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Sticks and Stones (and words)
April 28, 2005 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Want to see the results of all the hateful anti-gay rhetoric? While other forms of crime continued to fall, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has documented a 4% increase in anti-LGBT crime in 2004, coming on the heels of a 26% increase in the last half of 2003. This spike in violence parallels the exact same period since the Right went into demonic, anti-gay hyperdrive following the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision in July of 2003. Since then, church pews and the public airwaves have been awash in ugly, anti-gay rhetoric and fear-mongering. "These words obviously do not just vanish into the ether - as intended, they are absorbed and become fuel and justification for violence. To say otherwise defies reality. -- The Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (via think-bomb)
And these are just the reported incidents.
posted by amberglow (114 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
More on hate crimes here, including this, on reporting: ...about one-third of the hate crime victims reported the incident to law enforcement authorities, compared with two-thirds of gay and lesbian victims of nonbias crimes. Dr. Dunbar, who studies hate crime in Los Angeles County, has found that victims of severe hate acts (e.g., aggravated and sexual assaults) are the least likely of all hate-crime victims to notify law enforcement agencies, often out of fear of future contact with the perpetrators. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:26 PM on April 28, 2005


Time to agitate the media into publishing this information. Awareness will give people cause to think about what they support and don't support. I should think the outcome will be more toward greater equality and acceptance.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on April 28, 2005


i hope your right fish.
posted by nola at 8:39 PM on April 28, 2005


I should think the outcome will be more toward greater equality and acceptance.

Or historical revisionism.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:42 PM on April 28, 2005


I heard about this a few years ago.
posted by Jon-o at 8:43 PM on April 28, 2005


The last decade has seen a convergence of violent extremists around a cluster of issues: sexual orientation, abortion, immigration, and a variety of white supremacist stances.

Some of the most violent actors have drifted back and forth between these issues and the political communities that agitate around them.

The common element of bias crimes is the targets are vulnerable as a group because of scapegoating and the lack of equal protection under the law.

Eric Rudolph is the most current example, but the 1994 murders in Pensacola signaled the growing overlap between previously separate groups like white supremacists and anti-abortion agitators.

One common element between domestic and international terrorism is the slow shift from terrorism as a form of proxy warfare between states and quasi-state institutions to a more loosely structured collection of revitalization movements with a strong religious component.

This suggests that the techniques for dealing with anti-gay violence have parallel applications to combatting international terrorism like Al Qaida.

The converse is that any administration that is unable to deal with anti-gay violence will also fail at dealing with international terrorism.
posted by warbaby at 8:44 PM on April 28, 2005


I do feel less safe to travel and work around the U.S. Little walls keep popping up in my mind. One Mefite asked why I was so ignorantly anti-Texas. For the first time there are parts of the U.S., including Texas, where I feel decidedly unwelcome, and even unsafe. This is true of the rural Midwest, where I was born and (quite happily) raised.

It seems like the first revolution of a vicious circle. Gay people move out of and avoid Kansas, Ohio, Texas and Western Oregon/Washington state. People stop seeing us as part of the community. It's just another step towards a divided America.

I'm not even sure this is exclusively a gay thing, or a race thing. The right wing stirs up anger. I blame people like Cheney and Bush the most. They put a kind and tolerant seeming face on brutal bigotry and discrimination.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:46 PM on April 28, 2005


For the results of hateful rhetoric, one need look no further than Rwanda.
posted by troutfishing at 8:55 PM on April 28, 2005


amberglow posted "This spike in violence parallels the exact same period since the Right went into demonic, anti-gay hyperdrive following the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision in July of 2003."

One could equally well write "this spike in violence parallels the exact same period since the Homosexual Lobby went into demonic, pro-gay and pro-gay marriage agitation hyperdrive following their victory in the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision in July of 2003."

I'm not saying either interpretation is right; I don't know if anti-gay rhetoric or pro-gay successes, both or neither, sparked the up tick in reported anti-gay violence.

What I do know, and I urge you to repeat with me like a mantra is that "correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation".


What I'll also say it that frankly, it doesn't really matter. Anti-gay violence is wrong regardless of what it stems from. And anti-gay rhetoric is disgusting whether or not it results in anti-gay violence. And equally, it's wrong to suppress free speech, even hateful anti-gay free speech.

And the recent track record of gay activists on free speech is troubling to me -- I refer to gay support for the illegal suppression of speech by Michael Marcavage in Philadelphia and of Ake Green in Sweden.

As an atheist and a self-described liberal, I support gay rights and gay marriage from a libertarian perspective -- that is, whether or not gay sex or gay marriage disgusts anyone, those acts, to quote Jefferson on religious tolerance "neither pick your pocket nor break your leg". So it's especially disheartening to see homosexual activists working simultaneously for their own freedom to do things that disgust some Christians and to limit the the free speech of Christians who say things that disgust gays.
posted by orthogonality at 9:04 PM on April 28, 2005


What happened in 2001 to cause a 12% decline?
posted by smackfu at 9:05 PM on April 28, 2005


And the recent track record of gay activists on free speech is troubling to me -- I refer to gay support for the illegal suppression of speech by Michael Marcavage in Philadelphia and of Ake Green in Sweden.

(Two extreme outliers constitute a track record?)

Anyway, I've been to pride parades in Philadelphia and Marcavage and friends get plenty of space to drive their truck around the roads not blocked off around the foot-traffic parade area.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:09 PM on April 28, 2005


We're moving backwards, folks. But the difference between the bigotry of today's generations and those of 50 or 75 years ago is that isolation and resultant ignorance is no longer a valid excuse. In America today, information and media about other people and ways of life is so much more ubiquitous that ignorance of others--such as would explain bigotry--must be seen as willful ignorance. If not on a personal level, then on an institutional level.
posted by squirrel at 9:11 PM on April 28, 2005


... And the recent track record of gay activists on free speech is troubling to me ...
It's some of that very same speech that encourages violence against us. Statements like "homosexuals should be put to death" are hateful and incite violence. The fact that more and more of that kind of speech has been mainstreamed recently is not something that is without real world effects. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and for every 2 examples you can cite of people who weren't allowed to spread their hateful shit, i can show you thousands of examples of people gleefully doing just that without hindrance. Using a rise in real violence against a group as an opportunity to cite examples of bad non-violent things some in the group do (rarely at that, too) is shitty, to say the least, ortho.
posted by amberglow at 9:12 PM on April 28, 2005


One could equally well write "this spike in violence parallels the exact same period since the Homosexual Lobby went into demonic, pro-gay and pro-gay marriage agitation hyperdrive following their victory in the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision in July of 2003."

As soon as we need to start protecting heterosexuals from roving bands of angry young gays, I'll treat it the same way.

What I do know, and I urge you to repeat with me like a mantra is that "correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation".

And every good social scientist knows that you don't get causation outside of a lab. Too many variables. So let's not make any "assumptions" about the world, and let's definitely not act to counter what may be an illusory problem.

Hey, on a completely different topic, did you know that ostriches do not, in fact, stick their heads in the sand to hide or ignore things but to try to find water?
posted by dreamsign at 9:14 PM on April 28, 2005


It baffles me how people can 'believe' in the words that are attributed the Jesus Christ in the bible, yet act without any concern about living up to that preaching.

I don't believe in their God, don't particularly base any of my ethics or morality on their teachings, and yet find myself looking in the mirror at a better 'Christian' than they are.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:15 PM on April 28, 2005


And these are just the reported incidents.

Is it possible that reporting of hate-crime increased due to the publicity? Or that more crimes that are ambiguous (eg, gay male gets beat up at night, unclear if the motive was due to orientation or just random) were classified as hate crime?

If the statistics hold up then that sucks, but I'm not sure what the point is? Should people not advocate political positions if others might react poorly as a result? I mean, if I were to say "keep Christian bigots out of the Whitehouse" and the result is that more clergy beat up should I stop? If I say "Christians are wrong, hypocritical, and taking control of the government" and a preacher gets shot?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:18 PM on April 28, 2005


And, to be clear, I am very pro-gay rights, pro-sodomy, and pro-gay marriage. This is not an argument about homosexuality itself, it's an argument about free speech and statistics.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:19 PM on April 28, 2005


Also, is it possible that the Supreme Court's decision to get involved in Lawrence instead of leaving it up to the ballot box (which was coming around in favor of gay rights) spurred the wave of violence as those (bigoted and backwards) people who didn't accept gay rights found themselves with no legislative way to express their frustration and instead turned to direct action? That makes them bigoted and backwards (still), but doesn't mean that political dialogue was the problem.

Just throwing out alternative hypotheses in the interest of understanding the problem without having to supress speech.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:24 PM on April 28, 2005


There is a very clear correlation between political agitation on gay issues (because it is so strongly polarized) and violence against gays. The same is true for any of the other scapegoating agitations.

