:04 AM on January 9, 2003


hama7, y2karl is just presenting a counterpoint to your assertion, which he has every right to do and is part of what this site is all about.

I don't disagree that it seems like a lot of American's of all races have a fascination with the details of racism that borders on the pornographic. But at the same time let's not turn a remembrance of a true atrocity, into a mudslinging fest.
posted by jonmc at 6:10 AM on January 9, 2003


I think what you've started here is underhanded, petty, and disappointing, y2karl, and I am embarrased for you.

Troll.
posted by The Michael The at 6:14 AM on January 9, 2003


and I am embarrased for you.

Hama7, even your insults are pure rhetoric.
posted by niceness at 6:20 AM on January 9, 2003


so will you

Doubtful, since I cannot even tell you who played the SuperBowl last year, let alone who won, and I watched the entire first half.

Ever hear of celebrity Q factor? It is a measure of the public's recognition of names and faces. If anything, the Till family got one more quarter hour of fame, a blip on the screen, a momentary spike of Q.

Dredging up old cases like this one, particularly one in which the suspects have already been tried and acquitted, will make no difference in eliminating racism, short of preaching to the choir. The resources would have been far better spent pursuing other methods.
posted by mischief at 6:22 AM on January 9, 2003


y2karl: Of course, that didn't stop Bob from later writing a song like Hurricane, which is pretty much in the same vein.
posted by raysmj at 6:23 AM on January 9, 2003


Just to throw a couple cents in on the "'hate crime' is a meaningless abomination, and an affront to justice and common sense" argument...

There are a couple of levels to this argument that I've gone through. The first was to think that racism is bad, so killing someone because of their race is bigotry run amok, and should be heavily punished.

Then I thought, well, murder is the crime here, not racism. We should de-emphasize the importance of race in the decision to murder because it takes the strength away from the real point, which is that people simply shouldn't be killing each other, period. Playing the race card is just a petty way of gaining publicity, so that one murder will stand out more in the news than the countless others that were based on anger, or jealousy, or psychosis. Why are they any less important?

Then I thought to what first year law students are taught, and that is the importance of motivation. Premeditation to kill someone is always more harshly punished than crimes of passion. And the message you send by making hate crimes more "bad" than a simple crime of passion has a better effect on society -- I may kill a guy who's banging my wife, but my anger is towards him specifically, not a race in general.

But the more I think about it, the less I support this idea. In the end, it's not illegal to hate someone, or even a race of people. You can hate them negro's and fag's all you want in the great country of ours, just as long as you don't go commiting crimes against them. And it's the crime that's important. Motivation is still important, but not as much as some people might like to think. Planning the murder of someone is worse than accidentally hitting them with your car, I recognize that; mental illness or retardation where the suspect does not understand the consequences of their actions can also be forgivable. But penalizing someone more because we as a larger majority disagree with their beliefs seems to me to be hypocritical. Our message is akin to, "I don't agree with your or your kind of people. I hate all racists and they should be hurt more because of their racism. Add another ten years to the sentance." That doesn't seem just to me.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:36 AM on January 9, 2003


I would go so far as thinking that racists and bigots are worse as people than those who are tolerant, but I agree with Civil Disobediant's observations that those people are, under our current laws, allowed to have such opinions, and shouldn't face extra prosecution as such.
posted by The Michael The at 6:44 AM on January 9, 2003


Hama7: Whiniest. Response. Ever.

Civil_Disobedient: I think you're missing an important element of hate crime legislation: These laws don't protect some small group of people that the legislature believes should be protected -- they protect every single person against violence based on a particulary abhorrent motivation. Crimes based on these motives don't just harm the victim, they can hurt people like the victim (by making it clear that they too can be victims based on a characteristic they can't control) and they hurt society. As such, it's a completely legitimate type of legislation.

The Michael The: They aren't being punished for their opinions. They're being punished for killing someone with a certain mental state. Do you oppose the concept of first-degree murder because it punishes people for thinking too much?
posted by subgenius at 7:22 AM on January 9, 2003


BTW, my America comment was not to imply my own country has a flawless record. It's just that America is the topic here.

