Arizona Bill Targets Ethnic Studies. No, I’m Not Kidding.

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Conservatism, Conservatives, Legislation, Race, Republicans

Really Arizona legislature? Really Governor Jan Brewer? This is the time when you decide to make this switch?

And, from Politico, the text of the bill reads like some of the craziest satire…

“Public school pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people,” the text of the bill reads.

Haha, so…that legislation you passed several weeks doesn’t teach people to resent other races or classes of people? Hmmm….

Here’s more from this wacky law…

The law prohibits the teaching of any classes that promote “the overthrow of the United States government,” “resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

Neither the governor nor the bill’s supporters have identified examples where a Chicano studies class has advocated the “overthrow” of the federal government, and the bill’s opponents in the state have expressed outrage over what they see as a law that unfairly targets Hispanics.

Here’s more about the schools that are the target of this bill…

The Tucson Unified School District program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.

For example, in the Mexican-American Studies program, an American history course explores the role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War, and a literature course emphasizes Latino authors.

So then…how many of you have taken ethnic studies classes in college? Remember them? If so, remember how they were EXACTLY like what’s described in the above quoted passage? If not, please tell me, but that’s what I remember.

But now we find the real reason why this is happening…political opportunism…

[State schools chief Tom] Horne, a Republican running for attorney general, said the program promotes “ethnic chauvinism” and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race. He’s been trying to restrict it ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta told students in 2006 that “Republicans hate Latinos.”

Really? You’re going to not only get offended but also quote a civil rights activist?

Another question…it seems like the only schools affected are in Tucson, but obviously bills have broader implications once passed. What about the universities? Are they prohibited from teaching Chicano studies or Black studies classes?

The answer is no, not at all. In fact, apparently no ethnic studies classes at all will be affected in any way whatsoever…

The measure doesn’t prohibit classes that teach about the history of a particular ethnic group, as long as the course is open to all students and doesn’t promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.

But hey, thank whatever deity you believe in for laws that solve problems that haven’t even started yet. Whew!

And, by the way, for those of you who have taken any sort of ethnic studies classes…did you ever advocate overthrowing the government or hating people of other races after you took them? Sure, some may build up a healthy disdain for those forefathers and foremothers who violently discriminated against folks just because they were different, but unless “learn to hate people of other races” is in the curriculum, it’s up to the individual to not place the sins of the past on the present’s shoulders.

Of course, you know what might cause hate and resentment towards an ethnic group?

Arizona knows!

And scene…


This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 and is filed under Conservatism, Conservatives, Legislation, Race, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

26 Responses to “Arizona Bill Targets Ethnic Studies. No, I’m Not Kidding.”

  1. gerryf Says:

    That’s because they hate our freedom….who hates are freedom? Who knows. Of course that doesn’t make sense.

    And neither does the entire state of Arizona, apparently–forget, “What’s the Matter With Kansas” try “WTF Arizona?”

  2. SpkTruth2Pwr Says:

    Thanks for continuing to sharing the “interesting” legislation that is continuing to develop in AZ. They really are trying to win 2010′s award for most talked about state in the union I guess.

  3. Mike A. Says:

    Maybe it’s a myth but from what I have seen living 15 years in Phoenix Arizona is that most illegals from Mexico come here to WORK, not to suck off the taxpayer’s dollar. Immigrants I have hired, either directly off a street corner or through a contractor, work incredibly hard at physically demanding jobs. As long as there is a demand here in the US, and people are willing to pay for this service (legally or otherwise), they will continue to come here. It’s truly the free market at work.

    The truth is that this country, like many modern nations, needs access to a low cost labor workforce. Although I am no expert on this topic, I have many years experience in witnessing one successful model in accomplishing this. The Philippines is a nation that exports low cost labor to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, S. Korea and some areas of eastern Europe. The workers legally leave the Philippines (the airports are packed with young people coming and going on international flights), enter these other nations on limited work visas, work and send money home, then leave legally. They are required to stay back in the Philippines for a predetermined minimum amount of time before repeating this cycle. There are laws in place for minimum wages, conditions, etc. I have been in over 50 factories in Asia. When I walk through major manufacturing facilities, I typically see a >90% non-native work force doing the “low-level” jobs.