The correlation becomes causation when the agitation for violence is matched up with law enforcement or political leaders signaling permission to the attackers.

It's dumb, but they do it. In Atlanta, Eric Rudolph's bombing against a gay night club was treated in a ho-hum manner by the cops. Then he bombed a clinic and used a second bomb to target emergency responders. Kazango! Now that he was targeting cops, the case became a priority.

But when we nail anti-gay domestic terrorists, they are acting on political motives shared with organizations. There's tons of evidence for this -- most frequently in the collections of political and hate literature found in the terrorists' possession.

So the correlation is due to causation.

Conversely, the withdrawal of the percieved permission to commit these crimes -- we used to call it "erecting a moral barrier against hate" -- is one of the most effective strategies for reducing the violence.

This is why it's important for people to speak out against it.
posted by warbaby at 9:26 PM on April 28, 2005


But that doesn't happen, thedevil. Christians are not a minority without equal rights--they're not a target, nor are they made a target. They're a majority with enormous power. Compare and contrast. And people don't target Christians for violence simply because they're Christian the way they target Blacks, or Hispanics, or Muslims or Sikhs, or gay people, etc.

Personal privacy has never ever been decided at the ballot box--if that were the way to go, there never would be equal rights--only majority rule. Our Constitution specifically set up courts as a check on majority rule.
posted by amberglow at 9:27 PM on April 28, 2005


So it's especially disheartening to see homosexual activists working simultaneously for their own freedom to do things that disgust some Christians and to limit the free speech of Christians who say things that disgust gays.

I agree with almost all of what you wrote, ortho, but the quote in the FPP indicates that the words of the Christians (and others) do not simply disgust gays; the words provoke violence.

These words obviously do not just vanish into the ether - as intended, they are absorbed and become fuel and justification for violence. To say otherwise defies reality.

Do you disagree with this quote?

More abstractly, do you believe that there is such a thing as speech that incites violence? Regardless of whether some anti-gay speech rises to the level of "hate speech", do you believe in "hate speech" per se? If you do, should it be restricted?

Also, as a side note, I think we (all) can have this conversation without going crazy. Let's try to explore and express our differences of perspective with respect. You're doing a good job of that so far, and I hope this thread continues in that manner.
posted by squirrel at 9:29 PM on April 28, 2005


Hey, if fanning the flames of hatred will convince the unwashed masses to elect another stooge who will lower my taxes insteading of providing health insurance for their loved onces; so be it.

Look! There is a queer over there! Go get him!
posted by EmoChild at 9:31 PM on April 28, 2005


Maybe I can use extra $$$ to purchase a better spell checker...
posted by EmoChild at 9:32 PM on April 28, 2005


Just the officially 'hate' crimes you mean.
Which excludes such incidents as the black teens beating the crap out of several white girls on Staten Island recently, including rampant anti-white racist rants, but has yet to be declared a hate crime. So keep your questionable stastistics for BS Daily Show rants.
Stick that in your biased pipe and suck on it.
posted by HTuttle at 9:34 PM on April 28, 2005


amberglow writes "Statements like 'homosexuals should be put to death' are hateful and incite violence. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and for every 2 examples you can cite of people who weren't allowed to spread their hateful shit, i can show you thousands of examples of people gleefully doing just that without hindrance. "

If Marcavage said, "Gays should be killed. amberglow is gay. Let's go kill amberglow now" that would be inciting violence, and that is illegal.

But he isn't saying that: he's saying that gays should be executed by law. That's no different from saying any other class of people should be executed by law. Saying "Murder is a terrible crime. Murderers should be executed" isn't and shouldn't be illegal. Substituting "being gay" for "murder" doesn't and shouldn't make it hate speech. It's hateful, I agree, but it's not hate speech.

"The fact that more and more of that kind of speech has been mainstreamed recently is not something that is without real world effects."

Correlation is not causation. Does anti-gay speech incite anti-gay violence? Probably. But the problem is the illegal violence, not the legal speech.

"Using a rise in real violence against a group as an opportunity to cite examples of bad non-violent things some in the group do (rarely at that, too) is shitty, to say the least, ortho."

But the post isn't just about a rise in violence. If it had been, my comment would have been limited to a "that's terrible". The post is about "words... intended... [to be] absorbed and become fuel and justification for violence." The post refers to a study that purports to find a link between speech and violence, and that is intimately linked to the acts of some in gay movement's recent attempts to limit free speech.

I am heartened to see that you agree that suppressing anti-gay speech is bad, and I hope you'll take the opportunity to take another look at what this post is about. I'd really like to see more gays standing up and saying "We have the right to get married even if it disgusts some people, and people have the right to say anti-gay things even if that speech disgusts us."

I'd like to see that because there's a real belief among some Christians that gay rights mean fewer rights for Christians, that gay marriage somehow threatens their religious freedom to be bigots, and I'd like to take the wind out of that argument as much as possible.
posted by orthogonality at 9:36 PM on April 28, 2005


More abstractly, do you believe that there is such a thing as speech that incites violence? Regardless of whether some anti-gay speech rises to the level of "hate speech", do you believe in "hate speech" per se? If you do, should it be restricted?

The US already restricts speech. You can't threaten a federal official, you can't yell "bomb" in an airport, etc. "Hate speech" can be defined by way of a similar process.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:37 PM on April 28, 2005


On a related note.
posted by mania at 9:39 PM on April 28, 2005


But that doesn't happen, thedevil. Christians are not a minority without equal rights

I know, I was trying to use an example of a group that is not well-loved on MeFi so that I could turn the situation exactly around. Unfortunately I can't think of another example at the moment, but my hypothetical holds.

If it were the case that MeFi christian-bashing was found to be correllated with a rise in anti-christian violence, would you advocate for suppression of that speech on MeFi? In other words, most MeFites feel like they're making a pretty important point when they Christian-bash, would you tell them that it's not important enough and restrict their speech? I know that it's not the case now, but if it were to be?

do you believe that there is such a thing as speech that incites violence?

I think it's quite easy to concede that there exists speech that directly incites violence ("Look, there's a queer over there, get the torches and pitchforks") and seperate that out from legitimate political speech (even if I disagree with it, the statement "Gays are bad for America" is an opinion which anybody can freely hold).

are acting on political motives shared with organizations. There's tons of evidence for this -- most frequently in the collections of political and hate literature found in the terrorists' possession.

No shit that they are going to agree with people who share their views. That's the same statement that "many republicans today were republicans in college" - no kidding. But that doesn't mean that the organization is responsible for individuals taking things too far. The nutcase on the corner shouting that FEMA is about to take over the world probably has some ACLU material at his house, but he doesn't represent the ACLU nor should the ACLU be measured by his actions.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:42 PM on April 28, 2005


The post refers to a study that purports to find a link between speech and violence, and that is intimately linked to the acts of some in gay movement's recent attempts to limit free speech.

Orthogonality, unfortunately, your point is clouded by a difference story of the facts, at least with the Marcavage case.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

City officials said the video did not show the start of the confrontation, when they said Marcavage tried to interrupt a performance with his antigay preaching and then disobeyed a police order to move to the perimeter of the Outfest to avoid the potential for violence.

Year after year, Marcavage is given the right to drive around the perimeter of the pedestrian-zoned parade space. If the City of Philadelphia had an agenda to restrict Marcavage's speech, they would have done so years ago. The bottom line is that he violated his permit conditions this last instance and was summarily arrested and processed.

This is no more a free speech issue — much less does it establish a pattern of the gay community restricting speech — than a heckler being dragged out of a presidential press conference.

You may need better material to claim the gay community is restricting speech. May I politely suggest that you would certainly need a larger sample size to establish a pattern?
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:48 PM on April 28, 2005


Here's a good one - we all agree that pedophelia is a bad thing. I AM NOT COMPARING GAY RIGHTS TO PEDOPHELIA, before anybody gets their panties in a twist. The point is the speech.

Anyway, people on MeFi have made quite a lot of strong statements about pedophiles, some of which come very close to inciting violence.
"Pedophilic desires are sick. To act on those desires, is for lack of a better word, evil."

"I think "bad guy" and "monster" are too simple to describe these fuckers"

"Fuck prison. I would gladly kill him myself."
Now would you advocate that this speech be suppressed given that there actually is a fair amount of violence against sex-offenders (including reformed sex-offenders)? The argument "they're a bad person, so it's okay" doesn't work because that's exactly how the supposed hate-speech flingers in this debate feel about their targets.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:51 PM on April 28, 2005


I am saddened that it is my life we're talking about, and it's not about discussing whether speech should be suppressed--you brought that into this thread yourself--it's not in any of the links i presented. No one in those links is calling for the abolition of free speech. No one here is calling for that. You brought up a few instances of psychos who disobey the police and advocate violence being arrested (and let go).