Why is America the topic here? These events took place nearly 50 years ago, flawless record does not begin to touch the surface of the atrocities committed by other "civilized" nations 50 years ago! I'm not just talking about Germany and Japan, just look at what was being committed by the British in India or Africa or the French in Indochina as examples!

I grew up in London, so black, brown, white, orange, it's all the same to me.

Great, I'm proud for you. I grew up in Alabama and came to the same conclusion, another conclusion I've come to is not to let anyone accuse MY country of being any more intolerant than another. I've had to put up with way too many drunk Germans on vacation to sit through this assault without at least batting an eyebrow. Yes, America has problems, many involving race. Is it worse than Europe? I don't know, at least immigrants can become full voting citizens regardless of race here. In the US a few years back they ran ads against marijuana where a father sternly questions a son who's stash he has just uncovered, the father asks, "Where did you learn to do this?" To which the son replies, "I learned it from watching you, OK?!?" A nation that introduces the practice of wholesale slavery on a mass scale in its colonies to fuel its own industrial revolution, sets those colonies up for a racial disaster down the road.

Why does America have such racial problems? We learned it from watching you, OK?!?

Flavor of the month. By 2004, how many will remember the Till family who did not know them before 2003?


Mischief, a hell of a lot of folks in the deep South remember who Emmitt Till, Andrew Goodman, Henry Schwerner, James Chaney, Viola Liuzzo, Jonathan Daniels and a whole lot more are and won't forget for a long time to come.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:35 AM on January 9, 2003


About the Bob Dylan thing: if I remember correctly, the context in which he rejected those songs wasn't for their content, but rather because he felt that he'd been something of a poseur in writing them; i.e., that his motivations for writing such songs, however great the result, were based more upon a need for acceptance than a genuine passion for politics.
posted by vraxoin at 7:36 AM on January 9, 2003


Flavor of the month. By 2004, how many will remember the Till family who did not know them before 2003?

Mischief, you could be right to the extent that some of us won't remember the specifics of this case. But that doesn't mean that reading about this won't have made any impression, that we will all be exactly as we were before reading it. I read a huge amount of material (two to three books a week, the newspaper five days a week, a good ten hours of Internet surfing weekly) and I don't - can't - remember it all in detail. But everything I read adds something to a general and gradual growth of consciousness. And I am sure that knowing that a mother made a choice to let everyone see her murdered son's mutilated face will have its impact on me and others.

There are flavours of the month, and then there are single bricks added to a wall.
posted by orange swan at 7:39 AM on January 9, 2003


America might have race problems, but at least they don't make monkey sounds or throw bananas at black football players.
posted by dydecker at 7:48 AM on January 9, 2003


SubGenius:
First-degree murder is certainly more heinous than, say, manslaughter, because of its premeditation, regardless of the race of the murderer or victim. Intent and planning to kill, whether it is because of race, or a spurned lover, or drugs, or what have you, is still premeditated murder. Should fratricide carry extra penalties because it can harm others around the victim?

Also, by negatively reinforcing hate crimes, the government is in effect sanctioning division by race, which is perhaps one of the worst things that can be done.

On preview: no, but they do kill black people by tying them behind trucks and dragging them down the road, dydecker.
posted by The Michael The at 7:51 AM on January 9, 2003


Why does America have such racial problems? We learned it from watching you, OK?!?

Touché, but you could say that about anything. You finally wandered into the industrial age after watching us ;-) So what?

Perhaps the hypocrisy is on America's side because Europeans never proclaimed 'all men are born equal', and never pretended to be a fair and just people like the Americans. Face it, we're all about as 'free' and 'equal' as each other, but we don't pretend that our societies and political systems/constitutions are fair and just.

P.S. America was the original topic because I ventured that a link to an American show about Americans shown only in America qualifies it to be so. I may well be wrong.
posted by wackybrit at 7:55 AM on January 9, 2003


Emmitt Till, Andrew Goodman, Henry Schwerner, James Chaney, Viola Liuzzo, Jonathan Daniels and a whole lot more

As a resident of South Carolina and/or Georgia since 1980, I do not recognize any of those names except Till which I only ran across a couple days ago. Since I am fairly well read news- and history-wise and don't know them, what makes you think the racists (for whom any of this really would matter) know them?
posted by mischief at 7:59 AM on January 9, 2003


Although the person who said that was sparklingly correct. Oh, it was me.