    You can argue the social implications of this..taking away jobs from our population, and there are very valid points to be made. But my belief is we need to find a way to allow this type of immigration to occur legally so systems can be put in place to control this temporary workforce, rather than building the great wall of Mexico…didn’t work for China, ain’t working here.

    It would be hopeful to believe that Arizona will force some type of immigration reform and border control actions at the federal level, but it would be naive to expect comprehensive reform rather than knee-jerk legislation. Politicians no longer have the time, due to short campaign cycles, nor the fortitude to solve these very complex, yet immensely critical, problems

  4. Mike A. Says:

    (sorry for the repost if this appears twice)

    Maybe it’s a myth but from what I have seen living 15 years in Phoenix Arizona is that most illegals from Mexico come here to WORK, not to suck off the taxpayer’s dollar. Immigrants I have hired, either directly off a street corner or through a contractor, work incredibly hard at physically demanding jobs. As long as there is a demand here in the US, and people are willing to pay for this service (legally or otherwise), they will continue to come here. It’s truly the free market at work.

    The truth is that this country, like many modern nations, needs access to a low cost labor workforce. Although I am no expert on this topic, I have many years experience in witnessing one successful model in accomplishing this. The Philippines is a nation that exports low cost labor to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, S. Korea and some areas of eastern Europe. The workers legally leave the Philippines (the airports are packed with young people coming and going on international flights), enter these other nations on limited work visas, work and send money home, then leave legally. They are required to stay back in the Philippines for a predetermined minimum amount of time before repeating this cycle. There are laws in place for minimum wages, conditions, etc. I have been in over 50 factories in Asia. When I walk through major manufacturing facilities, I typically see a >90% non-native work force doing the “low-level” jobs.

    You can argue the social implications of this..taking away jobs from our population, and there are very valid points to be made. But my belief is we need to find a way to allow this type of immigration to occur legally so systems can be put in place to control this temporary workforce, rather than building the great wall of Mexico…didn’t work for China, ain’t working here.

    It would be hopeful to believe that Arizona will force some type of immigration reform and border control actions at the federal level, but it would be naive to expect comprehensive reform rather than knee-jerk legislation. Politicians no longer have the time, due to short campaign cycles, nor the fortitude to solve these very complex, yet immensely critical, problems

  5. Chris Says:

    wasn’t it arizona that was considering selling their government buildings, and then renting them back for 20 years or some such nonsense?

  6. kranky kritter Says:

    The “that promotes resentment towards another race” sounds dangerous as well as hard to enforce. Who decides? I am happy to acknowledge that this is preposterous, and veers towards Orwellian thought crimes.

    This law is very dumb and misguided. I connect it to language and hate crime laws that some folks keep favoring, as well as the kind of misguided laws various European nations have in place governing thought and speech. The approach is similar, and show a marked inability to grasp what makes America work.

    Thought crime laws are a terrible idea whether it’s the left or the right pushing them to make their side feel better.

  7. WHQ Says:

    I connect it to language and hate crime laws that some folks keep favoring

    One thing I would say that makes this legislation different from most hate-crime laws is that hate crimes are real things. People do target members of specific groups with the intent of inciting fear in those groups as wholes, that fear being an effect that goes beyond those immediately affecting the individual victims or physical targets.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t misguided hate-crime laws, but I don’t think they’re as patently ridiculous as this, generally. At the very least, they are mostly in reaction to real things that cause real harm.

    I think we can all agree that, for example, spray painting swastikas on synagogues is something more than just graffiti. Intent matters in many, many areas of the law, and I think it’s a minimization to refer to hate crimes as “mind crimes.” I’d need to see examples of laws that prohibit thoughts unconnected to actions to accept that. As far as I know, you can think whatever you like, so long as you don’t harm anyone.

