Re: Learning Well the Ways of the World at URI

By way of following up my post about the gay-rights sit-in at the University of Rhode Island, I note that the Providence Journal has reported the actions of the student arrested related to anti-gay slurs:

An anti-gay threat written on a dry-erase board on the door of a University of Rhode Island dorm room has resulted in the arrest of a freshman from Massachusetts, URI officials said Thursday. …
One student reported feeling threatened, [University spokesman Dave] Lavallee said.
The message, Lavallee said, was accompanied by a drawing of a male anatomical part and said: “You are gay, get out of Barlow before you regret it.”

This student should certainly face some sort of censure for a dumb action intended to offend, but the Projo placed its report under the header, “Hate Crime.” Is this really the level of drama that we want to apply to adolescent indiscretion?

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michael
michael
10 years ago

Two suicides related to sexual preference, one a result of taunting involving images being broadcast over the internet, the other a Johnson and Wales student in Providence emphasize the the emotional anguish gay students endure.
I’d call the situation at URI a hate crime, all day long.

Justin Katz
10 years ago

As far as I’ve seen, the reason for the Johnson & Wales suicide are unknown. The case at Rutgers has to do with an egregious violation of privacy that is an affront no matter the sexual preference of the victim.
One might include recent instances of teenage suicide related to heterosexual relationships and conclude that the problem is not “hate crimes,” but other forms of and high-tech opportunities for bullying and abuse. To conflate all behavior related to an identity class with such acts is to dangerously dilute the truly egregious behavior. It also reinforces the notion that the targets of such attacks — both mild, like at URI, and truly evil, like at Rutgers — are battling a massive social movement against which suicide might be the only available defense, rather than experiencing stupid slights from people with poorly formed senses of morality.
In other words, the exagerated response to the mildest affront can’t help but contribute to the response that individuals feel to be appropriate — allowing scrawls on a whiteboard to contribute to the definition of one’s identity.

rhody
rhody
10 years ago

Congrats on creating a free speech martyr at URI and the two new ones at Rutgers – poor oppressed heteros.

michael
michael
10 years ago

“You are gay, get out of Barlow before you regret it.”
This is a worse than a goofy comment like “Bob likes boys,” or something like that. This is a threat. Young gay people are vulnerable, not having enough time to find peace with their sexuality. Never in life is acceptance among peers so crucial as in high school and college. Defining such acts as a hate crime is appropriate, but then I’ve seen more than my share of swinging corpses, so I’m a little sensitive to the issue.

Justin Katz
10 years ago

Michael,
The point is that you cannot legislate “acceptance among peers,” and by elevating a stupid comment on an erasable medium like a white board to this level of profundity, you affirm excessive reactions to it.
Moreover, your comment about youth applies to the perpetrator, as well. When he was asked about the graffiti, he confessed. He definitely needs to learn that such behavior is not acceptable, but prison and conviction of a “hate crime”?

rhody
rhody
10 years ago

And why, pray tell, should I apologize? One quality I find admirable about Dick Cheney is his refusal to apologize when someone demand it – liberals can learn from him.
Bill Maher made an observation two weeks ago that seems to apply here; It used to be the conservatives were the tough guys, and the liberals were the ones always crying about getting their feelings hurt. This is at least as strong an example of the victim mentality as I’ve ever heard from any liberal.
Besides, the proper use is “dishhhhhh-picable!” Whenever I hear that word, I think of Daffy Duck.

rhody
rhody
10 years ago

And why, pray tell, should I apologize? One quality I find admirable about Dick Cheney is his refusal to apologize when someone demand it – liberals can learn from him.
Bill Maher made an observation two weeks ago that seems to apply here; It used to be the conservatives were the tough guys, and the liberals were the ones always crying about getting their feelings hurt. This is at least as strong an example of the victim mentality as I’ve ever heard from any liberal.
Besides, the proper use is “dishhhhhh-picable!” Whenever I hear that word, I think of Daffy Duck.