Come on, people. How can you argue with such a sparkling argument?
posted by adampsyche at 8:00 AM on January 9, 2003


As a resident of South Carolina and/or Georgia since 1980, I do not recognize any of those names except Till which I only ran across a couple days ago.

Maybe you had heard of them but you forgot because you consider these people 'flavor of the month'.

What was that about "if you're not part of the solution...?"

In the UK the parents of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered by racists in 1993, have just been awarded OBEs in recognition of the work they've done to ensure similar murders don't happen again and are investigated properly by the police. No doubt some considered his murder 'flavour of the month' but his parents and friends have worked to ensure this wasn't the case by challenging the inertia and apathy that you appear comfortable with.
posted by niceness at 8:16 AM on January 9, 2003


The Michael The: Fratricide has a different type of secondary harm than a bias crime. For the former, there are economic, emotional, pecuniary losses, and so on. But for the latter, there is the knowledge that the offender could have selected anyone else with the same characteristics. In other words, if Timmy wants to kill his daddy it's unlikely that he's going to kill someone else's daddy while he's at it. But if Timmy wants to kill Black people (or white people or women or straight people or British people) there is a whole classification of people who can be harmed -- and people who are not physically injured but who know that there are other Timmies out there and a government that can only do so much to protect them.

Think about those quotes from the Dylan link: "I never hurt a nigger in my life. I like niggers in their place. I know how to work 'em. But I just decided it was time a few people got put on notice." These aren't just crimes against a single person. They're aimed at a group of people and they're experienced by a group of people. That's why they're different. And that's why they deserve more severe punishments.

I'm not sure what you mean by "negatively reinforcing hate crimes." Should the government pretend that there is no race? That people are not victimized because of race? Maybe if we all think together, we can stop the race.
posted by subgenius at 8:24 AM on January 9, 2003


Goodman, Schwermer and Chaney were the three kids killed in Mississippi that sparked the whole "Mississippi Burning" incident.

Viola Liuzzo was a white woman who gave a ride to a couple of black guys returning to Selma, AL from Montgomery, she was murdered just outside of Selma.

St. Jonathan Daniels (or Saint John of Selma, he was actually canonized as a martyr) took a shotgun blast for a young girl shortly after being released from the Haneyville, AL jail. He'd been in Alabama working as a voting rights worker and had participated in the actions in Selma.

What makes me think that the racists remember? Because there are plenty of people that won't let them forget, such as PBS in presenting this documentary. But you know that, you know how much things HAVE changed, and how far they need to go, you live right in the heart of it in SC/GA. It gets harder and harder for bigots to explain to their kids why Martin Luther King was the bad guy and repeating images and stories like these makes it harder each time.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:30 AM on January 9, 2003


To clarify: "Negative reinforcement" means to provide negative consequences for an action, in this case extra prison time etc. for hate crime.

And of course the government should not pretend that there is no race. What about the Boston Marathon? (rimshot).

Seriously, though. It's obvious that people are indeed victimized because of race; people also victimize themselves because of race. It's not possible for the world's population to simultaneously decide to stop being racist. No person or institution should pretend that there is no race, but they should not differentiate because of it. Total legal racial equality is the only viable way, as I see it, to eventually achieve total social racial equality, though the process has and will certainly continue to take a very long time, perhaps hundreds, even thousands of years.

If a governing body with overarching influence, in our case the government of whatever country we live in, pronounces "we're all the same," it will have an effect, though perhaps minute, but eventually it will become a reality. If they do the opposite and pronounce "we're different and we treat each other differently for that reason," then it will only lead to more fracture between races.
posted by The Michael The at 8:37 AM on January 9, 2003


A nation that introduces the practice of wholesale slavery on a mass scale in its colonies to fuel its own industrial revolution, sets those colonies up for a racial disaster down the road.

