Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kane Watch: The Great Bus Hate Crime...Denial

My very first ever full fisking of Kane...

Bus story cries out for some perspective

Ah, yes, of course. And Kane is there to deliver it.

I really wanted to write about how cold it's been, but it seems some folks would rather hear about the Great Bus Hate Crime.

It gets cold in Wisconsin every year (maybe a little colder this year than last, but it's nothing new). Rarely do we hear about black teens beating on white folks while throwing out racial slurs. Of course, Kane always does seem to want to ignore stories just like this. Do I need to mention McGee?

It seems a white guy was attacked by a group of black people on a bus in Wauwatosa two weeks ago. The Wauwatosa police decided to seek charges including a hate-crime enhancer against one suspect because most of the people on the bus were African-American and someone reportedly used a racial slur.

I can't imagine the hate crime enhancer has anything to do with most of the people on the bus being African-American, but rather that an African-American assailant called the victim "cracker" while beating on him. If a white man beat up a black man on Water Street late on a Saturday, I wouldn't go anywhere near calling it a hate crime. If the white guy kept dropping the n-word during the beating, well, seems to be that might qualify.*

Some folks have jumped on the Great Bus Hate Crime story as the latest example of rampant black-against-white hate crime in Milwaukee that goes largely unreported because of liberal media bias.

"Some folks" might. But other folks aren't pointing to "rampant black-against-white hate crime." They're pointing to any crime, be it white-on-white, black-on-white, white-on-black or the far too frequent black-on-black. What people see this as the latest example of is an increasing amount of crime in Milwaukee's black community that's growing far too random for people's comfort.

But there's a legitimate question whether this case meets the standard of previous high-profile racially motivated incidents.

The victim on the bus didn't suffer enough injuries to require hospital treatment, which makes this one different from the bloody beating of Frank Jude Jr. by off-duty Milwaukee cops.

He also wasn't threatened with a gun or a German shepherd, which makes the case different from the hate crime involving two former firefighters accused of chasing a black fisherman out of their Waukesha County neighborhood.

A person was beat up because he was white. His glasses were broken and his eyes too swollen to put in his contacts. He suffered from humiliation and emotional distress because he was white. Michael Richards had a break-down on stage, uttered the n-word far too many times, and every African-American interest group in the nation was calling for his head. To the best of my knowledge, he didn't hit anyone in the audience.

The victim on the bus is a 20-year-old student at Milwaukee Area Technical College; the suspects are reportedly a bunch of black teenagers on their way from Mayfair Mall back to the central city of Milwaukee.
Some have said the bus attack suggests it's dangerous for whites to ride buses with black people. That's ridiculous. People of different races have been riding buses together in this town for decades. There are definitely racial problems in Milwaukee, but it's not limited to the buses.

You keep bringing up the Jude case so I will as well: The cops involved in the beating were some bad apples. Is that any justification for the black community in Milwaukee to show as much distrust for the police in general? No. Just as it's not justifiable for white people to be afraid to be the only white person on a bus. You may not be able to stop people's fears, but you damned well better understand them.

This story cries out for some perspective, particularly in a community where sensational crimes involving homicide, gang rape and outrageous child abuse emerge from both the black and white communities. Given the level of violence in some areas of town, it's hard to muster up any outrage over a fight on a bus.

I'll be sure to remember that the next time a black person is denied entrance at a downtown nightclub.

It's also hard to believe some folks are suddenly so concerned about the racial climate in Milwaukee because a white guy was on the receiving end this time.

We've always been concerned about it. Any observation a white person makes is labeled as racist.

The head of the NAACP weighed in on the Great Bus Hate Crime after being asked for comment. Funny, but I don't remember which white organization was asked to comment about the Jude beating or when the black guy from Milwaukee was threatened while fishing.

There isn't a "white organization." And, by the way, when you're challenged over the fact that there isn't a "White History Month," don't respond by saying, "every month is white history month." It's just childish and ignorant.

But it was encouraging to hear the bus victim address his bad experience with some thoughtfulness. He told a Journal Sentinel reporter he actually felt sorry for the people who attacked him.

"There's something wrong in this (community) when people don't understand how to interact with each other."
Wow...some level-headedness in this story. People like McGee/Jackson, who feign insult and make calls of racism whenever he's the so-called "victim" might take a page from this kid's book.

I think the Great Bus Hate Crime struck a nerve because of simmering anger from whites in Milwaukee who believe black people are excused for the same acts of racial animosity for which whites would get crucified.

You're right. One point for you.

I don't think that's true - Jude's attackers, remember, were never charged with hate crimes - but it's a conversation worth having. The Great Bus Hate Crime might help that conversation along if enough people are willing to share their opinions.

Love to see it. Doubt people will want to hear them. Or, at least, they'll hear them, and more calls of racism will be made.

Next column, I write about the cold weather for sure.

Better bury this story as soon as possible.


At 4:15 PM, February 08, 2007, Blogger Casper said...

*forgot to add my footnote. Personally, I am against the hate crime enhancer simply because I believe every crime (or, at least, violent crime) is in some way motivated by hate. You don't beat someone else because you love them.

Unless you're my dad. And it did hurt me more than it hurt you!

At 6:30 PM, February 08, 2007, Blogger Cantankerous said...

Well done, Casper. Spot on assessment, in my opinion.


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