Fact: there's a real rise in anti-gay rhetoric, from the halls of Congress and the recent Presidential Election, where it was said that gay marriage was a bigger threat than terrorism (Santorum) to church pulpits to talk radio to television to street corner psychos to places like Time and Newsweek. Our culture is far more permeated with rightwing extremists advocating violence--from Ann Coulter, who has advocated violence against Democrats, liberals, and journalists to Senators and Reps speaking of violence against judges to Fred Phelps, longtime hateful ranter/preacher.
Fact: there's a rise in violent attacks against gay people at the very same time.

Questioning why the rise now? is being answered.
If you don't like the answer because you see it as a threat against free speech, that's your right. The reasons for this rise are clearly related to the ratcheting up of hateful speech and its mainstreaming. The rise in public attention (also due to the same people using the Supreme Court case as an opportunity to exploit the denial of, and fear of, equal rights for political and/or financial gain and power) is directly related as well. But Will & Grace being a popular tv hit didn't correspond to a rise in bashing. Vermont civil unions didn't correspond to a rise in bashing--all those were events that gained enormous public attention--so it's safe to rule out simply that public attention alone (due to a court case, or a state's allowing civil unions) is the cause.
posted by amberglow at 9:52 PM on April 28, 2005


squirrel writes "These words obviously do not just vanish into the ether - as intended, they are absorbed and become fuel and justification for violence. To say otherwise defies reality.
"Do you disagree with this quote?"


Well, I can't disagree or agree with that quote, as no supporting evidence is given. It's a claim and nothing more. It may be true, it may not be, but no evidence is given.

Nor do I think real evidence can be given: one might correlate increasing violence to increasing anti-gay speech -- that is, show that both rise together -- but one could as easily correlate the rise in violence to the rise in the number of gays being married legally (Massachusetts, Vermont) or extra-legally (San Francisco, New York).

Some Democrats claim that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to marry gays despite lacking legal ground to do so led to the rise in voter registration by conservative Christians and that their votes are what put Bush over the top in 2004. Do you agree or disagree with that?

"More abstractly, do you believe that there is such a thing as speech that incites violence?"

Sure. If someone says "Let's go kill squirrel" that's inciting violence. And that should be illegal.

But teh Supreme Court has long ruled that teh incitement must be specific and immediate for it to be illagal -- which is why those posters in the MetaFilter "Ailing Pope" thread who cheered his impending death are not in jail.

"Regardless of whether some anti-gay speech rises to the level of 'hate speech', do you believe in 'hate speech' per se? If you do, should it be restricted?"

Honestly, not really. I believe some speech is hateful, but I think hate speech, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Ake Green was merely quoting his Bible. I believe that Leviticus is hateful, but I don't think anything is gained by giving it the necessarily subjective label "hate speech".

And since one man's hate speech is another man's word of God, no, I don't think it ought to be restricted. Doing that leads to both authoritarianism and eventually to religious war. (Let's recall that the establishment of freedom of religion in America was to some great degree a pragmatic response to centuries of religious war in general and specifically to the English Civil War. And let's remember that freedom of speech originated in religious freedom of speech, a right to preach whatever heresy you wanted -- the earliest martyrs to the cause of free speech were Baptist and quakers who were executed by burning -- ironically, exactly what some Christians would today like to do to gays. )
posted by orthogonality at 9:52 PM on April 28, 2005


squirrel: Free speech only grazes the central issue. It's more like William O. Douglas used to say "Bad speech demands good speech."

I personally don't buy any of the arguments that invoke "hate speech" as a concept, I think it's deeply flawed as a way of confronting agitation that leads to violence. We know that violent actors go through a very long process of becoming violent. One of the critical aspects of this is their perception of societal permission for their acts.

So making free speech the central issue simply doesn't address this. In fact, treating incitement to violence as a debate frequently is interpreted as a form of permission to commit violence -- because it can establish a false equivalence between civil and uncivil society.

This is one reason why we actively discourage things like debating holocaust deniers (for example).

The more successful interventions have been more like public health campaigns than political campaigns.

So, for these reasons, I disagree with orthogonality. His position sounds reasonable, but is actually very provocative to the people who commit these crimes.

on preview: "Correlation is not causation. Does anti-gay speech incite anti-gay violence? Probably. But the problem is the illegal violence, not the legal speech."

This is a little mixed up. Among the people who study, investigate and intervene in bias crimes, there is widespread agreement that causation applies here. Anti-gay agitation does cause an increase in anti-gay violence.

And the problem is indeed the violence, not the speech. The question is: how to successfully intervene against the violence?
posted by warbaby at 9:55 PM on April 28, 2005


Fact: there's a real rise in anti-gay rhetoric
...
Fact: there's a rise in violent attacks against gay people at the very same time


Yes, we all agree that violence against gays (or any group) because of their status sucks. And the people who do it should be brought to justice. But people are trying to figure out if both of the above are driven by some third factor, eg, Lawrence itself.

The argument "I'm not trying to restrict speech" is a bit weak. You're either arguing that the speech should be stopped by the government, or that the political speakers should not talk about controversial issues. Either way, it's bad news.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:55 PM on April 28, 2005


Come to Canada! We welcome diversity here.
posted by numbers at 10:01 PM on April 28, 2005


Personal privacy has never ever been decided at the ballot box--if that were the way to go, there never would be equal rights--only majority rule. Our Constitution specifically set up courts as a check on majority rule.

I agree, but one man's "privacy" is another man's "criminal conduct." We all agree that pedophelia shouldn't be allowed even if it takes place in private. (note to panty-twisters: again, not comparing the two activities, just using a recent example. I am pro-gay rights at the ballot box and proudy stood outside the SF city hall last February and cheered). "Privacy" is not an umbrella right that covers everything.

You say "well, sodomy is different than pedophelia because one is bad and one isn't" (to cut it short). I agree with you, but not everybody in the US does. When the Supreme Court gets involved they take sides on that debate and it cuts off legitimate democratic discourse.

It wasn't that long ago that the Supreme Court said "look, we're not getting involved in deciding if sodomy is a good thing or a bad thing" ("This case does not require a judgment on whether laws against sodomy between consenting adults in general, or between homosexuals in particular, are wise or desirable"). The sudden change of mind (15 years is amazingly fast in SCOTUS terms) made the court look poltiical.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:03 PM on April 28, 2005


No one is calling for its restriction, ortho (& thedevil)--you're putting those words and intentions into our mouths, and you're wrong. Pointing out a cause does not mean that the only solution to stop the violence is by restricting the rights of those spouting those words. You assuming that is sad, and wrong, and says far more about you than about anyone in the links presented or in this thread. Your continuing to press that assumption is puzzling. Its our lives and health and safety that are being damaged, yet you think that we want to take away the first amendment rights of haters??? One does not follow the other.

warbaby has it exactly right--the problem is the violence. The fact that the inciteful speech has risen so much and is propagated more thoroughly and being normalized is being put forward as a reason why the violence is occurring. Active law enforcement action and prosecution and publication of those arrests and convictions--something not being done at all-- against those committing anti-gay crimes is a far more effective solution than restricting others rights. Restricting rights is actually the last thing we who want rights would do--we're not that dumb.
posted by amberglow at 10:04 PM on April 28, 2005


This paragraph seems a little strange considering that the distillation of the report consisted entirely of percentages from the previous year:
"Though we consider this a new edition of the annual NCAVP report published since 1994, excepting of general trend information and referential needs, it is important for readers to view the information and data herein, not so much in comparison to that contained in previous or future reports, but essentially as discreet same-location analyses for a twelve-month period. This is the case both because of new information received by participating programs on incidents that occurred in prior reporting periods, as well as the variability of reporting programs from year-to-year, rendering report-to-report comparisons inappropriate. Prior editions of this report are referenced, but only to assist in the provision of a broader context for the analysis of the data comparisons being made in the 2003-4 reporting period. "
In fact it seems like an admission that their statistics aren't reliable for in any deterministic fashion.

The NCAVP isn't very forthcoming about their methodology but paragraphs like this:
"NCAVP has typically introduced this report by characterizing the problem of anti-LGBT violence in the U.S. with terms drawn more from epidemiology than from criminal science. This approach emphasizes the broad and pervasive nature of acts that are frequently dismissed as isolated or random incidents. Past editions of this report have also stressed that anti-LGBT violence is revelatory of social pathologies more fundamental, and ultimately more dangerous, than other violent crime. That is not only because violence rooted in the hatred of difference has fueled most of the shameful chapters in our own national history, but because it also accounts for a large share of the human tragedies unfolding throughout the world today."
cause me to question how much their statistics actually correlate with reality and how much is simply them reading their, admittedly admirable, agenda into the data. Admittedly I didn't read the report in its entirety but from a brief perusal I could find nothing to indicate any attempt at a objective attempt to find causation.

