Hate Crime For Rutgers Outers?

October 21, 2010 1:21 PM

While we wait to see if New Jersey prosecutors will pursue hate crime enhancements against Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei in connection with the outing of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, is there anyone out there in the community who may want to see this with a more positive spin? Just think, after years of being saddled with that "model minority" stereotype we can now breathe a sigh of relief. There on the front pages we have living examples of college-age Asian Americans behaving badly. See, we really are more well-rounded than that standard issue Asian geek cum nerd image. We are capable of so much less. 

Doesn't that make you feel better?  So much for uplift. 

That leaves us with the only positive for Ravi and Wei: once all the facts are in, I see it unlikely that what they are alleged to have done constitutes a bias crime. 

At this point, Ravi and Wei face charges based on the New Jersey law prohibiting the transmitting of sexual images and content without a person's consent. Maximum prison term? Five years. Likely they'll get less. Want an enhancement? Take away internet, cell phones and gadgets. Ouch. 

Now that's harsh, dude. 

Still see it as a bullying/bias crime?  Sure, what happened in the aftermath, Clementi's suicide is tragic.  But put the basic facts to a simple test: Clementi was gay, but would Ravi and Wei do what they did to a straight roommate?  In place of Tyler Clementi, insert one Joe Jock- BMOC, who gets set up with a tranny or a prostitute or an inflatable doll. (You make the call.)

You think Ravi and Wei would have the webcam on? Of course they would, because the only bias they have is for something more interesting than their own boring lives. In the end, what motivated the Rutgers Deux isn't the gayness, the sexiness, or anything remotely human.

These kids aren't really voyeurs or sex deviants. Nor are they homophobes. They're technophiliacs. I'm coining the term to define people with an irrational love of technology, where the love of technology is greater than the love of humanity. Where kindness is lost and never a consideration. The only thing that matters: Hey, I can do THAT with THIS GADGET? That IS SOOOO cool. 

Call it "Plug and Play" morality. 

When you're cut off from human feelings, cool is all you need. Ravi and Wei were both way cool, sadly. 

The comic Flip Wilson used to parade in drag as Geraldine, and proclaim, "The devil made me do it."  With Plug and Play values, it's "the technology made me do it." That's not a hate crime. That's just a crime crime. 

So no hate crime enhancements. But if I were judge and jury, I'd just take away all their toys. Cell phones. Webcams. Slingboxes. For life. 

I'd give them typewriters to do their term papers. Rolls of quarters for pay phones. 8-track tapes for their music. I'd strip them of their Kindles. Then throw the book at them.

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Posted by:Emil Guillermo

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views or policies of AALDEF.


1. Hey Emil, Nice to see you writing for the AALDEF blog! And you make a good point about the prevailing "plug and play" morality. Welcome back to the East Coast!
Posted by: Phil Tajitsu Nash | Oct 29, 201010:14 PM

2. Hmm, interesting take, Mr. Guillermo. You've not won me over by your argument, but I get what you're saying. One point, I protest your use of the term, "tranny". It is demeaning to transgendered people, especially to those who are Asian American.
Posted by: Hello Kitty | Nov 1, 201010:33 AM

3. I like your blog and appreciate that you are writing on issues facing Asian Americans. I agree that this incident was tragic and that it was not motivated by hate. I do not share, however, your seeming view that this conduct should be expected or that it is somehow not bullying/bias. I also don't agree that the BMOC would have been filmed too - they would have been scared of the social repurcussions for themselves. Gay, music-loving Tyler Clementi was a more palatable victim for the bullying conduct of these two young people. I don't think they had any idea - perhaps because they did not bother to think - of the devastating psychological impact of their actions on Tyler. But that does not make it any less wrong. Every person - gay, straight, BMOC, or regular gal - has a right to expect privacy in his/her room and home. To be clear, I don't think you were condoning their behavior, but I do think the tone of your piece made light of the serious issues underlying their conduct and the tragic result. As we face the ethical challenges posed by our increasing technological sophistication, we must clearly condemn actions that improperly intrude on expected zones of privacy and community standards for civillity.
Posted by: Tara | Nov 1, 201011:26 AM

4. Now what I see is a country where a brown young man - Dharun Ravi - gets punished for ten years in jail for making fun of his white college roommate who got upset and killed himself by jumping off a bridge; while a white man who shoots and kills a brown young man (Trayvon Martin) in Florida goes unpunished by the law. The only lesson to take away from this is the so-called "justice" system is disproportionately harsh towards a brown young man while not protecting them. When even the hint of discomfort is caused by a brown man to a white, he gets ten years in jail. It's all about protecting white privilege.
Posted by: weareruledbydivision | Apr 2, 2012 6:52 PM

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