Conflict brings out the worst in people. Some people would not make a racist,
sexist or a homophobic comment until there is conflict. When conflict arises, racist or
homophobic rhetoric maybe used to express frustration and opposition to what is
taking place. In cases where people
do not have the communication skills to express problems in a positive manner,
racist or homophobic remarks might be more a symptom of inadequate
communication skills than it is a symptom of deep racism or homophobia.
A recent case in Colorado might illustrate how conflict can
escalate into hate and can terrorize individuals. A lesbian couple living in Parker,
Colorado appears to have had some conflict with members of their condominium
association regarding noise and failure to clean up after their dogs. According to an article on the Tower
Road website, somebody painted "kill the gay" on their garage and
left a noose on the doorstep. We do
not know if disagreements with their neighbors caused the hate or if the hate
was mainly due to the couple's sexual orientation.
* * *
An article in The
Examiner, a San Francisco news website, informs us that the police are
looking for five men in connection with a beating three men received in the
Mission district of San Francisco.
We gather from the news article, the attackers made homophobic comments
during the attack, which left one of the victims with a broken jaw.
* * *
Debates about how the names of some sports teams could be
racist are not new. Some people see
no difference between using the names of Indian tribes for sports teams and
using Team Canada as the name of an Olympics sports group. There are cases, however, when the names
used for sports teams are terms that were historically used as insults. Is calling a sports team a name that was
once a racist term appropriate?
Broadcasting Corporation website carries an article about a forum hosted by
the University of Saskatchewan, which discussed the role racism might have
played in the selection of sports team names. Some people at the forum called for a
name change for the Redmen sports team.
* * *
Two men, Gary Dobson and David Norris, are on trial for the
1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence.
According to an article on the Reuters
website, Lawrence, a black man, was attacked by a gang of white youth and was
stabbed to death.
* * *
Post article reports on FBI hate crimes statistics. According to the article, the percentage
of hate crimes against the Latino/Latina community increased in 2010. The article states that 2/3rds of the
victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes were Latinos/Latinas. Another Huffington
Post article reports that 70% of all racially motivated hate crimes target Blacks.
* * *
article reports that several churches in the Stanly and Anson counties of North
Carolina were vandalized. The
churches had graffiti ranging from swastikas to racist comments to male
* * *
Fighting bullying in schools can be
difficult. A host of attitudes make
it difficult to successfully address bullying. Some people take the position that
bullying is part of the developmental and maturational process. Students need to experience bullying to
be able to develop into functional adults.
Other people do not believe bullying is serious. Even when faced with the reality that
bullying can cause suicides, some people believe bullies are just “boys being
boys.” A common belief is that the
victim had to have done something to deserve being bullied. Because bullying is very common, some
teachers, support staff and school administrators take the position that too
much time and energy will be spent trying to stop bullying to make
anti-bullying programs effective. When
students engage in religious expressions of homophobic bullying, parents may
take the position that the bullying is a religious right. In some regions of the world, there is
religious bullying between Catholics and Protestants, Christians and Jews, or
Christians and Muslims. Religious
convictions are a right, but abusing or bullying people who have different
religious convictions is not a right.
Bullying is an educational issues and a health and safety issue, because
bullying compromises students’ health and compromises students’ academic
performance. Because about 80% of
bullying is homophobic, we know many straight students are the targets of
homophobic bullying. Stopping all
bullying, especially homophobic bullying, is a health
and safety matter for straight and gay students.
In Edmonton, Canada, the public school board took a brave
stand against bullying that targets students and staff who are perceived to be
gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans-identified. As a result of the vote, Edmonton Public
School Division became the first school division in the prairie
provinces to implement a policy to specifically address bullying of
sexual minority students and staff.
An Edmonton activist informed this contributor that the school board
unanimously voted for the anti-gay bullying policy. Additional information about the policy
can be found in an online Calgary
* * *
The Anti-Defamation League
published a press release in response to the FBI's 2010 hate crimes
statistics. The ADL expresses
concern that at a time when violent crimes overall decreased, there has been an
increase on hate crimes. An ADL article notes
the increase in crimes against Latinos, Muslims, GLBT individuals and the
Jewish community during 2010.