Why does the bias section of their incident tracking form include classifications for Anti-Immigrant, Disability, Domestic Violence, Economic, Religious, and Sexist, none of which would seem to in any way contribute to the data on a specific rising anti-gay motive. I certainly hope any incidents that involved only one of those categories and not a homophobic motive as well were not included into the totals but I could not find any indication in their report on whether they accounted for this. In fact unless I'm reading the report incorrectly, a distinct possibility as I'm no rocket surgeon and it is formatted kind of funny, the Total for all Bias classifications is only 715. Did they not collect the data on the other 1000 some incidents, which would seem strange considering their purpose is to track antigay motivated violence?
I'm also curious about statistics like these:
Bias Classification 2003 2004 % +/-
Not reported by victim as bias: 110 130 18%
No bias classification available: 149 193 30%
Unknown: 164 226 38%

I see nothing wrong with an organization simply being a support and advocacy group for LGBT persons in all capacities, be they related to their sexuality or not, but this organization seems to be attempting to gather generic data and then shape it into something that is ancillary to these person's sexuality. However, if I read the data wrong please disregard all of the above objections and write me to receive a full refund of any of your time wasted.
posted by Endymion at 10:05 PM on April 28, 2005


Restricting rights is actually the last thing we who want rights would do--we're not that dumb.

Cool, then we're on the same page. In some other comments on this thread (not yours, amberglow), I'm getting a sense that it's not gov't restriction that people are after (too obvious), but more of a "for shame on you for addressing controversial issues of the day" sort of approach. Ie, "Christians are really bad for daring to express their feelings in a way that quesitons a group." I disagree with their statements, but social pressure against them to not speak about an issue they see as incredibly important is just as bad as gov't pressure in my book. Again, I disagree with their message, but creating PC-zones around certain topics seems bad for the country in the long-run.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:08 PM on April 28, 2005


here's the nyc info from our Anti-Violence project-maybe that will clear that up, Endymion? I think local and state anti-violence and human rights groups each sent their local data to that group, where it was compiled.
posted by amberglow at 10:10 PM on April 28, 2005


Endymion: The data looks like it does because it is collected by different agencies and then is collated. There is not a standard data collection form. The problem is well-understood and is accounted for in the analysis.
posted by warbaby at 10:11 PM on April 28, 2005


AlexReynolds writes "[o]rthogonality, unfortunately, your point is clouded by a difference story of the facts, at least with the Marcavage case."

The police arrested him, at the behest of the Gay Pride organizers. The District Attorney charged him with multiple crimes, charges carrying sentences of up to forty-seven years in prison -- forty-seven years merely for speaking.

Judge Dembe, who knows the facts of the case better than either one of us, dismissed the charges:
In her ruling, she summed up the constitutional aspect of the case, and while about half the crowd was disappointed with her ruling, few questioned her logic.

"Let’s get back to some basics here," Dembe said. "This is one of the few countries that protects unpopular speech."

Dembe said the Nazi Party has a right to spread its message in the streets, as does the Ku Klux Klan. And so does Marcavage, like it or not, she said.

She noted that the videotape showed no violence or threatening behavior by anyone.

She said the commonwealth’s case seemed to revolve around a fear that Marcavage and his message was "offensive," and "upsetting" the crowd. That, however, does not a criminal make. Even if the crowd was preparing to riot, which it didn’t appear it was, the police still had no right to remove the source of the crowd’s frustration, regardless of how offensive some might find his message.

America guarantees its citizens the right to speak their minds, the judge ruled.

"We cannot stifle speech because we don’t want to hear it," she said
AlexReynolds continues: "Year after year, Marcavage is given the right to drive around the perimeter of the pedestrian-zoned parade space....This is no more a free speech issue — much less does it establish a pattern of the gay community restricting speech — than a heckler being dragged out of a presidential press conference."

No, no no! No! This is where you miss the point. He's not given that right: he has that right by virtue of being born. Not born American, by being born!

I hate to compare you to Steve, but I'll say to you the same thing I said to Steve_at_Linnwood when Steve made a similar mistake:
The genius of the U.S. Constitution is that it acknowledges fundamental rights are a the birthright of men (or a gift of from their Creator), so the Constitution doesn't even waste time presuming to grant to men rights we already possess.

Instead, the Constitution aims to safeguard those already existing individual rights, by limiting the rights of the government to encroach upon individuals' rights.

There is no need for the Constitution to give us a right to free speech, as we never gave up that right to government. Instead, the Constitution strictly delimits, in the First Amendment how careful the government must be to not trample on the liberty.
posted by orthogonality at 10:15 PM on April 28, 2005


There is not a standard data collection form. The problem is well-understood and is accounted for in the analysis.

I'm always wary of phrases like that without seeing the methodology. I used to work as a management consultant (yes, I sold out to the man, but I've since recovered my soul) and we could always craft data into whatever shape we wanted under the guise of "correcting the irregularities." If we wanted to show an upward trend it was a simple matter of assuming that reporting decreased over the time period in question. If we wanted to show a downward trend then reporting increased.

I don't have any reason to suspect that the NCAVP was trying to manipulate the data at all, but when there are issues about "well, it wasn't reported as a crime motivated by orientation, but the victim was gay" I get nervous about the quality of the analysis.

Amberglow, your link says that "The report showed that there were 656 incidents reported in the region in 2004, down 2% from 2003" but the problem is that it still doesn't disclose the methodology used to decide if a crime was hate-related or not. When you find a dead gay man, how do you know if he was killed because or despite of his orientation? It's a legitimate question in all kinds of contexts, not just this one.

And, yes, we all need to stop the violence.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:19 PM on April 28, 2005


amberglow writes "No one is calling for its restriction, ortho (& thedevil)--you're putting those words and intentions into our mouths, and you're wrong."

Oh, you gays are always wanting me to put something in your mouths. Especially when I go to leather bars. (It's a friendly joke!)

"Restricting rights is actually the last thing we who want rights would do--we're not that dumb."

Great, then we're almost on the same page -- now get out there and stand up and say "I'm queer, I'm here, and I'm for free speech even if it's anti-gay!"

But I have a suspicions -- I hope I'm wrong -- that this report will be used by some gays to argue for restrictions on "hate speech". I'm glad to know that you're not stupid enough to be sucked in my that.
posted by orthogonality at 10:21 PM on April 28, 2005


The police should have arrested him for disturbing the peace and disobeying their orders. The fact that they didn't, and the event organizers had to step in and get them to is very telling and relevant.

thedevil, from the AVP site:
Bias crimes-ranging from harassment to assault to murder- are committed against people because of who they are or how they are perceived by the "perpetrator." Bias crimes against LGTBH people are growing increasingly violent and have recently become front-page news.

AVP offers help to victims of bias crimes. Our hotline provides crisis counseling around the clock, while staff members offer intensive short-term counseling. In addition, staff and trained volunteers may accompany victims to the police station to help file a complaint, to make sure that police document the assault as a bias crime when appropriate, and to help file claims for emergency benefits from the NYS Crime Victims Board.


ortho, your suspicions are baseless, and unsupported by fact. Dig up links that prove what you think.
posted by amberglow at 10:24 PM on April 28, 2005


But the problem is the illegal violence, not the legal speech.

Nah, the problem is The Stupid. The stupid are easily made afraid. Fear makes the stupid go tribal, and fear of the Other is where violence has its root.

When you attack the symptom you merely postpone the inevitable. Because The Stupid is everywhere.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:29 PM on April 28, 2005


to make sure that police document the assault as a bias crime when appropriate

Amberglow, I know, I read that part... but not 100% of hate-crime victims go to AVP. And, even your first post conceded that "about one-third of the hate crime victims reported the incident to law enforcement authorities."

The point is that there is some level of hate-crime in the US. We don't know what that level is, but it's clearly higher than how much gets reported. When the amount of reported hate-crime changes is it because there was an increase in the total amount of hate-crime, or because a larger percentage of victims chose to report it? Not every victim tells anybody about the crime (not AVP, not the police), or even if they tell anybody that there was a crime they might not report their orientation.

It's quite possible that there was a larger increase in the total hate-crimes in 2003-4 because gay men might have been afraid to tell police why they were attacked. Or, there might have been a smaller increase because admirable organiations like AVP made sure that a higher percentage were reported.

Either one is possible without knowing more about the methodology.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:29 PM on April 28, 2005


thedevildancedlightly: There's noise in the data, ok? Some areas don't have bias crime statutes, so they only report the crime, not the bias motive. In many cases, the perp is unknown and so the motive is unknown. This is particularly true in robbery with violence cases.

If you don't have reasons, find some before you start introducing unfounded assumptions, because Occam's Razor should slice that sort of stuff right up.