That doesn't really explain why you held onto slavery long after the mother country had abolished it.

America might have race problems, but at least they don't make monkey sounds or throw bananas at black football players.

Erm, hold on. What you're saying is 'America might still have racial problems to the extent that black men are murdered and horribly mutilated, but at least we don't make monkey sounds or throw bananas at black football players'.

Good argument. You win.

(note to self - don't get involved in silly tit-for-tat rows)
posted by Summer at 9:02 AM on January 9, 2003


For those who are interested, and in Chicago:

There is a free preview showing if the movie at the Chicago Historical Society, followed by a question and answer sessoion Stanley Nelson (the filmmaker) and a tribute to Mamie Till.

January 10, 6:00pm. Reservations are required, and can be made at 312-642-4600
posted by aladfar at 9:44 AM on January 9, 2003


By the way, the PBS documentary is well worth seeing. I saw an advance copy last night (and also last night, CNN aired an obit of Mamie Till that drew heavily from the documentary.) I was blown away at the depth and quality of the storytelling, not to mention how well-produced it was. "American Experience"/WGBH does good work.

And I think that her decision to leave the casket open was not only poignant but groundbreaking -- it started the groundswell that became the civil rights movement. (It predated by around 100 days the Montgomery bus boycott started by Rosa Parks' actions.) Mamie Till should be remembered and commemorated. The climate that led to what she did should be remembered. Her passing only makes the timing even more appropriate.
posted by Vidiot at 9:45 AM on January 9, 2003


>anyone accuse MY country of being any more intolerant
>than another

Yep. Quick, for 50 points, where was the KKK founded, and where did it hold it's annual meetings for about 15 years? Helpful hint, it was the same country that "interned" it's citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII. America shouldn't be the primary location fingers get pointed at, even us "friendly" neighbours to the north have our shameful past.
posted by jkaczor at 10:00 AM on January 9, 2003


Note, if you're in Chicago, there'll be a screening at the Chicago Historical Society, and a Q&A with the filmmaker.
posted by gramcracker at 10:28 AM on January 9, 2003


even us "friendly" neighbours to the north have our shameful past.

There's some dirt on Canada? Dish!
posted by wackybrit at 10:56 AM on January 9, 2003


"What you are doing now sir, is called race-baiting. Harry Belafonte spewed the same vengeful nastiness toward Colin Powell, and Powell's response was:"


What you are doing is advertising a David Horowitz fundraising drive.


What is is with people like Horowitz looking to exploit every opportunity to benefit from a negative comment made by anyone who is not a conservative white male?


If anyone is racebaiting it appears to be Horowitz.


 




posted by Sqwerty at 10:59 AM on January 9, 2003


That doesn't really explain why you held onto slavery long after the mother country had abolished it.

Boy, that 30 years (1834 - 1864) sure was an awfully long time, of course that is if you don't count the "mother country's" practices in India and South Africa that went on long after the US abolished slavery or the fact that at least half the states had abolished slavery by the outbreak of the civil war anyway (thus the war to bring the other half up to speed). On a similar note, it seems rather odd to me that with few exceptions, the former (and present) British territories seem to have some of the most brutal and continuing legacies of racial turbulence (What comes to mind in recent history, besides just America's civil rights movement - Nigeria's attacks on white-owned farms, Australia's treatment of the aborigines, South African apartheid, India/Pakistan's religious warfare, Northern Ireland...) however:

Yep. Quick, for 50 points, where was the KKK founded, and where did it hold it's annual meetings for about 15 years? Helpful hint, it was the same country that "interned" it's citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII. America shouldn't be the primary location fingers get pointed at, even us "friendly" neighbors to the north have our shameful past.

Yeah, quick, what NATO country interred (by the way, interned would be making them do menial office work) jews, gays, roma, unitarians, poles, slavs, russians, you name it and systematically worked them to death or just outright murdered them. What nation gave more lives to overthrow that nation despite its own dictator's brutal policy of ethnic cleansing? What NATO country slaughtered over one million Armenians and has never even admitted to committing such acts?

