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Monday, November 19, 2018

Columns

Hate is becoming strategized


Hate Crime: a crime motivated by racial, sexual or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.

September 15, 1963: The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. An act of white supremacist terrorism leaves four black bodies dead.

June 26, 2011: James Craig Anderson is assaulted and murdered by a group of white men for no other reason than skin color.

June 17th, 2015: A massacre leaving nine black bodies dead in a Charleston, South Carolina, church.

Some of the most well known and documented hate crimes in U.S. history have been perpetrated by white men. Now, the social law that protects the systematically disenfranchised has become strategy for legislation and the Blue Lives Matter coalition.

In Louisiana, a law passed stating that police officers are now protected under hate crimes in the same vein as sexuality and race. Hate crimes were something that only seemed to happen to marginalized groups, and now it has been reappropriated to protect the lethal subgroup of officers that has been orchestrating oppression through executing law.

Under this new law, actions like resisting arrest and battery can be classified as a hate crime against police. Such things are up to the officers’ discretion, but as the resume shows for instances in police brutality, the slightest thought of danger can lead to shots fired.

When it comes to resisting arrest, there is video evidence of police claiming resist when it is just simply not the case. A simple nudge of a shoulder or just an involuntary reaction to real danger can be put under the umbrella of hate.

People have the natural tendency to survive. It’s an instinct. When the human body senses danger, whether it be from a wild animal or a 200 pound officer squishing them into concrete, the body’s main reaction is to tense up and protect itself.

Moreso, this is not good for protesters. Protests are passionate by nature. As we have seen with the numerous protests taking place throughout the country, they do not always end peacefully. This would be a field day for the police that emote their self issues coupled with their abuse of power to harm people.

In history, hate crimes have been not only legal but also encouraged. People treated lynchings as public events for not only the radically racist but also common people and children. The foundation of the United States was built from hate crimes against African and eventually African-American people.

Stealing people from their homes, the U.S. created an economic basis for the selling of humans in the transatlantic slave trade, which destroyed families for profit and power. Rape, kidnapping and murder: all crimes whose common denominator is rooted in hate.

Today: Race relations between police and blacks have never seen peace especially in impoverished neighborhoods. Now the current version of the lynchings, which is hate fueled murder, is the killing of unarmed black people without reasoning except loose speculation and irrational racialized fear.

With Louisiana police now having this new law at their disposal, this is a direct response to Black Lives Matter from the group of a similar name, Blue Lives Matter. The premise of Black Lives Matter is that black lives are in danger.

The danger to police lives is not comparable to the danger for black lives. Police officers are not disproportionately targeted without reason besides the color of their skin or, in this case, the color of their uniform.

When it comes to the relationship between police and the black community, it has always been one of tension. Constantly the forces sworn to protect and serve have acted as a menacing group that has unwaveringly acted against communities that are either impoverished or predominantly black.

The people in these neighborhoods and black people in general tense up when a cop is even even in their proximity. By nature, we are wary of the sense of control that is lifted from us when we interact with police. One area that is never talked about is what goes on in the mind of black people in the situation of law enforcement.

It is not of matter of statistics because this is something that is not researched. It is rather seen in the conversation that is captured in the video that we do get. With the incident in Tulsa County, there is video of an officer telling the detained “(Expletive) your breath.”

This infers the status of how the officer views this black person. In the incident with the McKinney police and the swimming pool, you can see how the white male recording the altercation is immune to orders from police but the black males are not. This shows the perceived notions that cops have on black people as opposed to white people.

This kind of thinking comes from media, literature, film and the over-representation of black people as criminals. It seeps into the mind and makes someone associate what they have been consuming to the real-life person.

The danger is the homogenization of black people as criminal or dangerous, which is a stereotype that has been stigmatized through the world.  Even the satire of Blue Lives Matter is a joke; if BLM fizzled out, Blue Lives Matter would quickly do the same.

Blue Lives Matter perpetuates a false sense of danger to police, creating excuses for them to use extreme measures when handling people. It also de-legitimizes BLM and what they are trying to do. As we have seen from the adamant force and authority that police have, this fake movement is unnecessary based on their actions.

The Dallas shootings were shocking because they happened under everyone’s noses in the midst of an already-chaotic protest that the police were trying to maintain. However, the attack from the shooter was not a result of BLM, and he was shown to be unstable and prejudice toward cops. The perpetrator does not in anyway reflect the values of the Black Lives Matter movement and was not co-signed by them, either.

We know that all police are not bad. It has been said numerous times and it will continue to be said. But the actions of a few, with zero consequences, make these instances seem warranted and make citizens feel unsafe from those that are meant to eradicate that fear.

There is no reason for children that are supposed to look at law enforcement as heroes to now look at them as a threat.

If resisting arrest is going to be labelled as a hate crime, then police brutality should be added right along with it. It all seems like the making of a dastardly equation by law: Stop and frisk times intimidation plus the hate-crime law equals a high probability for targeted attacks against minorities, all in the name of law.   

Opinion columnist Dana Jones is a print journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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