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Legal Violence Against Goths Is A Hate Crime

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by findingmyway, Apr 10, 2013.

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Should the definition of hate crime include discrimination against people who dress differently?

  1. Yes

    80.0%
  2. No

    20.0%
  1. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    From emo kids to metallers, young people should be free to express themselves without fear of assault. I should know – I call myself a recovering goth, but I still get abuse on the streets of Brighton
    Simon Price

    [​IMG] Sophie Lancaster was murdered in 2007. Greater Manchester police has begun recording offences against members of alternative subcultures as hate crimes.



    When is a goth not a goth? The politics of nomenclatures and epithets, when it comes to youth culture, are fraught: people who have consciously separated themselves from the mainstream are understandably wary of accepting any label, especially one given to them by the media. "How do you spot a goth?" the old joke used to run. "They'll swear they're not a goth," was the punchline. The logic of the witches' ducking stool applied: you were damned if you did, damned if you didn't (and probably a fan of the Damned, either way).


    These days, if anyone asks, I tend to say I'm a "recovering goth". My own gothic period was 1986-1993, and I seldom participate in the subculture itself any more, but certain habits still linger: I'm reluctant to leave the house without full makeup and carefully spiked hair, I have a tendency to dress entirely in black, and retain an undying fondness for the gloomy alternative rock of the 80s.


    [​IMG] Siouxsie and the Banshees: goth's post-punk beginnings.

    The goth scene emerged from the arty end of the post-punk fallout, when a gaggle of stray Blitz kids decamped to the Batcave Club and began listening to, and subsequently making, dark, doomy music whose primary obsessions were sex, death, decadence, horror and the mysteries of the occult. Early bands described as "goth" – though hardly ever by themselves – included Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, the Birthday Party, the Cure, Killing Joke, the Cult and the Sisters of Mercy.


    Goth, with its twin capitals of Soho-Camden and Leeds-Bradford, became one of Britain's biggest youth tribes, and the goth look – big, backcombed black hair, ghostly white skin, scarlet lipstick, heavy eyeliner, lace, buckles and PVC – became an easy cultural identifier. By the early 90s, however, it had run out of steam, overshadowed by new crazes such as acid house, Madchester, grunge and Britpop. In the UK, the scene went underground, but was kept alive – or undead – by enclaves in Europe (where it turned electronic) and America (where it went metallic).


    [​IMG] Marilyn Manson: goth revival.

    A full-scale revival occurred at the turn of the millennium, arguably powered by two forces: the global success of Marilyn Manson, and the existence of the internet. This time around, the dandyish look of the 80s had lost favour, and for male goths, long hair and trenchcoats had replaced mega-quiffs and frilly shirts, making them almost indistinguishable from (traditionally more masculine) metallers.


    Meanwhile, a relatively new scene – emo – had arrived. Originally a minor subdivision of American hardcore punk, emo became a worldwide phenomenon, as bands including My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco and Paramore welded pained teenage angst to urgent pop-punk melodies. Older goths tend to view shopping-mall emo kids, with their smudged eyeliner and dyed hair, as merely "baby goths".


    [​IMG] Paramore: 'Teenage angst with urgent pop-punk melodies.'

    And, while there are dozens of even smaller subgenres, from cybergoth to screamo to steampunk, there's no doubt that the distinctions between the four main tribes identified by Greater Manchester police – goths, punks, emos, metallers – are now extremely blurred to the untrained eye, with significant crossover between them.


    We should be grateful for the enlightened approach of Greater Manchester police in recognising attacks on members of these subcultures as hate crimes. The authorities cannot always be counted on to be so kind. In the late 80s, at the height of my goth phase, I spent a year in Paris, where the mayor Jacques Chirac had ordered a crackdown on punks, goths and other undesirables as we were allegedly scaring off the tourists. (It didn't occur to him that we were the tourists.)


    [​IMG] Simon Price in his gothic period.

    I was regularly subjected to public humiliation by Parisian gendarmes who forced me to empty my shoulderbag on to the pavement of Place Saint-Michel, on the assumption that anyone who looked like me had to be hiding something (whether drugs or weapons). On one occasion, four flics leapt from a patrol car, threw me against the wall and interrogated me at gunpoint. My crime? Painting my nails as I walked down the street. On other occasions, I've been ejected from tourist attractions including Westminster Abbey, Les Invalides and the Pantheon because of my appearance.