  8. WHQ Says:

    scratch “mind crimes” and replace with “thought crimes” (too much Queensryche in my youth, I guess)

  9. Nick Benjamin Says:

    IMO this is a slightly bigger deal then Hate Crimes Laws, or the PC police some countries have. Hate crimes are, by definition, crimes regardless of the motive. And in some cases they clearly need to be differentiated from the non-hate crimes. As WHQ pointed out, there’s a difference between some idiot 19-year-old spray-painting his name all over the place and a Neo-Nazi who desecrates the local Jewish Cemetery.

    The PC Police are not as big a deal as people think they are. The PC Cops ban a word, and somebody thinks of a new one that means the same thing. If they weren’t easy to get around the racist and racistish European far-right parties would not get 10-20% of the vote.

    OTOH this law is stupidly broad. It deals with things that are not crimes. It’s designed to be hard to get around. Heck it puts a lot of standard history into the gray zone. For example there is a “class or group” of Americans that is nostalgic for the Confederate Army. A class teaching black kids about the Civil War probably makes those kids disagree with that group. And the disagreement is almost certainly going to result in resentment…

    And it’s not just against us white boys that can get resented against. For example the Crow Indians owned Montana before the Sioux conquered them.

  10. kranky kritter Says:

    IMO this is a slightly bigger deal then Hate Crimes Laws, or the PC police some countries have.

    Let me be clear, I’m not equating them, only noticing the connection. There is ample similarity that’s worth noting, not dismissing.

    Hate crimes are, by definition, crimes regardless of the motive.

    Let’s also notice that hate crimes are crimes both for the hate part and for the crime part. In other words, by definition hate crimes are crimes BOTH because of the act and because of the motivation.

    One thing I would say that makes this legislation different from most hate-crime laws is that hate crimes are real things. People do target members of specific groups with the intent of inciting fear in those groups as wholes, that fear being an effect that goes beyond those immediately affecting the individual victims or physical targets.

    I’m not sure what contrasting thing you are implying isn’t “real.” But I agree that the intent of hate crime laws is to provide additional punishment for crimes because of the reasons why those acts were committed.

    I’m happy to acknowledge that this approach is well-intentioned. I question it nevertheless, and think the potential for abuse is there when this pandora’s box is opened. That’s exactly why I am so concerned by laws like this one that try to stifle thought and teaching under the aegis of not offending anyone, causing resentment towards another group, etc, etc. It’s hard not to look at such a law and see where the composers took their notes from.

    I think we can all agree that, for example, spray painting swastikas on synagogues is something more than just graffiti. Intent matters in many, many areas of the law, and I think it’s a minimization to refer to hate crimes as “mind crimes.”

    I’m not sure I DO agree, at least not entirely. Is it “something more” speaking legally, or speaking morally? Can the law punish acts only and not thoughts and motivations? Are they distinct or not? What is the principle by which one act of defacing property is regarded as more troublesome than other? How well does it really hold up? We’ve come to to tolerate what we call “vandalism” because we have become desensitized to it, as a matter of volume. So we’re at a point where only the expression of particular ideas as part of the graffiti are to be regarded as troublesome. That’s at least worth further examination.

    Obviously, this is something of a minority PoV, but bear with me. I think we can all agree that on the scale of seriousness, the vandalism of graffiti is way down the scale compared to something like murder, right?

    Let’s investigate the application of your rubric in the context of murder instead of vandalism. Is murdering your wife because she left you a less hateful thing to do than murdering some stranger because he was wearing a turban? Should it really be regarded less seriously by the law?

    See, it holds up less well as the severity of the crime increases. Again, my concern here is the opening of Pandora’s boxes and ending up with unintended consequences. It’s a pretty defensible guiding principle to punish the act. Should we decide to bring motivation into it, we really do need to be very careful about it. That’s all I am asking, that extreme caution be applied. Surely motivation is worth considering. But just as surely that consideration should be substantially secondary to the criminal act itself.