I haven't seen their methodology either, but their report is consistent with decades of similar studies about bias crimes, so I don't have any reasons to be throwing stones at it.
posted by warbaby at 10:30 PM on April 28, 2005


Um, it seems a lot of people don't know what actually constitutes hate speech. Hate speech acts, like the bomb shout in the crowded theatre, depends heavily on context. There are literally thousands of examples, big and small, where speech directly caused--that is, incited--the violent acts that followed it. To deny the existence of 'hate speech' is just to delude oneself. After Rwanda this isn't even a question anymore.

The funny thing is, making abstract statements like 'all gays should be executed' over the radio in the USA is rarely considered hate speech by the government. People make just these sorts of statements every single day and not only are they not censored, they're often encouraged by their local politicians who follow up fiery rhetoric with fiery rhetoric. So 'Christians saying disgusting things about gays' is simply not an issue of hate speech or free speech. Nor is saying 'I want to kill pedophiles'.

The real issue here is that the current administration and its politics has all but guaranteed that all but the most brutal hate crimes will receive little to no media attention. Violence against gays will continue to rise but it'll do so behind a curtain. Hopefully it won't reach the point of lynchings like in the good ol' days but honestly nothing would surprise me at this point. (Bombings will be played down because the Palestinians have so thoroughly co-opted the tactic.) I'm sure the zealots out there have already considered the potential media impact of such acts and are just waiting for the right time...
posted by nixerman at 10:36 PM on April 28, 2005


warbaby writes " If you don't have reasons, find some before you start introducing unfounded assumptions, because Occam's Razor should slice that sort of stuff right up."

thedevildancedlightly is just exercising due diligence and applying necessary critical eye to the study. Telling him he doesn't have reasons is unfair, and your harsh tone when you write "find some before you start introducing unfounded assumptions" is both unnecessary and detrimental to the polite disagreement we've been engaging in up to this point.
posted by orthogonality at 10:38 PM on April 28, 2005


Occam's Razor should slice that sort of stuff right up

Explanation 1: Increased awareness of hate-crime led to an increase in the reporting of hate-crime.

Explanation 2: Increased fear about hate-crime led to a decrease in the reporting of hate-crime.

Explanation 3: Speech by conservative christians about homosexual lifestyles led to an increase in the number of people comitting hate-crimes.

They all seem about even in terms of complexity. Not sure how Occam's razor has anything to do with this. Frankly, the explanation that "an anti-gay crime organization inflated the number of anti-gay crimes to gain attention" seems like the easiest (hence most Occam-friendly) explanation, but I don't think that's the case here. So put down the razor before you hurt yourself.

before you start introducing unfounded assumptions

I'm actually questioning the assumptions of somebody else. It's called being critical. I'm quite open to the possibility that there was a greater increase in hate-crime than was reported.

Any statistical data has limits to its validity. It's hardly an unfounded assumption that any set of statistics may have selection bias, reporting bias, or any number of other problems. If I were to link to a study purporting to show that children of gay parents had more social troubles then the first thing you'd do would be to attack the statistics. (incidentally, I don't believe that, but it's an example)

If you don't have reasons

Free speech is pretty important to me so it makes sense to me to know in detail how reliable the studies are connecting a type of speech to a type of crime. What better reason do you need?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:41 PM on April 28, 2005


On preview, what orthagonality said.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:43 PM on April 28, 2005


orthogonality writes " But he isn't saying that: he's saying that gays should be executed by law. That's no different from saying any other class of people should be executed by law. Saying 'Murder is a terrible crime. Murderers should be executed' isn't and shouldn't be illegal. Substituting 'being gay' for 'murder' doesn't and shouldn't make it hate speech. It's hateful, I agree, but it's not hate speech."

"But he isn't saying that: he's saying that blacks should be executed by law. That's no different from saying any other class of people should be executed by law. Saying 'Murder is a terrible crime. Murderers should be executed' isn't and shouldn't be illegal. Substituting 'being black' for 'murder' doesn't and shouldn't make it hate speech. It's hateful, I agree, but it's not hate speech."

"But he isn't saying that: he's saying that Jews should be executed by law. That's no different from saying any other class of people should be executed by law. Saying 'Murder is a terrible crime. Murderers should be executed' isn't and shouldn't be illegal. Substituting 'being Jew' for 'murder' doesn't and shouldn't make it hate speech. It's hateful, I agree, but it's not hate speech."

I think this alternate versions make it easier to understand the "hate speech" problem. Bey the way, constructing analogies comparing "being gay" to crimes like murder or pedhophilia (like I saw in this thread) is dishonest unless you think being gay means you are a criminal.
posted by nkyad at 10:48 PM on April 28, 2005


So maybe we just need to call for more anti-hate speech. Ask that our politicians actively speak out against it, regardless of their party. Make it clear that anti-GLBT violence is simply unacceptable. Get Bush to say that it's okay to vote against GLBT people, but it's never okay to use physical violence.



A type of violence that particularly affects me.
posted by jiawen at 10:55 PM on April 28, 2005


Hey, now. No disrepect. Is it the adjectives or what?

thedevildanced lightly wrote: I don't have any reason to suspect that the NCAVP was trying to manipulate the data at all, but when there are issues about "well, it wasn't reported as a crime motivated by orientation, but the victim was gay" I get nervous about the quality of the analysis.

So he doesn't have "any reason" and he's "nervous about the quality of the analysis."

So our replies got crossed in the mail... I'm just saying there isn't any reason to be nervous.

The "crime wave" aspect of success in combatting bias crimes producing an increase in reporting is well known. As a matter of fact, we used to predict it when we did interventions.

Yes, indeedy. Increased reporting leads to increased reporting.
posted by warbaby at 10:57 PM on April 28, 2005


nkyad writes " I think this alternate versions make it easier to understand the 'hate speech' problem. Bey the way, constructing analogies comparing 'being gay' to crimes like murder or pedhophilia (sic) (like I saw in this thread) is dishonest unless you think being gay means you are a criminal."

Yeah, but Marcavage does believe being gay (well, more precisely, engaging in gay sex, I suppose) is criminal. Which was my point. ( don't, but it's not my free speech we're talking about.)

Saying blacks or Jews should be executed by law is pretty much what the Klan or the American Nazis say. And yet, it is and should be legal for them to hold their marches and make their speeches and yes, call for blacks or Jews to be executed (or rounded up, or deported, or whatever the Kluxers and the Nazis are proposing this week).

posted by orthogonality at 10:58 PM on April 28, 2005


Great, then we're almost on the same page -- now get out there and stand up and say "I'm queer, I'm here, and I'm for free speech even if it's anti-gay!"

Who is restricting speech?
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:03 PM on April 28, 2005


whatever the Kluxers and the Nazis are proposing this week

I think this weekend they're doing home makeovers, making doilies, and practicing their golf. Next week is the rounding-up and deportation speech. It's so easy to get them mixed-up sometimes.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:05 PM on April 28, 2005


Who is restricting speech?

I think nykad might be, but I can't really tell. If nobody is then that's great!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:07 PM on April 28, 2005


You know, I've said this before, but I think my if not disagreement then discomfort with what orthogonality just said is based on pronouns as much as anything.

By this I mean that an individual should clearly have every right to entirely free speech, and the responsibility for taking the consequences of such speech, but I am less comfortable with the same right extended in the same way for organizations, corporations, political parties and so on.

This is thorny and difficult, and like I said, I've argued the point before, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:10 PM on April 28, 2005


stavrosthewonderchicken writes "By this I mean that an individual should clearly have every right to entirely free speech, and the responsibility for taking the consequences of such speech, but I am less comfortable with the same right extended in the same way for organizations, corporations, political parties and so on."

All those organizations are just collections of people.
posted by orthogonality at 11:15 PM on April 28, 2005


Yes, precisely.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:50 PM on April 28, 2005


You know, stavros has a point. Lighting matches wouldn't be such a problem if it weren't for all the gasoline. A side point, but a good one. *chuckle*
posted by squirrel at 12:23 AM on April 29, 2005


So let me get this straight:

It's not inciting violence (and more specifically hate violence) if you're just saying that it should be perpetrated by the government?

Let me ask you a question. Let's say you wanted to incite violence, but not be legally held accountable for doing so. How would you go about doing it?

Here are some other questions. Who censored Jerry Falwell when he said that everyone should pray that something terrible happens to activist judges so that they mend their ways? I'll tell you who: no one.

Who censors godhatesfags.com? No one.

Who censors GWB? Schwarzenegger? Rove? Cheney? No one.

Here's the deal. It is bigotry to say that being gay is criminal. It is not legally inciting violence, but it is actually inciting violence. You can say that correlation is not causality all you want, but since absolutely nothing is causality, that renders your argument completely moot. See, when you want to find out why something is happening, you start with likely correlations.

To say that hate crimes against gays have increased in correlation to a period of public outcry by bigoted officials against gays, and that that lends almost undeniably strong credence to a causal relationship isn't wrong, nor an exaggeration.