Great, two can play that game, it still doesn't make us more or less guilty of the same crimes that virtually any nation, race, religion or ethnicity is guilty of committing. If you don't believe me go ask one of Canada's Mohawk warriors!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:20 AM on January 9, 2003


Oh, and by the way the original KKK was founded in a barn near Pulaski, Tennessee by former confederates including Nathan Bedford Forrest. The barn is now a registered historical site. The last time I saw it, it has only survived one arson attempt, surprising not that it survived, but that there was only on attempt!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:38 AM on January 9, 2003


Thanks for the heads up about the pbs airing of this film Y2Karl - I had heard about the film some time ago but might have missed it since I don't watch much tv. What a sad story. Seems like a good thread to insert Billy Holiday singing Strange Fruit.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:17 PM on January 9, 2003


Subgenuis: the problem, for me, isn't that murder is a greater crime because of prejudice toward the victim.

The problem is that the law, in effect, makes a black (or other minority) person's life worth more than mine. Example: I kill three African Americans, in cold blood. Am I prosecuted and sent to prison under hate crimes legislation for some amount of time.

Now, if kill three white people in cold blood, having planned the exact same murders as with the black people, I will potentially be sent to prison for less time. Where is the justice in this?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:03 PM on January 9, 2003


I made this post because I heard Michelle Norris's piece on NPR two days ago plus I had heard the Sutds Terkel interview--and click onto that if you have not--some time ago, which I found incredibly moving. I quoted hama7 because I disagree with the concept and plus his statement was so over the top--and, yes, it was a bit of a dig because of that--but as y6y6y6 noted in the related MetaTalk thread, it's absurd to think I would go to all the effort I did here just to annoy hama7. Such ego.

The fact is, as regards to Emmett Till and the whole civil rights movement, that this happened in my lifetime. As to whether it pornographic to recall it--is it pornographic to remember the Holocaust or Stalin's gulags? The events were not pleasant but what do you want--an oh-those-days-are-past-let's-not-dwell-on-it I'd Like To Get The World To Sing Coke commercial? Life is not a Bennetton ad. I would submit that if it were not for affirmative action, as far as anyone's day job is concerned, there would be no social contact between black and white in the country and that, furthermore, that would be a very bad thing.

It is ironic, too, that a person who never wants us to forget the crimes of Stalin is outraged! outraged! if some of us recall our own more recent history.

He calls this post racebaiting--ha!--and drags in some totally extraneous reference to a very stupid thing Harry Belafonte said so he can quote the infamous racebaiter David Horowitz.

Well, as to race baiting, may I drag in Willie Horton?

Let it be noted that in his autobiography My American Journey, Colin Powell called Ronald Reagan insensitive on racial issues, called Bush’s Horton stunt, a cheap shot and described Mark Fuhrman's infamous interview revealed during the O.J. trial as proof that racism is still alive in America. Do remember, too, that he spoke in favor of affirmative action at the very GOP convention that nominated George W. Bush... and was booed for it.
posted by y2karl at 3:35 PM on January 9, 2003


Yelling At Nothing: INAL but I think the concept of hate crime is being misunderstood. A hate crime is a crime committed out of some form of racial, sexual or religious prejudice. A crime designed to not only injure the direct victim but send a threatening message to a specific group. If a black man, for example, attacked homosexuals, then he would be guilty of a hate crime. A hate crime could be committed against any group of people, even the majority groups.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:37 PM on January 9, 2003


I never heard of the Emmett Till story until seeing this thread, but in reading the account, thought it sounded awfully familiar. The reason, Bebe Moor Campbell wrote (IMHO) an excellent book called "Your blues ain't like mine" which closely mirrors the Till murder. I admit I am some what taken aback as I don't remember any reference in the forward or jacket notes to the Till murder, from which the author clearly took the plot. I do, however, still highly recommend it to anyone interested. Most of the novel is about the lives of the central characters after the murder and trial.
posted by MetalDog at 3:38 PM on January 9, 2003