    I don’t seriously question that kids painting swastikis on synagogues ought to be regarded more seriously than kids painting lets say Queensryche on an abandoned factory building. (Although, what about painting a star of david on a mosque, or a star and crescent moon on a synagogue? What then?) Not all antisocial activity will necessarily lead down the same roads. And even if they are leading down the same road, i think you can argue that the kids painting the swastikas have gone farther on up that road. But I do seriously wonder whether the criminal code is an effective place to address antisocial motivation.

    The PC Police are not as big a deal as people think they are. The PC Cops ban a word, and somebody thinks of a new one that means the same thing.

    Yeah, I’m not sure there’s much fruit to be borne by debating it in terms of how big a deal either of us thinks it ought to be. If anything, your statement suggests that the enterprises of PC-minded folks are largely pointless i the end. All the more reason to keep them in check. Because they are a drag on our time and attention and resources, and therefore ought to discouraged from wasting their time and our time and making our lives more difficult to no good end. It’s discouraging to me that so many folks still fail to grasp the various brilliant intents of the bill of rights after 2+ centuries.

    Personally, (and paradoxically, I guess, in terms of wasting time) I don’t think we can afford to ignore the constant chipping away at things like free speech. Bit by bit we keep allowing the small additions of new well-intentioned loopholes, because moralists and thick-skulled busybodies have worn us down with their relentless and simplistic drip, drip, drip. Sooner or later the loopholes get connected into something big enough to drive a truck through. And then someone is banned from stating their views on television, or their movie can legally be banned.

    So while I can agree with you in some sense that “The PC Police are not as big a deal as people think they are,” it’s also true that we’d have been well served to squash such foolishness with extreme prejudice instead of letting them gain the status of a perpetual rash on the genitals of public discourse. The underlying premise of these itchy buggers is that they think they can get people to behave properly by controlling the words they use, leading to the proper thoughts and thus the proper actions. A colossal misreading of human nature.

    For me, it’s an eternal vigilance thing.

  11. Chris Says:

    Intent and motivation are ingrained into the punishments of the criminal justice system. That’s why you see different levels of charges, from 1st to 3rd degree homicide, manslaughter and the such.

  12. the Word Says:

    @kk You asked
    Is murdering your wife because she left you a less hateful thing to do than murdering some stranger because he was wearing a turban?

    If you murder your wife, all women in town are likely not terrified. If you murder someone from an ethnic group chances are you have affected large numbers of people. It’s a bit like when there is a series of rapes. It doesn’t just affect those women, it affects many more in the area.

    How it is dealt with is a question but I understand the reasoning. As to the PC refrain, have any concrete examples of the problem you have with it being used to do the things you are worried about? In general (there are always exceptions) I find that most people aren’t as offensive in public as they used to be and I think that’s a good thing.

  13. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Let’s investigate the application of your rubric in the context of murder instead of vandalism. Is murdering your wife because she left you a less hateful thing to do than murdering some stranger because he was wearing a turban? Should it really be regarded less seriously by the law?

    In many countries, even without hate crimes laws, the murder of a wife would be considered less serious then the murder of some dude. It would be considered “a crime of passion,” and the murderer would receive a very light sentence. This includes modern, advanced, democracies like Italy:
    http://www.thenation.com/article/honor-killing-any-other-name
    They aren’t (necessarily) being sexist. Ruth Ellis, who murdered her boyfriend, got a lot of sympathy abroad:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Ellis#Legacy

    They aren’t totally insane either. If part of the goal of the Justice System is to get dangerous people off the streets there’s no real reason to arrest a wife-slayer. He’s not likely to kill again as long as he stays single. He’s got no motive, and no potential victims.

