Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hate Crime

My friend "Julio" is a victim of a hate crime. He's a soft-spoken, sweet-natured Hispanic guy with a great sense of humor and engaging personality. Everyone loves Julio, or so I would guess.

However, during the weekend he walked outside his home to see some white rednecks lounging about on his vehicle. When he politely asked them to leave it alone, they grew beligerant and started throwing out racial slurs. He suddenly found himself surrounded.

Julio saw nothing good coming out of the situation, and he's a pacivist. As he turned to run, he tripped, fell, and suddenly they were on top of him. While his girlfriend stood there, screaming for the men to stop, one of the men took a brick and smashed in the side of his eye socket. We don't know yet if they'll be able to save the eye. He's in the hospital under an assumed name, as they do with all victims.

One of Julio's friends told him that they'll hunt down the guys when he's better, and teach them a lesson. Julio said no: Two wrongs don't make a right. The only good news that comes out of this is that the police know who the guys are, and the severity of the charges will be tripled now that it's labeled as a "hate crime".

Racism? In the Tampa Bay Area? We're very metropolitan (we're ranked up there with New York City, Dallas, and the Miami area). It's very rare to find a southern accent here: We're not truly "The Deep South", but sometimes The Deep South intrudes upon us. And, like any major metro area, there is crime. But here? Where you can find people of all colors peppered throughout? Racism is a losing battle here: Redneck go home!


Nihilistic said...

People suck...

Mr. Fabulous said...

Oh my God, this post nearly made me sick. What is wrong with people? It makes me want to go outside and scream at the top of my lungs "WHY? WHY?"

Anonymous said...

Nihilistic, Yup. And a hate crime against a Hispanic here is like one against a gay person in San Francisco! It leaves you scratching your head.

Mr. Fabulous, that is exactly what I've been feeling since I found out yesterday morning. Its frustrating to feel this anger and have no outlet, which is why I understand Julio's friend's offer.

Ed Abbey said...

I used to think racism would breed itself out but now I don't think so. Until we are all one color or are no longer, racism is here to stay.

If I was vengeful, I would sentence them to some bad part of Mexico and see how they fare.

United We Lay said...

I'm surprised you're surprised at this. One of the MAIN reasons my husband and I left FL was because of the constant racism we encountered almost every time we left the house. People would say things to me in restaurants. A women pulled her car over in a parkign lot to tell us we were going to hell. As we walked by a child and his father one day, the man told his son that if he ever married outside of his raced he's be disowned. And these are only a few examples.

United We Lay said...

By the way, having lived near NYC, and IN Philly, I have to say that the characterization of Tampa as metropolitan is false. I'd have to question the validity of such a study. There are no accents, but there are the attitudes. Tampa is one of the most redneck places (as far as attitude is concerned) I have ever lived, and we lived in the Appalachian mountains. I'm really sorry to be so negative about where you live, but this truly was my experience.

uncle joe said...

My feeling is that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Ranked right up there with New York, Miami, and Dallas huh?

1. New York just had a shooting involving some unarmed black people by cops who felt threatened because of an auto accident. Oh yea and there was the Haitian guy who got the toilet plunger stick crammed up someplace by a NYC cop a few years ago.

2. Dallas is in Texas, and we all know how that state is 100% redneck free

3. Miami is a funny place. It is sort of a divided city. You think Cubans want to live in a Mexican area? Nope. I have heard Cubans call other people "Mexican" as an insult. I have even heard Cubans say that illegal immigration should be stopped by whatever means needed. Ignoring of course that they got to Florida by what could be considered illegal means.

This kind of stuff can happen anywhere.

Edge said...

See why I support the death penalty. Thinning the gene pool is not a bad thing.


Anonymous said...

Jef/Edge, there you are! You're right.

Lazy Iguana, true. It can happen anywhere. But my point is that we're hardly the deep south. We're a pocket of (somewhat more civilized?) behavior in an area where perhaps a lesser amount would be expected. Good points about how minorities will turn around and oppress, persecute, or discriminate against other minorities. And, of course, we see other countries where racial lines aren't clearly drawn and still racism exists (shiites vs. sunnis for instance).

Uncle Joe, you think so??? Why?

UWL, I surely didn't face the same things you did. Your hubby's only hispanic, but I've dated a guy that looked like Lenny Kravitz (yeah, we got some weird looks but that was it) and was engaged to a Filipino with long hair (we only got a strange look once from an old couple). No one ever said anything to us or was threatening in any way. That doesn't mean that I don't believe your experiences, but *I* haven't had those same experiences.

Ed, excellent idea! They should have to fight their way out!