Furthermore, I'm well aware of the fact that you understand the restrictions placed on free speech under American law. Which means that I'm going to assume you're aware of the "captive audience" clause of our right to free speech. Believe it or not, it's not okay to preach like that to people attending a rally if they don't want to hear you. It's also not okay to do it in a subway car, airplane, or other public space.

Ultimately arguments like your defenses of Marcavage are the same as saying "I think that People during the civil rights era, while I don't agree with them, had the right to go to schools that didn't have black kids in them. It didn't pick their pockets or break their arms."
posted by shmegegge at 12:56 AM on April 29, 2005


I'm going to assume you're aware of the "captive audience" clause of our right to free speech. Believe it or not, it's not okay to preach like that to people attending a rally if they don't want to hear you.

Actually that's not true. I assume you're basing your opinion on Public Utilities Comission v. Pollack (1952, holding that a streetcar is a captive audience and the government ). Unfortunately the doctrine was limited significantly by Cohen v. California (1971, holding that "those in the Los Angeles courthouse could effectively avoid further bombardment of their sensibilities simply by averting their eyes").

Basically there are two problems with your reasoning:

1 - Even under Pollak the standard is not that "they don't want to hear you", but rather reasonable regulation of the mode of speech. The speaker must still be allowed to speak, but the government is free to place reasonable limits on how you may go about it. The speech is still legal, but the government could limit the use of megaphones, etc. The Court in Pollak explicitly chose not to decide if "it has been suggested that the First Amendment guarantees a freedom to listen only to such points of view as the listener wishes to hear."

2 - Under Cohen, which controls Pollak, the Court ruled that "we are often 'captives' outside the sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech. The ability of government, consonant with the Constitution, to shut off discourse solely to protect others from hearing it is, in other words, dependent upon a showing that substantial privacy interests are being invaded in an essentially intolerable manner. Any broader view of this authority would effectively empower a majority to silence dissidents simply as a matter of personal predilections." Basically, the protection for "captive audience" is very limited - a public courthouse is not a "captive audience" under Cohen and therefore speech is subject to no special regulations.

It's further doubtful that voluntary attendance at a rally makes one a "captive audience", even if you weren't there to hear the particular viewpoint being expressed. Choosing to attend a poltiical rally of one stripe opens one to political speech from the opposition. I think the key is that the Court chose not to address that in Pollak ("[We choose not to decide whether] the First Amendment guarantees a freedom to listen only to such points of view as the listener wishes to hear." Futher, in Pollak the key to the majority's opinion was that riding the subway was a necessity for some users - they had no other option. In contrast, a variety of public venues that users choose to visit are not "captive audiences", even dorms and dining halls.

"The captive-audience doctrine never has been applied to listeners in public places of recreation and entertainment, places to which people voluntarily go for the particular purpose of engaging in expressive activity" (cite)

The real killer to your logic are anti-abortion protets outside clinics. Despite the fact that the listener just wants to go to the clinic and doesn't want to hear the speech, the protesters are still free to yell all they want. It took a controversial Supreme Court case to even get reasonable regulation of where they could stand (but not what they could say).

The only real restriction is that you can't force listeners to hear your message when they are inside their homes. So, it seems that Marcavage is not exempted from the 1st Amendment, no matter how much we may agree or disagree with his soeech.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:27 AM on April 29, 2005


The real key is: "The captive-audience doctrine never has been applied to listeners in public places ... to which people voluntarily go for the particular purpose of engaging in expressive activity." A rally is clearly expressive activity. First Amendment applies. Sorry.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:33 AM on April 29, 2005


These words obviously do not just vanish into the ether - as intended

I don't think the people making the statements necessarily intend for them to "vanish into the ether"; they want them to sink it and brainwash people into this shit.
posted by Doohickie at 4:13 AM on April 29, 2005


Isn't there a difference between advocating government censorship (in violation of the constitution) and advocating a cultural shift toward condemnation of people like Coulter and Falwell? I would feel perfectly comfortable supporting an organization that attempts to get those people out of the airwaves via publicity and economic pressure. I just don't hold with the Government restricting hate speech, for various reasons, including that such restrictions can just as easily come back to bite you in the ass, for example they can be used to prosecute 'anti-Christian' rhetoric.

And on another note, isn't it possible that the incidences of reported hate crimes has increased because gays and lesbians feel more comfortable and confident with the police, that they are more likely to take the accusations seriously, than perhaps years ago? That perhaps the crimes have not actually increased but just the openness and lack of shame about being the victim of a hate crime? Just an idea, I am not a social scientist.
posted by miss tea at 4:24 AM on April 29, 2005


well hot damn.

so much for the captive audience theory.

I maintain the rest of my comment, though.

I'm gonna go cry, now.
posted by shmegegge at 4:31 AM on April 29, 2005


miss tea:

Comfort with the police doesn't rise that much over such a short period of time, I don't think. when you say "that they are more likely to take the accusations seriously, than perhaps years ago?" in this instance would mean 2 years ago. That's an extremely short time for an entire organization to not only change their opinion of a difficult issue, but to then give a convincing appearance through their actions of having done so. Then on top of that the community at large needs time to notice and then change their entrenched feelings of distrust. I just don't see it.
posted by shmegegge at 4:36 AM on April 29, 2005


shmegegge: point well taken. However, I am talking less about the police as an organization changing their attitudes toward gay people, and more about the gay people feeling more comfortable with the police because of legal advances. However, it's just an idea, I don't have any evidence to back it up.
posted by miss tea at 6:05 AM on April 29, 2005


Maybe it's time to revive the Lavender Panthers. If the government won't protect gay people, they have a right to protect themselves, and it'd get people to start taking this shit seriously.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 AM on April 29, 2005


miss tea writes "Isn't there a difference between advocating government censorship (in violation of the constitution) and advocating a cultural shift toward condemnation of people like Coulter and Falwell? I would feel perfectly comfortable supporting an organization that attempts to get those people out of the airwaves via publicity and economic pressure."

Fully agreed.

"I just don't hold with the Government restricting hate speech, for various reasons, including that such restrictions can just as easily come back to bite you in the ass, for example they can be used to prosecute 'anti-Christian' rhetoric."

That's what worries me too.


"And on another note, isn't it possible that the incidences of reported hate crimes has increased because gays and lesbians feel more comfortable and confident with the police, that they are more likely to take the accusations seriously, than perhaps years ago? That perhaps the crimes have not actually increased but just the openness and lack of shame about being the victim of a hate crime? Just an idea, I am not a social scientist."

Good idea and likely right. thedevildancedlightly goes into that and other methodology "gotchas" up-thread.
posted by orthogonality at 6:44 AM on April 29, 2005


Sounds like it's time for the homosexuals to join en masse the NRA.
posted by wfrgms at 6:44 AM on April 29, 2005


miss tea, the policy and attitude of the police are critical. It matters very little what the targets of bias attacks think, say or do about the violence, if the criminal justice establishment permits the criminal activity.

A slight change in police posture towards providing protection against bias crime (fer example) has an immediate effect on reporting rates.

The reason is that if the police are unresponsive (thereby depriving people of equal protection) to bias crime, people won't report (what's the point? it's just insult to injury) and perpetrators are uninhibited (why should they be? the crimes are never prosecuted).

This creates a situation where there is an unsatisfied demand for intervention by the criminal justice system, as well as falsely low reporting rates.

Straighten the cops out, even a little bit, and you get a positive feedback situation. Reporting goes up, crime rate goes up -- voila! A crime wave.

The underlying pattern of conduct changes much more slowly, but change it does.

But it's not the target's fault. A lot of the arguments upthread, the free speech derail and such, don't address the cause of bias crime -- which is the topic of the FPP.

Instead, these arguments subtly and erroneously assume that gays cause bias crime or that somehow they "deserve" it. I don't think it's malicious or anything like that. It's just avoidance behavior.
posted by warbaby at 6:45 AM on April 29, 2005


Armed self defense has a mixed record. The Black Panthers were a disasterous failure. The lesser-know Deacons for Defense, on the other hand, played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights struggle in the deep South.

Here's a review of the only published history on the Deacons and here's some background on the author of the book.

Armed community defense is a desperate strategy and one that is unlikely to succeed if other means are not exhausted first.
posted by warbaby at 7:01 AM on April 29, 2005


Armed community defense is a desperate strategy and one that is unlikely to succeed if other means are not exhausted first.

I didn't even say armed, neccessarily. But, if gays (or straights in a gay neighborhood for that matter) see gays getting physically attacked they should definitely help their community members defend themselves.