    If British police are beginning to view goths and other outsider cults as victims rather than perpetrators, that can only be a positive step. Thankfully, incidents as horrific as the murder of Sophie Lancaster are extremely rare, in this country at least (though the attacks on Mexico's emo kids in 2008 made worldwide headlines). However, low-level smalltown violence and aggression against members of the alternative subculture from "townies", "casuals" or "normals" (let's steer clear of the politically charged c-word) is common, and invariably goes unreported.
    I'm frequently subjected to abuse – mostly verbal, but sometimes with an edge of physical menace – for looking like a "freak", even in a town as bohemian and liberal as Brighton. Only the other day I was confronted by a tracksuited man armed with a Staffordshire bull terrier, hell-bent on having a fight because he took exception to my appearance. I'm also frequently the target of homophobic insults, regardless of my actual sexuality.


    [​IMG] Simon Price: 'I'm frequently subjected to abuse for looking like a "freak".'

    Of course, tribe-on-tribe violence is nothing new: punks were targeted by teddy boys in the 70s (with Johnny Rotten famously receiving a brutal beating), and I grew up witnessing pitched battles between mods and skinheads at the seaside resort of Barry Island (themselves a re-enactment of the mods v rockers wars of the 1960s).


    Goths, however, have tended to steer clear of trouble. Despite their often extreme appearance and their liking for gore and violent imagery, goths are usually quiet, peaceful types and, aside from a couple of Whitby weekenders a year, seldom gather in large enough numbers to defend themselves. An easy target.


    Greater Manchester police's new policy recognises the specific crime of assaulting someone not for something that they've done, but for something that they are. Whatever you choose to call it.


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/04/violence-against-goths-hate-crime


    As Sikhs we should have a lot of sympathy here. Greater Manchester police's decision to call attacks on those who dress differently/distinctively hate crime has divided opinion. Some think it is watering down hate crime too much. Others believe this is another step in the right direction. Incidentally, Greater Manchester police were the first to also call other types of discrimination hate crime, which is now part of legislature. What do you think?
     
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  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    In Las Vegas, we have many Goth teens. I have 4 working at my place. It is tough to find a job anywhere else except at some tatoo shops. Many of them are rejected by their own families. They are a misunderstood lot. All of them who work at my place and have worked are not into recreational drugs of any kind. They rather reject the friendships with the drug takers. Sadly, the ignorance among the majority marginalises them because of their black clothes in the hot summer of Vegas with the black nail polishes and chains.

    Many customers ask them if I am their dad and they laughingly tell them yes. We get many Canadians in their big motor homes here who are called snow birds and they seem to have more knowledge about other peoples and the cultures than the natives themselves do.

    Acceptance and not judging anyone because the way they look should be the basis of the extermination of any bias or prejudice. We Sikhs come in the same category as the goths for many, come to think of it.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    I voted "NO." Dressing differently can mean almost anything.

    A hate-crime is a legal term and as such carries additional penalties, extra jail time and higher fines. In other words, an assault may carry a term of 5 years in jail. But if it is an assault based on religious identity (in the US under Federal law) jail time can go as high as 30 years. The meaning of "hate" also cannot be open-ended. That is why the law is specific about religion, sexual identity (in some US states), color, disability, political affiliation, and other categories.

    The law has to be clear regarding when "dress differently" (as in wearing a turban or burqa) identifies a person as a potential target of a hate crime. Without that clarity anyone could be a victim of a hate-crime, simply because of dressing differently, making both crime and punishment vague, and the point of the statutes would be lost.

    I think we have to start with the basics. Nothing justifies physical, emotional or political assault on another member of a civilized society. Each person has the right to personal safety. To violate that boundary is ethically wrong and legally a crime. What constitutes "hatred" on top of that needs to be decided by a democratic political process.
     
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    #3 spnadmin, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  5. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Well said spnadmin ji. Indeed I don't know what "LOVE-Crime" is versus "HATE-crime". For me, any crime has a component of hate in it. Legal people and such specialist are good at defining thresholds and I will defer it to them as you have elaborated.
    Not liking someone's appearance and hate are many shades of gray. Acting on such experiences is another stage that most not cross but some will.

    Find me a person who never unjustly hated someone at sometime and I will find you a liar.

    Regards.
     
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  6. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    The sad part is that here in Vegas, many Goth teens are being exploited by the pimps. Last week, I went again with the Las Vegas Unit Crime Unit to catch the Johns, Pimps and rescue the teens. Out of 14 teens the unit rescued, 10 were Goths. I was told by the Unit head who is a female and a very god person that Goths are the easiest targets for them because most of them have no drug problems. One out of 14 was 17 with 3 kids from 3 different men. She was kicked out of her parents' ritzy house when she got pregnant at 13. She was going to a private school then. The unit is trying

    Luckily, I was able to convince the county to pass the bill that I helped in crafting to add half a penny on the Casino hotels as a room charge in the county so we can build permanent place for these victims' rehabilitation otherwise, they will be forced to go back on the street. Now, we can keep them in temporary shelters, give them a little counselling and that is it. With this bill, we will be able to train them into some vocational jobs. Many of them run away from the shelters in the middle of the night. It is heart breaking and an awakening at the same time especially here in the sin city.

    @Spnadmin ji, I also voted NO for the same reason. We humans are a lot deeper and more than the skin on our body and how we dress.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh

    PS:This all happened because of Outer and the Inner Sikhi. They are like Ying and Yang. The Outer one gets you foot in the door and the Inner one lets you to be at the table. This is the tiny step towards Jeevan Mukti.
     
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  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    @ Tejwant ji and Ambsaria ji

    You have shared your personal wisdom. The problem of pure bigotry has to be made a matter of public discussion at every level of society. How we injure one another! It never ends.

    It was good to read that in Las Vegas something constructive is being done to help those teenagers, who are victims of family bigotry too. The other side of this coin is to figure out how to change attitudes in an inclusive way. Family, school, law enforcement, churches, businesses, government, and individual minds.
     
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  8. Jagmohan Singh

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    LOVE AND HATE ARE NOT IN THE REALM OF POLITICS.
    The idea of defining HATE and therefore LOVE DEMOCRATICALLY is ludicrous.
     
  9. spnadmin

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    That may be so my friend. However, it is the law that ratified the term "hate crime" and the legislatures make the laws. The legislatures are peopled with lawmakers, who are elected by the public. The legal definition and the reality of hate-crimes are the result of a political process - elections - however ludicrous you or I may find it.

    Government happens, Law happens. Government and law regulate our behavior. Government and laws are not going away. Would you prefer the law be decided by ayatollahs, crackpot dictators, babas on the take, tribal customs and tribal courts, the inspirations of a philospher-king imposed on the many, or mob rule? Or would you prefer laws be decided by a democratic political process.
     
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    #8 spnadmin, Apr 15, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  10. Inderjeet Kaur

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    I cannot vote in this poll. I find the whole concept of "hate crime" to be seriously flawed and here is why.

    In legal tradition in the West, the jury is the "judge of the facts" and the guy with the robe is the "judge of the law." This means that it is the jury's job to rule on the facts of the case, what actually happened. It is for the jury to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty, whether there is enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt (an absolute, not a fetish, BTW) to conclude that hse committed the crime. It is not the jury's job to read hir mind and make judgement on what the individual was thinking.

    If the accused is found guilty, the judge applies the law and takes all factors into consideration, both mitigating and aggravating. It is only at this point, during sentencing, that the state of the convicted person's mind comes into play.

    Convicting a person on the basis of what hse is thinking is creating a new category of crime, "thought crime." That is too Orwellian for me and I want no part of it.

    note: I am using pronouns without reference to gender, in case you wonder about hir and hse and the like. What they mean is easy to figure out, but if you like, I will list them all in another post. I shall continue to use them; every other solution is either bad grammar or clumsy.:noticekudi:
     
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    #9 Inderjeet Kaur, Apr 15, 2013
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  11. Jagmohan Singh

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    -------------------------------------------------------
    Your points are well taken. Hatred and Love are Human emotions.
    Discrimination IS A CRIME, be it be based on the garb, colour of the skin or religious inclination. If the crime, ANY CRIME, has a basis of HATE, then it is a HATE CRIME.
    Noble as it might be in CONCEPT, a quest for a Political (Democratic) definition of a nebulous entity, it is destined to be quagmired in shifting sands of corruption and despotism, because, EVEN DEMOCRACIES thrive on bourgeois and the proletariat. It is the former that dictates. And it is the former that is corrupt and the latter given to sycophantism

    "Chhun kaar Az Hama Heeltay Dur Guzaasht
    Halal Ast Bardan B Shumsheer Dast"

    Human behavior can be modified thru cajoling
    BUT SOMETIMES MUST BE MODIFIDE BY DECREE

    SAT SIRI AKAAL
     
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  12. spnadmin

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    Jagmohan ji

    I hear you. Yes even in democracies concepts like "hate" are defined according to theories that dominate at a particular point in time. The crime should be punished. There is no way to control what is in the minds of others. When governments try to control our minds then we see what we see now all around the world in the form of suppression, government brutality and the reactions to it, terrorism and revolution. Then hate bursts the shores of emotion and everyone is damaged, innocent along with guilty. And who is going to say that he is "guilty."
     

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