Ed Abbey said...

I've been married to a Filipina for two and a half years (and dated her for four more years before that) and never have seen anything racist towards her or me. The only thing is that Mexicans often come up to us and start speaking to my wife and since she doesn't know Spanish, I have to tell them that in my poor Spanish.

But I know people here are racist too. It's just they are polite racists in the sense that they aren't confrontational.

michelle said...

Saur, you need to get out. This is not unusual.

As far as your friend being in the hospital with an assumed name...he's is lucky. Not all victims are under an assumed name at all. There is legal paper work for that to happen. However anyone can be placed in "confidential" status. That means when anyone and I mean anyone calls, comes in, sends flowers, mail, or anything else to inquire about a patien the hopital will say, "I am sorry but we have no one here by that name." The flowers go back, the mail goes back, the caller is left dumbfounded...but the patient is safe.

QUASAR9 said...

Well Saur Kraut,
I can't answer for Uncle Joe, and I'm sure he's got a good answer.

But the reason why I would agree that it is going to get worse before it gets better - is because anger & frustration is growing.

Kids here now go around kicking shit out of people (queer, black, paki, old, drunk, down and out - it doesn;t matter anyone will do) and videoing the event on mobile phones to show their 'mates' - just for fun(?) because it is the 'trendy' thing to do ...
or just because they dare - and hey if you get caught or arrested by the police, so what suspended sentence and if you are really naughty a 'tag' (a badge of honour)

All fun so far (well exceot for the victim) - but we are on a slippery slope, no respect for people, no respect for authority, nor respect for anything - can only lead to more anger, frustration, aggression - as they become more 'alienated' from 'normal' society: work, career, opportunities

and become more jealous and angry with the world as they are bombarded all day by tv and teenage magazines about pop stars and soccer stars and their glamorous lifestyle - and the promise that anyone, yes you too, can have it all. But the reality doesn't match the dream.

Time lost out of school is time lost
Time lost not building a career or learning a skill (craft) is time lost

And guess what, the majority of people have what they have because they work year in year out to pay their mortgages and bills, and scrimp and save to make ends meet or have a 'moderately' comfortable life ...

Only the fortunate few, get to really get to when they feel like it, string a few words together into a hit song, waste their days splashing cash and their nights clubbing - and you don't get this by dropping out of school or pretending to be cool, or refusing to work like some kind of dork.

Only one in every thousand gets the star treatment - and you you angry fool are one of the 999 who doesn't - so the sooner you learn to be like the 2 in 3 people who work their asses off in jobs which ain't too great but pay the bills, the less angry and happier you'll be.

I'm not preaching at or to anyone, I'm just telling it as it is. Anger and frustration (whether with life, work or love) usually ends up with looking at someone to lash out at - and these guys generally don't even have the balls to be angry with anyone tough or tougher than they are - as usual with all cowardly creeps they look for someone milder or gentler or easy target to hit on.

Lee Ann said...

I completely agree!

green said...

My prayers for Julio's quick recovery.
He sounds liek a sweet, compassionate guy.
And for those thugs who attacked him, that they would see and understand that what they did was wrong and ask forgiveness.

But probably not. Hate crimes are bad news.

Anonymous said...

Two things: so glad he didn't respond via revenge attacks, that is the attitude of a true man and also, anyone who hurts another based on their skin colour is such an ignorant waste of space that the only answer is electrodes to the balls.

Senor Caiman said...


This behavior is typical for this time of year in Florida. As I was driving South on 95 last week I couldn't believe the number of rednecks in their pick-up trucks heading toward Florida. I would like to see all those redneck pick-up drving idiots executed. I needed to get that off my chest.

Miss Cellania said...

This heartbreaking. I will pray for his recovery. But no city, town, or area of any kind is immune to racism.

Badoozie said...

so i'm wondering if those rednecks were just in town visiting family or they really live there, because if they do, they won't for long...they're going down!

Anonymous said...

Off topic: of course you're not alone, from across the Atlantic some one is feeling just like you.


United We Lay said...

A friend of mine explains it this way - In states where the hispanic population is high, hispanics face a lot of problems. One of the main reasons is because people feel they are mostly illegal or that they arte taking jobs from people they feel are more deserving. There's a lot of tension between the hispanic and por white communinties because their competeing for the same jobs. at the same time, African-Americans in those areas are seen by poor whites as allies in a way because they're jobs are being taken by hispanics as well. Dude - it is so cool to have a friend with a Dr. in cultural anthropology!

Besides all of that, my husband is fairly dark and when he has a beard he's often mistaken for arab.