Even just the presence of a Guardian Angels style patrol in gay neighborhoods will send a message to would be bashers that people aren't going to take this shit lying down.
posted by jonmc at 7:08 AM on April 29, 2005


Actually, jonmc, you did say armed, necessarily. Or rather your link did:

"We didn't even ask questions," said the Rev. Ray Broshears, 38. "We just took out our pool cues and started flailing ass."
posted by warbaby at 7:14 AM on April 29, 2005


that the Black Panthers were a complete failure is debatable. the fact that they ceased to exist doesn't mean that they failed. I am quite sure gays, not just in America of course, need a Huey Newton-like leader pronto. not to mention, the FBI's attempts to inflitrate the Rainbow Panthers would be fucking funny to watch


people aren't going to take this shit lying down.

except the coprophiles, jon
posted by matteo at 7:18 AM on April 29, 2005


I'm not suggesting for a second that anti-gay violence is anything less than repugnant, but I think The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs might have a vested interest in a statistical rise in hate crimes.

Not that it doesn't mean it didn't happen. But I'd like to hear it from a group that doesn't depend on outrage to get money.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:19 AM on April 29, 2005


Well, you know what, warbaby, I detest bullying of any kind especially when it's on the "weak."* But when bullies find out that their actions are going to cost them, that's a real deterrent.

*I mean weak as in outnumbered, not physically weak, just to be clear.

need a Huey Newton-like leader pronto.

Well, Huey by all reports was a mixed bag, but I get your point.
posted by jonmc at 7:23 AM on April 29, 2005


Here's one source, Mr. Mayor.

The feds stats are notorious for underreporting and lack of uniform data collection methods. These are from 2003, but you get the drift.

The "I'm not... but" construct seems to be popping up a lot these days. Is this a new fashion?
posted by warbaby at 7:31 AM on April 29, 2005


The police still are unresponsive in many areas of the country. Reporting rates have not gone up 26% in one year--there hasn't been any change in police training. This explains (and it's old but not much has changed)--even when a bias crime occurs, it may or may not be reported and classified as one by the police--that's still true. NYC police only get 12 hours of training on it.)

and welcome, jiawen--we do need more counteracting speech, but speech about respect for others and how violence never solves anything is invisible (and silenced) in our public discourse lately--it wasn't so when i was younger. And newer versions of "Free to Be You and Me" etc, are now attacked for promoting homosexuality--see Dobson/Spongebob--which turns them into yet another soapbox for anti-gay sentiment given that the people attacking those things get far far more publicity than the thing itself.

Mayor Curley, these are not gay versions of Randall Terry and Dobson and "Family" groups. These are small local community orgs almost entirely supported by corporate donations and grants, not money from the public. They work very closely with the police and the courts and victims services to help people. They're not money-hungry liars. Do you discount what the AARP's statistics are, because they depend on membership money? Do you discount what the Spina Bifida orgs say about how many people are affected?
posted by amberglow at 7:33 AM on April 29, 2005


warbaby is right--this is weird. looking for excuses to say it's not happening, when it's actually happening more than what is reported, is weird, and sad.
posted by amberglow at 7:35 AM on April 29, 2005


oop--way up top fff says it's time to publicize this to raise awareness--responses in this thread shows that publicizing it may not be the answer.
posted by amberglow at 7:36 AM on April 29, 2005


warbaby, thanks for that link.

The "I'm not... but" construct seems to be popping up a lot these days. Is this a new fashion?

Yes, it is. Because if you question something here, you're generally assumed to be taking a contrarian approach. And I'm not. I just want to see it somewhere else.

amberglow: I do discount statistics from the AARP unless they provide a neutral source that I can check. I'm that cynical. Employees of non-profits, paradoxically, have a vested interest in not eradicating the problem their organization is supposed to alleviate because it affects their jobs. As for the spina bifida people, they're obviously just pawns of the folic acid lobby.

I'm probably also skeptical because of naivite-- I live in eastern Massachusetts (and in Barney Frank's congressional district, no less). If you dislike people based on their sexual preference around here, that's an ugly secret that you keep to yourself. When idiots go to Beacon Hill to wave signs and holler about Jesus and how he hates gays, there are more people taunting the protestors than actual protestors.

In an academic sense, I can accept that there are people with a violent hatred against homosexuals. But it's a very difficult concept for me to grasp intuitively. Which is why I need untainted statistics to really accept that things are as bad as this outfit says.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:55 AM on April 29, 2005


may not be the only answer.

Strategies are usually a collection of tactics. Awareness-raising is a tactic more than a strategy.

A debate about strategy would be a lot more interesting than a debate about whether a problem exists.
posted by warbaby at 7:57 AM on April 29, 2005


trying again: A debate about strategy would be a lot more interesting than a debate about the size of the problem.
posted by warbaby at 8:01 AM on April 29, 2005


Strategy: 1. Increase police responsiveness and enforcement/prosecution/documentation.
2. Lobby the media to show them that not providing alternatives to the all hateful speech has very real consequences. Ask them why they don't report these statistics. Remind them that among their readers/viewers are many of us.
3. Encourage more of us that have been victims to come forward, with the help and aid of AVP and other orgs.
4. Spread awareness ourselves so that people like Mayor Curley and others will see that it's a widespread problem, and that they'd be surprised at how many of their friends have been victims of this shit.
5. ???
6. ???
7. ???
...
100. Survive.
posted by amberglow at 8:15 AM on April 29, 2005


A debate about strategy would be a lot more interesting than a debate about the size of the problem.

My initial cynical response was "they could start a love train," but then I realized it was a double-entendre in this situation. But there aren't a lot of options.

Passive resistence doesn't work against nazis or inbreds because they don't have any shame to exploit. Shutting up in a hope for return to status quo ante bellum is an even worse option.

You could argue for stiffer hate crime laws. Personally, I'm of the opinion that a) punishing violent offenders on the basis of their motivation is creating thoughtcrimes and b) hate crimes are id-based so "rational deterrents" won't have a measurable effect.

As stated earlier in the thread, I think the gay community should protect itself on a local level. Get the scariest representatives (like the leatherman with the bushy mustache from "Mythbusters") to patrol gay neighborhoods. Gay people should encourage their friends to look out for themselves and each other, too. As wrong as it seems to have to modify your behavior because of others' shortcomings, single gay people and small groups shouldn't go to places where bigots are congregating, doubly if the bigots are drinking.

Of course, there are gay singles and couples settled in bad communities that can't leave. I don't know what you can do to protect someone that owns a house on a block with hostiles on it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2005


Maybe I'm missing something, but why is everyone backing away from saying hate speech should be illegal? Why should it be legal for people to say that gays should die? Seriously -- calling for a groups death isn't hate speech? This should be allowed AND protected?

Laws making this type of speech have been enacted successfully in Sweden, so why not in the United States too?

And back to Amberglow's point: yes, even in New York I have noticed a distinct rise in anti-gay rhetoric. The other day, when some idiot asked me if I was a faggot, I promptly replied "Hell yes -- do you have a problem with that?" It was fun to watch the about ten pedestrians stop in their tracks to make sure that nothing "bad" happened.
posted by hummus at 8:25 AM on April 29, 2005


Actually, I'm pretty sure the gay neighborhood watch has been done or at least tried. When I lived in Boston's South End, someone once taped up flyers trying to organize "Queer Patrol" to watch the neighborhood.

It struck me as patently ludicrous at the time because it's one of the safest inner-city neighborhoods in the country. But it could be of value in other places.

Maybe I'm missing something, but why is everyone backing away from saying hate speech should be illegal?

Because the root noun of "hate speech" is "speech" and speech should not be illegal. You can argue that there's a precedent, and I will say that the precedents are dangerous and restrictive.

Anyway, hate speech is rarely persuasive because it comes from the mouths of morons-- people who claim to be inspired by it were already of a like mind. Censored speech is inherently more attractive because people in authority have declared it so powerful that we have to be protected from it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:32 AM on April 29, 2005


As stated earlier in the thread, I think the gay community should protect itself on a local level. Get the scariest representatives (like the leatherman with the bushy mustache from "Mythbusters") to patrol gay neighborhoods.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. A big reason why bullies target gays is because of the media-propogated myth that gays are weak and effeminate. Some muscled up guys carrying bats around Chelsea would send the clear message that this is not the case and that if you mess with the gay community there will be consequences. I'm not talking about random violence or gang style attempts at payback, just a show of strength.

During the riots after Dan White's acquittal, one gay activist said that "People are going to have to deal with us not as nice little fairies who own hairdressing salons, but as people capable of violence." And believe me, once people grasp that, they'll find negotiation a much more pleasant alternative.

It struck me as patently ludicrous at the time because it's one of the safest inner-city neighborhoods in the country.

You could say the same about Chelsea or the West Village, but you do get idiots driving in from other areas to start shit.
posted by jonmc at 8:36 AM on April 29, 2005


hate speech is rarely persuasive because it comes from the mouths of morons-- people who claim to be inspired by it were already of a like mind.

While I agree with the moron comment, I think that you're leaving out one important part: when someone of "like mind" here's this crap, they feel bolstered and therefore are capable of acting on their beliefs.