Justin Katz
10 years ago

Have it your way, then, Rhody. Your comments are no longer welcome here.

swazool
swazool
10 years ago

Justin, asking for an apology is sorta gay don’t you think?

mmorsepfd@aol.com
10 years ago

Free Rhody!

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

For what it is woth, teenagers and the elderly have the highest rates of suicide. Although “you take your victim as you find him”, perhaps the victims need more help. Tiger Woods sex tape was sold yesterday and is expected to go viral on the net. Who thinks Tiger will take the pipe?

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

The URI College Republicans brought you a White, Heterosexual Male, only Scholarship
( Sorry: No Gays, Lesbians, Brown People, Asians, American Indians, Black people… NEED APPLY)
Is Christopher Hagen a member ???
I am just asking….
Could someone from URI please respond ?

hellas
hellas
10 years ago

So what’s the insult that got this guy banned? I’ve seen much worse here and on other boards.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

Hellas:
Justin said:
“The case at Rutgers has to do with an egregious violation of privacy that is an affront no matter the sexual preference of the victim.”
Rhody said to Justin:
“Congrats on creating a free speech martyr at URI and the two new ones at Rutgers – poor oppressed heteros.”
Justin condemned in no uncertain terms the actions of the punks at Rutgers. He did not defend them, much less attempt to make “free speech martyrs” of them.
Yet that’s what Rhody accused Justin of doing.
To falsely accuse someone of defending and making martyrs of two jerks who caused the death of an innocent person? Yup, that’s insulting.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Have it your way, then, Rhody. Your comments are no longer welcome here.
Posted by Justin Katz at October 2, 2010 10:50 AM
Good-don’t let that troll back please. There are plenty of Red blogs in this state he can pollute.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

While I will leave the final determination to others, let us consider wheter the publication of the pictures was the “root cause”,or the “efficient cause” of Mr. Clementi’s suicide.
Was Mr. Clementi an otherwise happy, stable, human being? Or, was he a very unstable human being. The news indicates that he was very happy and well liked. I suspect we are more sophisticated than that, do we really believe that every ghetto kid who meets a violent death is an “honor student”?
Does a well grounded person commit suicide because their personal life is exposed? As I mentioned above, a Tiger Woods “sex tape” has been released. Does anyone expect to read of Tiger’s suicide tomorrow?
Sorry to offer no conclusion here, I’ll think about it some more.

jp
jp
10 years ago

Sammy, the fact that you’re offended by that “scholarship” was sort of the point; that it went over your head so easily is telling.
Justin, it’s your site, but is that really how you want to run it?

Justin Katz
10 years ago

JP,
Is what how I want to run it? Look, it’s long been a practice of Rhody’s to offer barely relevant jibes intended to provoke others and then to mock them when they respond as expected. Other commenters have the option of ignoring comments; in a strict sense, I do not.
But I will say that I do not want to run the Web site with frequent bans. Had Rhody given even the slightest indication that he was interested in reasonable conversation with even the mildest of interests in not slandering his hosts, he could have avoided the sentence.
I most definitely wish to run the Web site in such a way as to create a forum for mildly veiled personal insults from anonymous political hacks.

hellas
hellas
10 years ago

I don’t think Rhody really insulted anyone – he didn’t personally attack anyone or call anybody silly names. While I don’t agree with his assertion, he didn’t act in a manner any different than many people here – did you do it just because he disagreed with you on an issue that provokes an emotional response?
As owner of the site, you can ban anyone you want, but I think you diminished yourself much more here.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Hellas, you must not be acquainted with the stench of Rhody’s complete oeuvre on these comment threads. Many people disagree with Justin and the other bloggers here consistently, but they debate the issue, unlike our little Leftist terror cell. And most of the Leftists are still here, spouting irrelevancies like the crazy guy at the bottom of the escalators in Grand Central Station. No, merely disagreeing with Justin does not get one banned.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Maybe this jerkoff kid needs to try his act in a leather bar catering to gays.He might end up walking funny for awhile.

Kory Casto
Kory Casto
9 years ago

This particular essentially solved my dilemma, appreciate it!

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