|Stephen Lewis, 1926 – 2015|
A Beginners Guide to Hate Crime
A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but those that do become hate crimes. The Association of Chief Police Officers and the CPS have agreed a common definition of hate crime: “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”
The above two paragraphs are taken from The Crown Prosecution Service definition of “”Hate Incident” and “Hate Crime”. Note the use of the words “perceived” “victim” and “other person”. Here we have the beginnings of something which, if applied to its logical and full conclusion, can put anyone at risk, at any time, of being accused of a “hate crime”.
To be accused of a “hate crime” you don’t actually have to have committed any offence at all, you don’t even have to know your “victim”. Furthermore your “victim” doesn’t necessarily have to be present when the supposed offence is committed. It might seem flippant but I believe, given the current state of our nation and given the fact that UK Police Forces (the one thing that could truly have been seen as the envy of the civilised world) seem hell bent on pursuing “hate criminals”, that anyone who exercises their legal right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression opens themselves up to accusations of hate crime.
The “I ‘ate you Butler” is there for a reason. Not too many years ago entertainment was full of expressions like this. People of all races colours and creeds were the butt of jokes and innuendo, on television, radio and in print. Homosexuality was regularly “sent up” and racial, religious and regional stereotypes were commonplace. “Paddies are thick”, “Jocks are tight”, “Welshmen shag sheep”, “French people don’t wash very much”, “Jews are obsessed with money” “Arabs are sneaky”, “Chinese people are yellow”, “Japanese people are treacherous” “Yorkshire people are gods in human form”, the list could go on and on. I can’t ever remember laughing at one of these stereotypes, in context, while thinking another one of them was either racist or “phobic” in some way, they were either funny, or they weren’t. Over officious people in supposed positions of power (Blakey the Bus Inspector for instance) were ribbed mercilessly, it didn’t matter what colour they were, or where they originated from.
Am I a “Hate Criminal”?
I don’t want to dwell too much on any one side of this debate; it has been made far more complex than it ever needed to be by lawmakers and other agencies that have too much say in how we live our lives. As I write this piece, which is meant to be a serious (ish) article, I am asking myself if I am putting myself at risk of arrest simply by putting some thoughts on paper, surely not.
I was brought up in a time when to be a male homosexual was to be a criminal. The church, whatever it did in private, took its lead from the bible and also taught that it (homosexuality) was wrong. I am a little bit at odds with myself where “gayness” is concerned; on the one hand I accept that as times have changed and the law has changed accordingly, homosexuality is no longer illegal.
My problem is that although it might be legal does that legality make it morally, spiritually or culturally right? Furthermore, if I do accept that homosexual practices are legal but I have an aversion, mentally and physically, to said practices, why should I be at risk of committing a crime if I make my personal feelings known, vocally or otherwise?
My upbringing and my deeply held personal beliefs are however inconsequential. Because certain organisations and the governments that slavishly listen to them have decreed I must embrace homosexuality I am not allowed to express my feelings on the subject. Perversely, “gay” people can parade down the main street of any town and city in this country, simulating lewd acts, wearing little or no clothing and openly proclaiming their “love” of anal penetration with all manner of implements without fear of censure. If I were to challenge their right to do this I could be committing a “hate crime”.
Hate Crime Top Trumps
Recently there has been a drama series on the ABBC called Broken. As a piece of drama it was quite good, the acting was excellent and the story line, which explored a Catholic Priest questioning his faith was challenging. It even addressed “hate crime” but it addressed it from, to my mind anyway, a typically ABBC perspective.
A young (mentally ill) black man was shot by police, wrongfully as it turned out. One of his neighbours, a gay man, delivered some flowers. The boy’s uncle, visiting with his children was a fundamental Christian. The uncle refused to accept the flowers. Shortly afterwards the gay man returns to complain that the children had called him a queer after he admonished them for banging on his door. These children were from a different culture where homosexuality is illegal. Anyway, the father of the boys refuses to make them apologise, he sees nothing for them to apologise for and he goes to walk away. “If they can call me queer I can call you nigger” says the gay man. He is asked to repeat this, and he does, inviting and getting a right hander to the nose. From this point the usage of the word “nigger” becomes irrelevant and the father of the boys is accused of a homophobic “hate crime” which, because it was accompanied by violence would mean, if he was convicted, a lengthy spell in prison. The “gay” man wasn’t questioned about possible provocation. Homophobia, on this occasion, trumped the use of a word deemed to be racist.
“Brexit” and Hate Crime
In the aftermath of the EU referendum it was reported that there had been a “significant” rise in “hate incidents” right across the United Kingdom. Three police forces (Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and The Met) alone recorded 1,000 “hate crimes” immediately following the result. The plain truth is that these so called “crimes” were, if not fabricated, then they were “constructed” to give the impression of a crime wave and to cause panic in the post leave consciousness. Tellingly, a Google search for “hate crimes post Brexit” reinforces this myth in 9 out of 10 of the top stories. I have never witnessed a “crime” of this type, I don’t know anyone who has and I doubt very much if many other people have either. “Hate incidents” and “hate crimes” can be anything the offended want them to be. My belief, and certainly my albeit limited experience, convinces me that post referendum hate crime was and remains a constructed myth.
Islam and Hate Crime
This is a thorny one, Muslims are constantly the victims of “hate crime”, people look at them in a funny way, some people, no doubt thinking they are being “funny”, put bacon on the handles of doors belonging to Muslims. Some people even have the temerity to write articles and books that do not agree with the received wisdom that Islam is a Religion (it isn’t it’s an ideology) of Peace.
All this has lead to Islam and its followers being the most persecuted section of society, wherever they live in the world. But how do I commit a “hate crime” against a Muslim or against Islam itself? If I state facts, “The person who murdered and maimed over 100 people at a pop concert in Manchester was a Muslim and an Islamist Jihadi”, is this a hate crime? Probably not, If however I make the statement “Islam isn’t a peaceful religion at all, this can be proved by the fact that its followers regularly murder people all over the world, citing their “holy book” as justification” I may well be guilty of being perceived as “hating Islam” and, by extension, committing a “hate crime”.
Extrapolating this further, if I was to make the statement (which I never would BTW), “I hate Islam and I hate all Muslims, I think they are stupid for believing the words of the Qu’uran, a book that was obviously made up by a paedophile to convince some thick tribesmen to murder some other tribesmen”. I could, if someone were to hear me and complain to the authorities, be investigated for “hate crime”. It wouldn’t matter whether I believed the statement or not, it wouldn’t even matter if part or all of it were true or reasonable. It COULD be a “hate crime”.
We should note that recently a man who had put bacon on a door handle was sent to prison, where he died in so far unrevealed circumstances. Recently a Muslim who was convicted of sexual assault on a minor was spared jail because his wife couldn’t speak English. Don’t you just hate it when things like this happen?
he truth is though, real crimes including crimes of a sexual nature are no longer as important as “hate crimes”. This isn’t exhaustive; there are lots of examples of how you might unknowingly commit a hate crime. My advice, I hate to say this but, watch what you say and who you say it to, don’t trust anyone you don’t know and don’t believe you live in a free and democratic country. Your rights to challenge and question are being eroded; freedom of speech is one of the last bastions of an open and libertarian society, it is worth fighting for.
© Coloniescross 2017