In my opinion, hanging an effigy of any public figure is in poor taste, regardless of their race. But there’s a bigger issue at play here.
Based on the outcome, I have no choice but to assume that the hanging effigy of Palin is not a hate crime because she’s white. Apparently — In this case — it falls under freedom of speech:
“The sheriff made this clear: This is a country that has freedom of speech, and we protect that right even when we think it’s idiotic and stupid and in bad taste,” said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department.
“If it is nonviolent and doesn’t cause any problems, then they have the right to do it.”1
I have no problem with freedom of speech. But hiding behind that principal is riddled with the danger of bias. Consider Timothy Lynch’s comments about The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 20072 passed by the U. S. House of Representatives on May 3, 2007:
… it is important to note that the whole concept of “hate crimes” is fraught with definitional difficulties. Hate crimes generally refer to criminal conduct motivated by prejudice. Should all prejudices be included in the hate crime definition–or only a select few?
For the proponents of hate crime laws, the dilemma is this: if some groups (women, gays, environmental political activists, whatever) are left out of the “hate crime” definition, they will resent the selective depreciation of their victimization. On the other hand, if all victim groups are included, the hate crime category will be no different than “ordinary” criminal law.3
And therein lies the problem:
The reaction obviously would have been much worse if it were Obama hung in effigy, though the historical reasons behind that reaction would be justifiable.1
Obviously, my ass. Unless you’re a Native American, this was destined to be my country well before you and your ancestors got off the boat. If you want to argue that blacks are a special circumstance because of the terrible things that happened in their past, I suggest you Google for “Trail of Tears” and read about how 14000 Native Americans were forcably evicted from the only home they’d ever known and marched across the country on foot in the dead of winter, unable to do anything as 4000 of them died.
Blacks are not the only minority in this country. But being a minority myself, I strongly believe that entitlements serving to protect a single class of people against bias is, in and of itself, biased.
Whatever you may think of me because of this post, I am not a racist. But I do fully stand by equality and fairness… and double standards make the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
I’ll bet you dollars to donuts if someone hung an effigy of Sitting Bull, no one would give it a second thought.