    As for the PC Police, IMO the best strategy is to ignore them and occasionally write a check to the ACLU. They have the right to criticize anyone they want for whatever reason they want. If they ever try to

  14. Chris Says:

    Nick that is a load of horse crap.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Peterson

    Easy example right there, and there are tons more. People who murder anyone are a threat to society, regardless of reason.

  15. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Uhh…

    By definition everyone is a threat to society, because all criminals were once non-criminals.

    To prove your point you’ll need more then one example. You’ll need murder rates comparing those convicted of Crimes of Passion to non-murderers. Which you will not find in the US because we have no rules on Crimes of Passion. You could make a semi-credible case based on dozens of examples. But I doubt there are dozens of Americans who killed one spouse in a fit of passion, got away with it, and then killed a second.

    Of course even if you do that you won’t have actually contradicted my point. If you re-read my point I specifically used the words “not totally insane.” Many sane people believe things that are untrue for reasons that do not hold up to scrutiny. If you want to contradict my point you’ll have to prove that someone would have to be “totally insane” to believe a Crime of Passion-murderer was less of a threat than a Hate Crime murderer.

    Good luck on that one.

  16. kranky kritter Says:

    I’m well aware of the distinctions between the acts and the conceivable consequences. And the ways different cultures regard the value of women as human beings versus property.

    But my question was whether folks here considered the one act “more hateful” than the other. It’s a simple question, and if considered seriously, one that might help one learn about oneself.

    As for the PC Police, IMO the best strategy is to ignore them and occasionally write a check to the ACLU.

    That seems like terrible advice to me. First, If the “PC police” had proven themselves ineffectual; i.e. incapable of fostering an environment in which silly and irritating policies were enacted, I’d be delighted to ignore them.

    And second, even though I support civil liberty, I think the ACLU gets it wrong way to often to write them a check. IMO they’re too prone to defending the indefensible for overly narrow ideological reasons.

    If you murder your wife, all women in town are likely not terrified.

    This strikes me as a fairly preposterous claim. But again, my question was whether the one act was more hateful than the other. So even if your claim is true, it’s not relevant.

  17. the Word Says:

    @KK

    I misread your post, I was under the impression that your thrust was against hate crime legislation. not hateful things. Hate crimes legislation (as is much of law) is an attempt to deal with the costs to society of behavior.

    You asked Should it really be regarded less seriously by the law? They are both serious. No doubt about it. That said there are degrees to murder because society has decided to see the differences in what could be seen as similar acts. They see the difference. That you don’t doesn’t surprise me.

  18. WHQ Says:

    But my question was whether folks here considered the one act “more hateful” than the other.

    KK, it seems to me that you’re attributing excessive import to the word “hate” because of the name chosen for the laws in question. Whether one is more hateful than the other is academic. It’s about the larger effects of the crimes and intent to, well, effect those, um, effects.

    Hate crimes are similar to terrorism, only on a smaller scale and not necessarily political, per se. The perpetrator may not be attempting to change policy or affect the body politic as a whole, but to affect one particular group of people – like blacks, jews, gays, abortion-clinic workers, monocle-wearing circus rejects who love spicy mustard, etc.

    If they called them “bigotry crimes” you could ask us of your examples if one act were more bigotted than the other, but you probably wouldn’t bother, since the answer would be obvious and would help to dispute your point.

  19. WHQ Says:

    So we’re at a point where only the expression of particular ideas as part of the graffiti are to be regarded as troublesome. That’s at least worth further examination.

    I don’t remember making this point. Perhaps you’re reading something into what I wrote that isn’t there. “Something more” doesn’t mean “something as opposed to nothing.” And, yes, I meant both more legally and more morally. You say you don’t dispute my point, but then you dispute my point.

    Do you think painting swastikas on synagogues is worse than painting band names on warehouses or not? And please don’t play this game of “worse how?” or “worse according to what metric?” or “worse according to whose point of view?”

