Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter August, 2011

Will’s father commented about how difficult school is for queer students. “Most parents worry about if they make a grade, make a team, or do things like that. When we sent Willi to school, we worried that it would be the last time we would see him.” Stated in interview in the documentary movie Anti-Gay Hate Crime: A & E Investigative Reports. Available from Amazon.Com and Amazon.Ca.
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The past few months were busy for Stop Hate volunteer staff.   A computer crash, which took a special edition newsletter into cyber heaven, heavy work loads, periods of illness and pressing community duties made it difficult to get regular news letters posted.  We apologize for the silence.  Our silence does not mean a lack of commitment to social justice.  Our volunteer virtual community is active in their local communities advocating for those who are the targets of prejudice, discrimination and violence.  The needs of oppressed communities, of communities that routinely face prejudice, discrimination and hatred remain in our hearts.

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There is confusion regarding what constitutes a hate crime.  Some people refer to any crime where anger and frustration is involved as a hate crime, and they wonder why there needs to be a specific designation of hate crimes, when almost all crimes seem like crimes of anger and hatred.  There are a few key differences between crimes of rage and anger and hate crimes.  A hate crime is intended to intimidate and to create fear among members of an entire group of people.  An article about how hate crimes are defined in Canadian law can be found on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website, in an article titled "What is a hate crime?"

“Disproportionate Harm:  Hate Crime in Canada,“ an article about hate crimes appears on the Canadian Department of Justice website.    The article has three major sections.  The first section discusses the purpose of the report.  Section two talks about the harm done by hate crimes.  The final section discusses the rights of victims and the responses of victims of hate crimes.

Section two is worth reading by people interested in knowing more about the impact of hate crimes.  Victims of hate crimes are targeted, because they belong are thought to belong to specific, identifieable groups.  According to the Department of Justice article, hate crimes have a more significant impact victims, because the very characteristics that caused victimization are part of the victim’s sense of identity.  In effect, hate crimes attack the victim, the victim’s deeply held identity and the victim’s community.  Hate crimes cause disproportionate harm.

An article on the Canada.com website indicates Statistics Canada shows that hate crimes in Canada increased by 42% between 2008 and 2009.  The largest increase in reported hate crimes are hate crimes against Arabs and West Asians, which doubled, and against Jewish people, which increased by 71%.

There are times when we receive requests from college students who are researching about hate crimes.  The University of Ottawa Institute of Technology's Faculty of Social Science and Humanity maintains an Internet resource for those interested in Canadian hate crimes.  The Hate Crime Research and Scholarship in Canada web pages provide information and literature regarding Canadian hate crimes.

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Pride parades often are filled with people wearing brightly colored clothes or costumes.  Young men wearing skimpy bathing suits is a common sight in Pride parades.  The media attending Pride parades tend to focus more on the unusually dressed people than on the participants who are wearing rather ordinary clothing.  Some straight people are left wondering why there is gay Pride.  A few conservative religious groups, in reaction to gay Pride are promoting straight pride.  Shirts promoting straight pride and other straight pride merchandise can be purchased on the internet.  A very popular gay You Tuber, Davey Wavey, explains why we do not have straight pride.  The main points Davey Wavey makes are that every single day emphasizes straight life, so every day is straight pride, and that straight people do not need straight pride, because they do not face the levels of discrimination, violence and hate crimes that are experienced by gay members of society.  His video, "No Straight Pride: Why Is There Gay Pride?", is well worth watching.

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Toronto is the home to one of Canada's largest Jewish communities.  According to a June article on the yorkregion.com website, a Jewish veterinarian's office was vandalized and was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti and Nazi symbols.  An article about the anti-Semitic vandalism at Jory Bocknek's office can be read on the yorkregion.com website.

Yale University found itself in a controversy regarding anti-Semitism this year.  We gather Yale announced they were closing the anti-Semitism studies center, because of complaints that the center was anti-Palestinian.  According to one news report, less than a month after deciding to close the anti-Semitism studies center, Yale announced it is opening a center of anti-Semitism studies.  An article about Yale's decision regarding having a center for anti-Semitism studies can be found on the Guardian United Kingdom website.

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The Don't Ask Don't Tell policy of the American military is having a negative impact on gay and bisexual soldiers that extends well beyond the intent of the policy.  An article on the Advocate website tells us that two gay soldiers at Camp Carson, in the Colorado Springs area, were attacked and severely beaten by a group of men.  The gay soldiers are not wanting the military to know their identity, because military personnel are still being dismissed under terms of Don't Ask Don't Tell.  Unfortunately, Don't Ask Don't Tell could have the impact of further victimizing the victims of homophobic hate crimes.

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The use of language is important.  There are times when government policies and legislation intended to protect people from discrimination use terms that might be offensive to members of some minority groups.  An article on the Montreal Gazette website notes the United Nations may grill Canada over use of the term "visible minorities" in human rights legislation and policies.  The United Nations could have concerns that the term "visible minorities" implies that being white is the standard.

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An article on the Pink News website informs us that the last man who was sent to a Nazi death camp because he was gay passed away at the age of 98.  Rudolf Brazda was in Buchenwald for about three years.

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Same-sex marriage continues to be in the news.  There have been a few positive developments.  The state of New York passed a bill approving same-sex marriage in New York.  An American Indian tribe in the state of Washington approved same-sex marriage on the reservation.  Additional information about the Suquamish Tribal Council decision can be found the MSNBC news system.  An article on the Pink News system informs us that American Psychological Association supports same-sex marriage.

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