Friday, September 29, 2023

Hate crimes alleged in McHenry Co., across U.S.


The mother of a 13-year-old boy from Lake in the Hills, Illinois, in Chicago’s far-northwestern suburbs, says she would be happy if her son didn’t have to think about the racial slurs and death threats that had been hurled at him, some on social media, by his fellow students at Marlowe Middle School, every day forever, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Bananas were thrown at the 13-year-old, followed by commands like “pick it up, monkey,” the Tribune reported. Songs were sung, with a hate-filled middle school student changing lyrics to racial epithets. Videos narrated by a young voice were posted to social media, showing the black family’s neighborhood and saying that everybody “on [the] list” would be killed.

“And at that point you just have this chill,” the Tribune quoted the mother as saying. “Because I know that the child has problems, I know he’s already targeting my son, and now he’s saying he wants to kill him. Then within a matter of a couple hours he posts another video to social media and it showed this boy with a rifle in his home, so now I know he actually has a way to do this.”

One police officer told the Associated Press that the student wasn’t in class at the time he posted the video. Although details about the video are sparse and generally can’t be confirmed, the officer acknowledged that it was “reported to be threatening in nature.” The student who posted it has been charged with a hate crime and disorderly conduct. Further reporting is being suppressed in order to protect his identity, as he is a minor child.

Hate incident against a lesbian in Fresno, California

Efforts ratcheted up last week in Fresno, California, to identify the Bullard High student or students who pelted a girl with juice boxes while shouting gay slurs at the school. The girl, reportedly openly gay since middle school, says she was hit with full boxes of apple juice at school on October 23 and was called “a faggot, a queer, and a lesbo” during the attack. She’s a sophomore in the Fresno Unified School District, and she has shown pictures of abrasions on her neck and back that she says are from the incident.

Before the attack, she was protesting at a school board meeting, since the board president has been criticized for speaking out openly against a new state law that requires LGBT-inclusive sex education to be taught in the schools.

“You have kids who are extremely moldable at this stage and if you start telling them that LGBT is OK and that it’s a way of life, well maybe you just swayed the kid to go that way,” Alternet quoted Brooke Ashjian as saying. But no school official in Fresno condoned any kind of violence as allegedly befell the lesbian student.

“It’s an assault that can also be investigated as a hate crime based upon sexual orientation as a substantial motivating factor,” Fresno Police spokesman Mark Hudson was quoted as saying. “Once we are able to obviously speak to a person who’s willing to talk to us, who committed the crime, then we’ll have more evidence to try and move a case forward. We’re asking for students’ help in identifying who assaulted her.”

Student bullied as a ‘Jamaican barbie’ in Connectcut

In Connecticut, an 18-year-old student at the University of Hartford was charged with criminal mischief and expelled from school after boasting about having contaminated her roommate’s toothbrush, face lotion, and other belongings, the New York Times reports.

“After one and a half months spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine, and so much more, I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie,” the accused white woman posted about the victimized black woman. The post has since been deleted.

Hate crimes up across the board

In a news release last week, citing an open letter to US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee noted a disturbing trend:

The increase in distressing incidents directed at students stretches beyond our colleges and universities to touch our younger students. A survey of more than 10,000 K-12 educators across the country found that eighty percent reported “heightened anxiety on the part of marginalized students.” More than 2,500 educators “described specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric.” In your own home state of Michigan, it was reported that students at a junior high school in Dewitt had built a human wall to block Latino students from entering their classrooms. A viral YouTube video documented students at a Michigan middle school, chanting “Build the Wall” in the cafeteria. And one Michigan middle high school teacher observed, “a proud proclamation of racism was made by a student after the election: ‘Bet those black people are really scared now.'” These are just three examples of hundreds across the country involving verbal and physical harassment, derogatory language, including racial slurs, and even swastikas and Nazi salutes.

The YouTube video referenced is no longer available, but the above is taken from the Senate record of proceedings. And I have to put my faith in the Senate in acknowledging that the action described in the open letter actually happened in the video.

But even with the video having been taken down, we find a definite trend upwards for hate crimes against African-Americans, Latinos, and homosexuals around the country. While some of that uptick is bound to be fake, it isn’t easy to deny the preponderance of evidence that hate crime has gone up since the election of President Donald Trump.

This article was edited on Nov. 9 to reflect the following change: A YouTube video in which a young woman describes an exchange between a lesbian and a Facebook commentator, considered unrelated to the story by its author, was deleted. Voxitatis regrets any misunderstanding.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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