    You seem to employ rhetorical methods like those of Intelligent Design advocates lately, KK, by implying irreducible complexity to issues with question after question, some of which aren’t as impossible to answer as you seem to think, others of which are simply trivial, and others which would require a perfection of knowledge or level of certainty that doesn’t exist in support of any given position on the subject. It’s tiresome and pointless, because any reasonably intelligent person can dispute any position on nearly any sufficiently complex issue ad infinitum (or ad nauseam, if you prefer) without contributing to anyone’s understanding of the subject by arguing the way you do.

    You say your point is simply that we need to employ “extreme caution” with regard to hate crimes. Since no one here is suggesting that we do away with the democratic process, the legislative process, the executive checks on the legislative process, or the judicial process, I guess I don’t know how extreme the caution needs to be or why. I can see looking into specific laws for specific reasons involving obvious miscarriages of justice, but I’d say that about any laws of any type, so I don’t know what’s so special about hate crimes in this regard.

    Do you have some evidence that hate crimes are particularly problematic in practice relative to other criminal laws such that they need to be given special treatment or consideration, or is it just a theoretical problem?

  20. kranky kritter Says:

    That said there are degrees to murder because society has decided to see the differences in what could be seen as similar acts.

    There have been “degrees” of murder for some time now. I learned about the differences between manslaughter and 2nd and 1st degree murder in 9th grade civics class several decades ago, for example.

    The question remains as to whether we require additional distinctions, where and when we require them, and how much weight we truly ought to give to them. I didn’t ask this question about hatefulness to win an argument or to prove anything, only to ask folks to examine the basis for making additional distinctions.

    I believe it’s worth looking deeply to see whether the reasoning holds up. And as I’ve noted, the reasoning seems to hold up less well when the crime in question is itself is more severe. No one has seriously dented that notion. I make no claims as to what it indicated, but no one here seems interested in pursuing it. They seem more interested in defending hate crime laws in whet is in my opinion a pretty rote fashion.

    ….society has decided to see the differences in what could be seen as similar acts. They see the difference. That you don’t doesn’t surprise me.

    Well it isn’t true that I don’t see the differences, only that I’ve questioned what to do with them. That you are unsurprised? Well, it’s always disappointing when someone decides that the only way they can understand you is to pigeionhole you, but there it is. It happens. My feeling are unhurt.

    KK, it seems to me that you’re attributing excessive import to the word “hate” because of the name chosen for the laws in question. Whether one is more hateful than the other is academic. It’s about the larger effects of the crimes and intent to, well, effect those, um, effects.

    That’s a great way to frame it when you don’t have a satisfactory answer to the question that I asked in good faith. Folks opposing what we can call bigotry have made a big show of opposing hate. Their word. I’m just digging into it. I’ve got a long history of deeply disliking bigotry and opposing it. And I also have a long history of supporting civil liberty, freedom of thought and speech. So my long understanding is that troublesome thought and speech is legal, and that acts infringing on others are not.

    An academic question? I’ll spit that bit. I think it’s a question worth exploring, which is why I asked it. What’s the point here in labeling my question “academic” other than to dismiss it as being worth exploring? And isn’t the content of a multi-rejoinder blog discussion largely academic anyway.

    Hate crimes are similar to terrorism, only on a smaller scale and not necessarily political, per se. The perpetrator may not be attempting to change policy or affect the body politic as a whole, but to affect one particular group of people – like blacks, jews, gays, abortion-clinic workers, monocle-wearing circus rejects who love spicy mustard, etc.

    I can’t stress strongly enough how much I support the motivations behind the attempts to codify anti-bigotry. But in the end, after long and hard thought, I find myself unable to envision what clear and stable place the new lines can be drawn, For a,long time, the line has rested with rock solid stability between thoughts and acts. Troublesome thoughts and feelings? Not illegal> But acts? That still makes sense to me.

    Now, if we are talking about concerted organized efforts to intimidate, then it seems to me that those can be covered under RICO, and in that case, the old line would work well, because the reason for the intimidation is not relevant compared to the act of attempting to intimidate a group.