If a racist idiot feels alone, I would venture that they are much less likely to act then if they keep hearing people spreading their message.

And Mayor Curley, as someone already mentioned, speech is already censored -- obviously I can't yell fire in a theater.
posted by hummus at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2005


hummus: Because taking away their right to free speech, no matter how hateful, means that ours can be taken away too. I think targeting those who disseminate that hateful shit is a better idea--why is it that every single preacher and rightwing nut now has a home on CNN, and MSNBC, and FOX, etc? They didn't use to. Who has been responsible for normalizing this kind of rhetoric and spreading it? Why is Lott punished for his racist statements, yet Santorum can call our seeking equal rights a greater threat than terrorism without anything happening?

We do have (sporadic) patrols, but that's only in big cities, and they can't be everywhere. All identifiably gay neighborhoods in cities are targets--straight people in them get attacked too. Why should it be our responsibility when there are laws and police? Why is it up to us, when it's not up to other groups? Why turn it around like this?
posted by amberglow at 8:49 AM on April 29, 2005


Why should it be our responsibility when there are laws and police? Why is it up to us, when it's not up to other groups? Why turn it around like this?

I'm not trying to turn it around, dude. I'm just saying that if the people who are supposed to protect you aren't, then that's what you've got to do.
posted by jonmc at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2005


NTM, if those patrols are effective and public about it, then that will embarass the government into action.
posted by jonmc at 8:58 AM on April 29, 2005


Why should it be our responsibility when there are laws and police? Why is it up to us, when it's not up to other groups? Why turn it around like this?

Because cops are there only to protect the status quo and you will not change that. Remember, this is about civil rights. A lot of cops turned away when SNCC activists (or random blacks that might have been pro civil rights) got beaten. This isn't any different.

Cops have a long record of breaking strikes, harassing minorities and just generally making it tough for anyone who might affect social change. Don't wait for the cops to do their job because their help won't be forthcoming.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:59 AM on April 29, 2005


Because cops are there only to protect the status quo and you will not change that.

Curley, in a thread about prejudice, blanket statements like that are a bad idea.
posted by jonmc at 9:01 AM on April 29, 2005


Then why aren't the cops protecting everyone equally, jonmc?
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:17 AM on April 29, 2005


I didn't say that there aren't problems with unequal enforcement, mayor. But your statement was that "cops are there only to protect the status quo," which is an overgeneralization and needlessly antagonistic.
posted by jonmc at 9:25 AM on April 29, 2005


"needlessly antagonistic"
posted by matteo at 9:57 AM on April 29, 2005



And the recent track record of gay activists on free speech is troubling to me -- I refer to gay support for the illegal suppression of speech by Michael Marcavage in Philadelphia and of Ake Green in Sweden


I really wish people would stop bringing up Åke Green in "free speech" debates. We ALREADY HAVE a law against hate speech in Sweden. Around 50 people a year are convicted under this law.

There's nothing novel about the Green case, apart from Mr Green himself taping his sermon and then sending the tape to the media.

He was aquitted, by the way.
posted by mr.marx at 10:45 AM on April 29, 2005


hummus: Because taking away their right to free speech, no matter how hateful, means that ours can be taken away too

Exactly. It wasn't that long ago that homosexuality was thought of as a disease (morons) and to be a pro-gay advocate would have been considered outrageous and/or criminal. Change could only happen because the 1st Amendment is designed to protect unpopular speech.

The entire point of the First Amendment is that no matter how repugnant a government censor might think the speech is, it will be allowed unless it actively incites violence or fits in a couple very narrow exceptions. The less popular the speech the more First Amendment protection it gets. I disagree with a lot of hate-mongers, but my right to speak freely depends on their ability to do the same.

As for social pressure, I think it's a very narrow line between ostracizing legitimate hate-mongers and encouraging people to be even more narrow-minded about what they listen to. If gay rights advocates make a stink about FOX or CNN carrying hate speech against gays then large evangelical protestant churches are likely to make a stink about FOX or CNN carrying speech positive toward gays. Given that there are probably more protestant evangelicals than gays these days I think the religious nuts would win. In the alternative, the market would fracture and CNN would become the pro-gay channel and FOX would become the anti-gay channel. People who already held either viewpoint would just tune into whichever program they liked more and never hear a dissenting view.

In other words, there's a risk that the wrong kind of social pressure to limit speeech could backfire. Do I think that individuals should be targeted to show their hypocracy? Of course! But I am VERY wary of generalized boycott threats, general "shame on you", etc since it call all be used by the other side just as easily.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:58 AM on April 29, 2005


As long as people continue to attack and beat us, fearing the results of social pressure is stupid. no one is beating up haters who call for violence against us--in fact the opposite is happening--they've been given a place at the table, with normal people. Putting pressure on the people responsible for that is not only justified and right, but needed.
posted by amberglow at 11:11 AM on April 29, 2005


amberglow, I'm just wary about the methods. Attacking (verbally) individual flingers of hate-speech is a good thing. Boycotting CNN would make things worse.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:28 AM on April 29, 2005


who said anything about boycotting?

this thread is filled with unfounded warnings and ridiculous assumptions. i wonder why that is? could you guys leap to more ridiculous conclusions?
posted by amberglow at 11:53 AM on April 29, 2005


The anti-gay vibe reminds me a bit of the anti-pedophile thing on the other thread. Sort of the same emotions perhaps?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2005


The anti-gay vibe reminds me a bit of the anti-pedophile thing on the other thread.

Firstly, equating gays with pedophiles is a slander against gays. Second, criticism of what some gay activists might say != anti-gay.
posted by jonmc at 12:24 PM on April 29, 2005


social pressure against [Christians] to not speak about an issue they see as incredibly important is just as bad as gov't pressure in my book. Again, I disagree with their message, but creating PC-zones around certain topics seems bad for the country in the long-run. - thedevildancedlightly

Hmm. I don't know... Do you think it's bad that over the last 50 years it's become less socially acceptable to advocate for lynching black people?

I'd say it's a sign of progress that most people find this unacceptable speech. I don't think social movement against hateful speech is equivalent to government attempts outlaw hateful speech.
posted by raedyn at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2005


who said anything about boycotting?

I threw it out there as an example of one form of social pressure. Nobody used the word "boycott", but you discussed the TV networks that carry hateful speech. You didn't discuss the _means_ by which to engage against that speech. One natural means to encourage change in a TV network is to threaten a boycott. It's a technique used by the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, and many other minority groups who feel that they are threatened.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:55 PM on April 29, 2005


The anti-gay vibe reminds me a bit of the anti-pedophile thing on the other thread.

Firstly, equating gays with pedophiles is a slander against gays. Second, criticism of what some gay activists might say != anti-gay.


Argh. See, this is why these things will never honestly be discussed. Because there is too much disgust.

Pedophiles are attacted to children. Gays are attracted to members of their own sex. There are people who are attracted to corpses, shoes, and probably tax forms for all I know. Having the desire and acting on it are two different things, which if you've read the pedophilia thread was painfully concluded after much hair-pulling and cloth-rending and even then not by everyone.

So you, jonmc, are disgusted by what this person is attracted to. A pedophile, that is. Meanwhile, the guy over there is disgusted by what this person is attracted to. Other men, that is. And in disgust, he'll tell you that if it's gay marriage today, why not sex with animals? Why not marry a horse? That's next! So let's watch which way the slander is actually being, er, slanded. It reminds me of that other emotionally-overloaded category, incest. We can't just put aside our own personal disgust, seemingly, to treat the subject rationally (adult brother and sister, full consent?). It's just too... icky. But we expect others to be ok with what they find disgusting. Uh-huh. (obvious disclaimer about only "natural" attractions of dreamsign, whatever that may mean to you)

As for the whole ridiculous causality/correlation argument in this thread, I feel like I'm watching a debate between the Surgeon General and the tobacco companies circa 1980. There's no proof! There's no proof! I mean, far be it from me to slag healthy skepticism, but there's only so much empirical evidence a person can take.

Is it SO hard to imagine a bunch of country yahoos (insert city vigilantes or whatever you prefer) incensed at the recent sensationalistic handling of some threat to the almighty US of A -- today it's Muslims, say. And via hate speech and media attention and good old-fashioned bigotry, tomorrow these boys will decide that the local homos are really the immediate problem and take an axe-handle to them instead? Really difficult to imagine?

It's not so much that hate speech, like video games and rock'n roll, will brainwash the masses, though there is that mob mentality to think of once things get rolling. But let's not be coy and deny that it can be a trigger.
posted by dreamsign at 11:03 PM on May 3, 2005


Reported hate crimes against Muslims in the United States increased by more than 50 percent last year...
posted by amberglow at 12:30 PM on May 14, 2005


No surprise there.

Some media is reporting a 25%ish increase in Canada (Toronto).
posted by five fresh fish at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2005


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