“Trivializing hate”

by Walter Olson on March 18, 2012

David Link on the conviction of Rutgers student Dharun Ravi over his mistreatment of eventual suicide victim Tyler Clementi [Independent Gay Forum; earlier here, here, here, etc.] (& Greenfield)

P.S. James Jacobs and Tish Durkin were among contributors to a recent roundtable on hate crime laws at the NYT’s “Room for Debate”.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Hate Crimes Conviction in Tyler Clementi Case, Which Fueled Anti-Bullying Panic and Assault on Free Speech
03.19.12 at 11:00 am
March 27 roundup
03.27.12 at 12:05 am

{ 6 comments }

1 nevins 03.18.12 at 2:14 pm

We are free to choose our associations in most areas of life. A most intimate association, the dorm roommate, is not one where most youth get a choice.
Find out that your roommate is interested in men the same way you are interested in women, and suddenly the atmosphere is charged for disaster. A university would never randomly assign males and females to the same room for exactly this reason, yet somehow we are supposed to overlook the fact that a very similar sexual dynamic had been created with the gay roommate.
Could Ravi have received a rapid no fault room mate exchange from the university? Doubtful. Is it any surprize that a juvenile whose hundred closest associates are like minded teens would resort to juvenile behavior.

Impulsive, reckless, and with little thought for future consequence; Clementi and Ravi are equally well described by this assessment.

2 Richard Nieporent 03.18.12 at 2:53 pm

According to an article I read, Ravi was charged with 35 counts and convicted of 24 of them. Thirty-five charges? Not only does this trial trivialize hate, but it is a classic case of overcharging.

3 Robert 03.19.12 at 1:00 am

@nevins: Clementi had requested a room change

4 E-Bell 03.19.12 at 8:16 am

Robert: only after he discovered that Ravi had spied on him via web-cam. I think that’s a fairly reasonable reaction to the discovery, no matter what your sexual identity is.

The question that nevins raises is the propriety of having a gay man and a straight man be roommates in the first place.

5 Jim Collins 03.19.12 at 12:58 pm

It’s a Catch-22. If he had requested a roommate change, he would have been castigated for being “anti-gay”.

6 Don 03.19.12 at 3:59 pm

Having been in the US Navy and experienced first hand the close quarters of enlisted berthing quarters, this has been my qualm about homosexuals serving openly in the military.

I had female friends on my ship who told me that some of the comments lesbians would make to them make the berthing quarters feel “like living with guys”.

The smallest berthing space I lived in was sized for 9 people, we had less than 100 square feet of space, most of it taken by the bunk beds. Another compartment was bigger. About 3oo square feet. Bunk space for 24 people. Biggest compartment, 42 people, 600 square feet.

Back then, the Navy wasn’t open to people finding their own living solutions. You lived with the people you worked with. Didn’t matter if you were at sea, or in your home port. If you were single, and couldn’t afford an apartment, you lived on the ship.

Crowded conditions like this, a little intolerance, a little abrasive personalities, recipe for disaster.

I have always felt it might work if the Navy could figure out how to let people change berthing compartments, to search out people they get along with.

Other services might have similar issues, but I am not as intimately familiar with them.

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