    If they called them “bigotry crimes” you could ask us of your examples if one act were more bigotted than the other, but you probably wouldn’t bother, since the answer would be obvious and would help to dispute your point.

    Well, they didn’t call them bigotry crimes. You are suggesting this is a mere oversight, and that calling them hate crimes was not carefully thought out. Bigotry, while deeply troublesome (I’d also say pointless and idiotic), is not illegal, and several generations of Americans reluctantly accepted this as legally sound.

    I continue to believe that sooner or later we’ll run into really deep doo-doo if we continue to pursue disparate punishment for largely identical actions because some folks committed such acts for more troublesome reasons than others.

    I continue to believe in mitigating circumstance, but legally speaking, such circumstances should generally be secondary to consideration of the act. And IMO the amount of weight to give to such mitigating (or aggravating) circumstances is better left to judicial discretion than to written legal code. That allows a judge to slap a few more months or years onto a sentence when a defendant seems remorseless or hateful, but does not tie that judge’s hands.

  21. WHQ Says:

    That’s a great way to frame it when you don’t have a satisfactory answer to the question that I asked in good faith.

    If it’s that important to you that I answer this particular question, even though I think it’s largely irrelevant given the argument I’ve been making, well, okay. (Can I believe in good faith that the question is academic? And might the argument I’ve made, after stating that, indicate such?)

    I think it depends on the specific circumstances. Someone may love his wife deeply, but in a moment of great anger, hurt and maybe intoxication, he might kill her. Then again, maybe he just wanted some insurance money. Killing someone over a turban is more certainly a crime of hatred, perhaps moreso than killing one’s wife and perhaps not, depending on the circumstances under which one might kill one’s wife.

    I hope that meets your expectations of good faith.

  22. WHQ Says:

    And IMO the amount of weight to give to such mitigating (or aggravating) circumstances is better left to judicial discretion than to written legal code. That allows a judge to slap a few more months or years onto a sentence when a defendant seems remorseless or hateful, but does not tie that judge’s hands.

    But, again, is this a practical, evidence-based opinion or one purely of theory? How do you square this theory with light sentences given in, let’s say, certain jurisdictions of particular cultural flavors? And, again, I’m not saying that there are not or cannot be ill-conceived hate-crime laws. I’m simply saying that there are sometimes specific problems being addressed, not just fanciful anit-bigotry notions leading to these laws.

    I continue to believe that sooner or later we’ll run into really deep doo-doo if we continue to pursue disparate punishment for largely identical actions because some folks committed such acts for more troublesome reasons than others.

    Well, okay. “Sooner or later… if…” I suppose I can’t dispute, especially depending on how disparate “disparate” might be. But if “troublesome reasons” need to be established sufficiently, just as motives do in the many other well established crimes where motives matter, I don’t know why the troublesome reasons are such a problematic aspect of a given criminal charge.

    Just as an example for some perspective on what my postition is, since we may seem to disagree moreso than we really do, I wouldn’t say that a white guy using the n-word after getting into a fight with a black guy should, in and of itself, make any applicable crimes the white guy may have committed (e.g. assault) hate crimes. I’d need to see evidence that there was an intent to intimidate the black community, not simply that the white guy harbored racist feelings towards blacks and expressed them in a moment of anger during a fight. A hate-crime charge in such a case would be, in my opinion, an example of either a misapplied or an ill-conceived law, or both. But that doesn’t mean that hate-crimes are categorically problematic in some special way.

  23. Chris Says:

    “You seem to employ rhetorical methods like those of Intelligent Design advocates lately, KK, by implying irreducible complexity to issues with question after question, some of which aren’t as impossible to answer as you seem to think, others of which are simply trivial, and others which would require a perfection of knowledge or level of certainty that doesn’t exist in support of any given position on the subject. It’s tiresome and pointless, because any reasonably intelligent person can dispute any position on nearly any sufficiently complex issue ad infinitum (or ad nauseam, if you prefer) without contributing to anyone’s understanding of the subject by arguing the way you do.”