John Perazzo:
A Slaughter That No One Noticed
The Truth about Hate Crime Statistics
The Ugly Face of Racial Preferences
Inter-Racial Crime: The Dirty Little Secret
John Derbyshire:
Hate (Crime) Cannot Wish Thee Worse
Christopher Chantrill:
Interracial Crime and Table 42
Study: blacks commit 90% of interracial crime
Walter Williams:
Celebrating multiculturalism and diversity
What About Hate Crimes By Blacks?
Thomas Sowell:
Murder is Murder!
Moral Anarchy and its Consequences
Linda Chavez:
Does motivation matter in murder?
Larry Elder:
Revenge of the "Uncle Toms"
When the bad guy is black
Mona Charen:
Hate-crimes laws make it more difficult to achieve convictions
Greg Kay
Hidden Hate Crimes
Last, but not least, R.D. Davis:
When Hate Crime Laws Come To America
posted by hama7 at 4:11 PM on January 9, 2003


James Jacobs and Kimberley Potter:
Increasing "Hate Crime" Punishment Violates American Principles
Charley Reese:
What Makes A Crime Of Prejudice Worse Than Any Other Crime?
Fulton Huxtable:
The Haters of Hate
Richard Cohen:
The Trouble With Hate-Crime Laws
Thomas Sowell:
History Swept Under the Rug
posted by hama7 at 6:34 PM on January 9, 2003


y2karl, tonight I listened to the radio broadcasts that you posted - urged on by your note to click on to the Studs Terkel if we hadn't yet. That interview was so incredibly powerful and moving - what a courageous woman...and no euphemisms there, she puts out the brutal truth, and it's difficult to listen to, but I am glad that I did. I also found the Soundprint radio documentary to be excellent. Thank you for putting this information together...sad as it is, I find it important to come to grips with the grim realities of our recent history.

elwoodwiles, I think you articulated something very important about the essence of what a hate crime is - it isn't just a crime marked by hate, since that might be said of many crimes; rather it would seem to be violence that is designed to create a climate of terror, threats and fear in a particular group. Maybe we should call them "terror" crimes rather than hate crimes because they seem to be to be a form of domestic terrorism.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:07 PM on January 9, 2003


Nice links, hama7. Thanks for reminding me why I can't stomach Thomas Sowell.

Okay, first let's discard the links that focus on affirmative action instead of crime. From your posts above (going in the order in which you linked them), we can get rid of John Perazzo's third, Walter Williams' first, Larry Elder's first, and Thomas Sowell's last: none of them mention crime at all.

Okay, now we can drop a couple others.

....

{Update two hours later} Okay, I was planning on one of my typical tedious point-by-point refutation-type posts that even I don't like reading, but I got distracted when I started skipping from that second Christopher Chantrill link, which took me here, which led me to ask "Who runs this New Century Foundation, anyway?" which led me here, here, here, and finally (as if I hadn't pieced it together by then) here.

Now I'm all distracted and sleepy (I'm on Eastern Standard Time) and suddenly this seems like even more work than I had originally foreseen, so I'll just beg off now and see if things seem more coherent in the morning.

{1 more hour later} Connect this time or die, bastard browser!
posted by tyro urge at 12:25 AM on January 10, 2003


"Even a dog knows the difference between being stepped on and being tripped over," Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said, "To kill with an evil purpose is a far more serious crime than killing recklessly or negligently."

Parallels to the oppositon to Anti-Hate Crime Legislation to Oppositon to Anti-Lynching Legislation in the early 20th Century. by Edward Sebesta

The same parallels are true for certain of the opponents, too.
posted by y2karl at 1:54 PM on January 11, 2003


"To kill with an evil purpose is a far more serious crime than killing recklessly or negligently."

I think that's the difference between murder and manslaughter (or negligent homicide). Further legislation isn't necessary, especially based on race.

And especially if Americans are to live in a society which judges men "by the content of their character" above all.
posted by hama7 at 11:34 PM on January 11, 2003


You are obsessed with race and hate crimes and political correctness to the realm of pathology. You find the "arguments" of Jared Taylor strangely compelling.

Which is why, one guesses, you wall papered this thread and your user page with all those links. Well, at least one can say you're not preaching to the choir here--nor persuading anyone to your point of view. As if that was what you were trying to do...
posted by y2karl at 8:50 PM on February 2, 2003


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