Monday, June 12, 2006

Diversity Discriminates While Government Dictates

Oppressed minorities across the province are applauding a recent grant from the Liberal government to the "Hate Crimes and Extremism investigative team". If one resident of Ontario is a victim of hate, ALL Ontarians are a target of hate! Not all communities are equal and we must do something about that.

Bernie Farber, chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress, attended yesterday's announcement and said Ontario residents "can all feel a bit safer" thanks to the anti-hate officers.

"If any segment of our community is targeted for hate, then all our community is targeted for hate."

London is home to several people who publish online hate material -- some of whom were mentioned by name in a private conversation between Farber, Faulkner and Kwinter yesterday.

Charging those people is difficult under Canadian law. No Londoner ever has been charged with promoting hate, said the head of the Association for the Elimination of Hate.

"It's terrible legislation. It ties their hands in terms of who they can charge," said Rich Hitchens.

"If you want to fight hate and fight hate crime, you (need) tougher legislation."
As the Association for the Elimination of Hatred is currently unavailable to serve our collective needs, I've nowhere to turn and must myself try to understand "hate crime".

In Saskatchewan, a judge has ruled that David Ahenakew's overtly racist comments regarding "diseased" Jews was not a "hate crime":
Doug Christie, Ahenakew's lawyer, argued his client's comments were spontaneous and isolated, despite the fact he was speaking to a journalist.

He said that the section of the Criminal Code under which Ahenakew was convicted applies only to hate spoken "other than in private conversation," and that the taped one-on-one interview with the reporter meets that exception.

[..] "If you don't know that it's being taped and you think you're in an argument with someone who is interrupting you and contradicting you and basically being confrontational, there's quite often the possibility that a person loses sight of the fact that this could be broadcast," Christie said Friday morning, appearing on CTV's Canada AM.

"In those circumstances, the issue becomes one of whether you're intending to promote hatred and that's a required element of the criminal offence, you see. Maybe it's bad speech, maybe it's irresponsible, but it's another question as to whether it's a crime," he said.
I guess delivering a speech to multiple individuals is also considered a "private conversation."
Before Ahenakew spoke to the reporter, he delivered a speech at a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations conference, in which he accused Jews of starting the Second World War.

"The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe," Ahenakew said on the tape.

"That's why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the God-damned world. And look what they're doing. They're killing people in Arab countries."
Now if anyone can justifiably be charged with "hate speech", clearly this bigot qualifies because it would seem he "hates" Jews. Trouble is, no one seems to know what a hate crime really is, and that is because there really is no such thing as a "hate crime." I might hate brown-eyed males, or red-haired females and say so publically, but red-haired females and brown-eyed males are, first and foremost, individual human beings. And so, unless I commit an actual act of violence against an individual "belonging" to that group, I've done nothing except to prove I'm an idiot that should not be listened to. And so with that scumbag Ahenakew and his anti-jewish hatred. Have I just committed a "hate crime" because I have expressed the opinion that Ahenakew is a scumbag? He's also a native, which perhaps makes my comment hateful because not all natives are scumbags, but some people might come to believe that the only reason I am calling Ahenakew a scumbag is because he's native and my comment might "lead" some very stupid people to conclude that all natives are scumbags.

It's all nonsense of course, and Ahenakew is scum because he's an ignorant bigot. He may be filled with hatred, but spewing ugly words is not a crime. The best way to deal with hateful comments is to ignore them or refute them. The wrong way to respond is for the authorities to step in on behalf of the offended "collective" and punish people for opening their mouths, thus drawing more attention to the original assertions than would otherwise be forthcoming.

But the "minority communities" continue to battle it out to their own detriment. Jewish groups lobby for tougher hate laws, even though their "minority community" is not currently enjoying equal status to the communities of natives and muslims.
"The anti-hate laws are extremely important for minority communities that are targeted and vulnerable, and Canada would not remain a multicultural democracy for very long if segments of its society could be attacked and vilified with impunity," executive vice-president Manuel Prutschi said in April.
There's "a segment" of society being attacked and vilified right now in Ontario but the police employed to protect their person and property aren't doing their job. Obviously they need more sensitivity training.

6 comments:

darcey said...

wow! Almost like we were thinking the same thing! (http://www.dustmybroom.com/?p=3858)

I'm howver not as articulate as yourself

rhebner said...

Which is a 'hate crime';

I think the residents of Strathroy are sons of pigs and monkeys, and we should avoid them like the plague

or

I think the residents of Strathroy are sons of pigs and monkeys, and we should rid the earth of them.

The first is just a dopey opinion, but the second is a call to violence. It seems to me that Ahenakew never called for any violence against the Jews, he was just glad somebody else did. I can't see how his repugnant opinions could be considered a hate crime.

Lisa said...

rhebner;

I think the second statement is only a "hate crime" when the participants calling for violence are also the ones initiating that violence themselves. Although reprehensible and worse than the first statement, I don't think that utterance constitutes a "hate crime". There are also people who call on their governments to kill groups of citizens in other nations, although they stay home themselves. Are they committing a hate crime?

Many crimes are motivated by "hate" - the most important thing though is the actual acts of physical violence against the victim. Words don't cause criminal injury - people do, and when they do, they are committing a crime.

Pietr said...

Advert for the British Army:
"To help.To go forward together.To protect......"
It goes on in this vein, with beautiful 'girlfriends' running down the beach, like an advert for the Republican Guard.
The only thing it doesn't say is"To kill people."

rhebner said...

"I don't think that utterance constitutes a "hate crime"."

So, if my parish priest tells me to go kill all Lutherans, and I follow through, does he bear no responsibility?

tough one...

Pietr said...

Not if you kill your parish priest.