    Yes, that’s exactly what I said a couple weeks ago, just in far fewer words. KK just loves to hear himself talk.

  24. kranky kritter Says:

    Chris, you can always find an argument that dismisses whatever cogent points I’ve made instead of addressing them. You’ve done so here by speaking in generalities. You haven’t actually demonstrated that I’ve done any of the things you’re implying I’m doing.

    It’s clear that my style and manner of discussion leaves you without good answers, so you evade my questions and seek to mock and insult me instead. This reflects upon you, not upon me.

    I remain comfortable questioning where “hate crimes” laws will lead us, even though I acknowledge good intent.

    Just as an example for some perspective on what my postition is, since we may seem to disagree moreso than we really do, I wouldn’t say that a white guy using the n-word after getting into a fight with a black guy should, in and of itself, make any applicable crimes the white guy may have committed (e.g. assault) hate crimes. I’d need to see evidence that there was an intent to intimidate the black community, not simply that the white guy harbored racist feelings towards blacks and expressed them in a moment of anger during a fight. A hate-crime charge in such a case would be, in my opinion, an example of either a misapplied or an ill-conceived law, or both. But that doesn’t mean that hate-crimes are categorically problematic in some special way.

    That’s a really useful example WHQ, and I appreciate the spirit in which you’ve offered it. Let me begin at the end. For the sake of argument I’ll grant that I’ve implied that hate crimes are “categorically” problematic, although I haven’t really thought about it systematically, only operated from an understanding that they were moving a well established legal line and would in many instances be difficult to apply.

    So I’ll also agree with you that it’s possible that some “hate crime” laws have worth and utility. The fact remains that in many instances where I’ve read accounts of such laws (almost exclusively in the Boston Globe, for those eagerly willing to assume those accounts had a right wing slant) they’ve failed to pass the sniff test. In some instances they’ve seems IMO to be unnecessary, because suitable punishment for the already-established crime. In other instances they seemed difficult to enforce and placed a burden of proof of innocence on the defendant. And sometimes they imposed mandatory minimum sentences, another step which I dislike in general.

    You alluded to that earlier. I don’t claim that judicial discretion is perfect, I only believe it’s usually preferable to mandatory sentencing. (a PoV btw, that was a solid liberal staple for many years. And which may even continue to be a staple of Justin’s beloved ACLU).

    I don’t think mandatory sentence are categorically bad, I only know that they’ve had their share of undesirable and unintended consequences. Like clogging federal prisons with low-level drug offenders. Here in MA, we have a mandatory 1 year sentence for carrying an unlicensed gun. Great idea, right? Only the last time the Globe reported on it, word was that it’s very seldom enforced, almost always pled out, because our prisons are too full. Not enforced as intended.

    As you’re well aware, I’m a case-by-case guy. I don’t like mandatory sentences because I don’t think justice can be dispensed by a vending machine.

  25. WHQ Says:

    I agree on mandatory minimums, and wouldn’t advocate applying them to hate crimes in any but the most extreme of circumstances, if at all. Sentencing guidelines, okay. Minimums, not so much.

    Mandatory minimums should be reserved for the most violent and dangerous; maybe for those who commit crimes that result in extremely high financial losses for others – big, big fraud cases for example; and maybe for those whose criminal negligence results in serious physical harm to many people, IMO. These are all relatively rare crimes that cause serious, demonstrable, direct damage.

    Mandatory minimums for drug charges are one of the many things that make the drug war a very costly and unjust farce.

  26. CWren Says:

    If you knew what is actually being taught in these classes in TUSD, you’d understand why this was necessary. A couple of years ago there was a good undercover YouTube video – but it got removed. It’s true, the students are taught to hate – and that’s not good any way you look at it.

Leave a Reply


NOTE TO COMMENTERS:


You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


Thanks for understanding and have a pleasurable commenting experience.


Related Posts: