some quick notes on the drop in hate crimes report in today’s LA Times

Posted in Uncategorized by SCHA-LA on November 20, 2009

Here are some quick notes – I need to think these things through (after, ironically, tonight’s DOR) – on an article in today’s LA Times: LA County Hate Crimes Drop 4%

  1. It would seem that, since Prop 8 was upheld, that the more “logical” expectation (not that this sort of violence is logical) would be an increase in gay-on-straight violence, or retaliation. I believe that the question is hidden, but unanswered, in the article: if the anti-gay faction won Prop 8, why the increase in anti-gay violence? This question is especially interesting considering that the article hypothesizes that Obama winning the presidency  is related to a decrease in race-based crimes. To look at these to theories as analogous,
    1. “anti-gay” legislative victory equals an INCREASE in anti-LGBT hate crimes
    2. “pro-African-American” victory equals a DECREASE in racial hate crimes
    3. As an aside to that which isn’t mentioned at all, it does appear that there has been a public uptick of outspoken, public racism in the country, but that has not shown up as hate crimes, rhetoric aside. and I believe that this is as true in LGBT circles – at least in California – as in non-LGBT populations. (see link at end of this post)
  1. The article refers to hate crimes against LGBT people. I wonder why, later in the article, the author refers to “sexual-orientation hate crimes” – seemingly implying that trans- is a sexual orientation. One might presume, according to the limited data that is collected on transpeople, that most transpeople identify as heterosexual. So in general, an  anti-trans hate crimes should not be classified as a sexual orientation hate crime, but rather as a gender-identity or gender-presentation (transphobic)  hate crime. How come there is no discussion of that in the article? Further, were there anti-lesbian hate crimes? Were there anti-bisexual hate crimes? I think people might be interested to know who is actually getting hurt, abused, or killed – and usually over-killed.
  2. With regard to the “LGBT” victims of hate crimes: are all of them white? It seems to be the unspoken message when we read about race-based hate crimes going down as LGBT hate crimes rise. I supposed I’d like to know if “sexual orientation” hate crimes against LGBT people of color went down as they did with the non-LGBT population, or, if that isn’t the case, why not?  When a person of color is the victim of a hate crime, and that hate crime was due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, where does that get filed? At least with transwomen, almost ALL of the reported cases are in young transwomen of color (cite:
  3. If we assume that the perpetrator (rather than the victim) of a hate crime is the guilty party, why do we not see any stories about the perpetrators? This article only points out the victims. The perpetrators are shrouded. What demographics do they represent? Is that not the more newsworthy story, since one can imagine that it is easier to strategize community-based (or even law-enforcement-based) interventions tailored to the people who are committing these hate crimes, rather than making assumptions on who may be a victim? That actually seems to be exactly what the perpetrators do.  An example: Why do we know the name Rosa Parks but we don’t know the name James F. Blake? Now, I’m not trying to call Rosa Parks a victim – though she certainly was a victim of racism & police brutality. Instead I’m trying to highlight how a white person can avoid looking at the historical behaviors of white folks’ while still honoring the memory of Rosa Parks. I can see Rosa as a part of our historical fabric, but not the man who called the cops on her.  To me, that is the insidious under-girding of racism, and it exists today and is exemplified by the secrecy about who is committing these hate crimes, and the over-emphasis on the victims, and especially the brutality with which they tend to die.
  4. The recent murder of Paulina Ibarra in East Hollywood, and the fact that there is still a person of interest out there somewhere, might have been relevant to the article.
  5. a quick addendum: please read Jasmyne Cannick’s post on this report as well.


One Response

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  1. Linda said, on November 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Hiya — my thoughts — the upholding of Prop 8 is a convenient validation of some people’s belief that LGBT people are “less than” and, as such, it provides equally convenient justification for increased marginalization of and attacks on those who are identified as LGBT. This is a society that kills the weak, even if that perceived “weakness” is just a contrivance (which is why NOBODY wants to be thought of as a “victim.”)

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