Bringing Down the House, Part I

Some time ago, a 15-year-old girl was found barely conscious in a garbage bag outside an apartment complex where she’d one lived with her family. Once she arrived at the ER at a local hospital, her burned, torn clothing was cut away to reveal that her body had been smeared with feces and various racial epithets had been written in charcoal. During a 20-minute interview with police, the young white teenager only spoke one single word; through drawings, nods of the head and shrugs the girl described a scenario in which three black men–all upstanding members of their communities, all well-loved by their families–had taken her to the home of one where she described being repeatedly raped and beaten. She said she had been burned by cigars then deposited where she’d been found four days later. Two lawyers and a prominent victim-rights advocate championed her cause in the press. “We have to stop this hateful violence against white people,” they said. “these black folks committing such horrible crimes need to be told that they cannot continue.”

But soon, the girl’s story began to unravel. Reports of her being spotted at a party with friends while she was supposedly missing and multiple inconsistencies in her story (including the racial slurs being written upside-down, as if she had to read them to write them, the incredible lack of any injuries, and evidence nearby suggesting the girl had done the tangible damage herself) led the grand jury to refuse to indict the three accused of the crime. They were later exonerated when the evidence more conclusively proved the girl was a liar.

Can you imagine the uproar if this scenario had played out as I described it? First, the black community never would have allowed themselves to be maligned along with three men, and rightly so. Also, however, the very instant the girl had been discovered to be a liar, they and the media would have been all over this like flies on a cow pie. There is no way this would have been allowed to go away quietly. White people all over the country who had cited this story in their attempt to convince the populace that this was a widespread problem would have been called race-baiters, hatemongers, and worse. Riots would have broken out. There would have been no escape from this fiasco by any person with white skin, whether they’d agreed with it or not.

But Tawana Brawley DID get away with it. As did her lawyer advisers, Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason–along with the Reverend Al Sharpton. Oh, Maddox’s law license was suspended and Sharpton was ordered to pay Steven Pagones (the prosecutor accused by Brawley in the case) $345,000 for defamation. But the public and the media let the group off scot-free. This happened in 1987.

The other two men accused by Brawley were police officers. Can you imagine the hell their lives decended into when these accusations were made? What kind of questions their wives had to ask, the taunting their children endured at school when this hit the news? The protests outside their homes? Brawley and her mother, Glenda, claim to this day despite the mountains of evidence that prove otherwise that they were mishandled by a supposedly racist system, and that white men in places of power just covered the incident up to protect Pagones and the two officers.

Why would Brawley make it up? Well, she’d been in trouble with her stepfather for staying out late with her boyfriend. Her stepfather, Ralph King, was a violent thug who’d stabbed his first wife nearly 15 times, and he was livid with her for refusing to obey his rules. According to many witnesses–including no less than Tawana Brawley’s boyfriend at the time–mom helped her fabricate the tale to avoid the same fate.

Today, Sharpton has not recanted his race-baiting statements or his handling of the Brawley case. Like the Brawleys, he maintains that Tawana was telling the truth and the case was up to the neck in racism. To hear him and anyone else involved today, it was all about the color of her skin, and the evidence be damned–three good men should be in prison.

Racism may still be alive, but things like this make others want to shut it out and not give a damn when REAL racism rears its ugly head.

In Part II: the Crown Heights Riots and the murder of an innocent Jewish man.

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19 thoughts on “Bringing Down the House, Part I

  1. I hadn’t heard about this before, but it burns my butt so to speak and emphasizes even more the inherent unfairness of so called “hate crimes” laws. How terrible that the race pimps do this.

  2. Wow blackcommenter, you must be under 30 for sure.

    I remember when this happened and it was all over the news and then some. This story was huge. When it began to fall apart Al Sharpton totally denied the overwhelming evidence proving Tawana Brawley was lying.

  3. Patricia Williams wrote in 1991 that the teenager “has been the victim of some unspeakable crime. No matter how she got there. No matter who did it to her and even if she did it to herself.”

    The above is from Wikipedia.org. This statement sums up the insanity around the Brawley matter.

  4. I’m not under 30. I remember the name, but not the details of it. If it was 1991, I was in school still and not terribly political. What politics I had were lockstep with race-baiting liberalism so its no wonder I wouldn’t remember it.

  5. I remember some of it, but most of what I remember was from the news and the discussions (read: knock-down, drag-out fights) going on at the school I was going to at the time. It wasn’t a pretty picture.

    Blackcommenter, I cannot stand the idea of hate-crimes laws. There is no reason at all for such legislation to pass; no life should carry more value than another when you’re dealing with victims of crime.

    John, the insanity of the Tawana Brawley case still has me absolutely stymied. I can’t understand why the evidence hasn’t been as well understood by the rest of the public as it was by the grand jury. Being a crime victim is a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone; but how much concern do we pay to those who were falsely accused of such a horrendous crime? They’re just as innocent and what is done to them is just as unfair.

  6. “but how much concern do we pay to those who were falsely accused of such a horrendous crime? ”

    Not enough. But if you get caught in an incident with a friend of Obama you can get a beer at the White House out of the deal.

    The latest crap buzz where I live is a segment of the Republican party spurred on by talk radio is doing the following:

    No matter what the initiative is, if Obama proposes it, then it is a bad idea because Obama proposed it. Without one second of consideration, we conservatives reject every single thing Obama proposes out of hand.

    Some around here are now calling this instant dislike of Obama policy as racisim!

    Oh really?

    Obama said he’d close GITMO. He has not done that. Am I a racist because I think Obama lied at worst or made a statement regarding GITMO that he would not have made if he had all the facts?

    Obama proposed and got his Stimulus. Am I racist for opposing the idea because we can’t afford it?

    Sometimes people spew out one bad idea after another and race has nothing do with being critical of these bad ideas.

  7. “Blackcommenter, I cannot stand the idea of hate-crimes laws. There is no reason at all for such legislation to pass; no life should carry more value than another when you’re dealing with victims of crime.”

    Wow, I’m kind of astonished that you would take that position. So, what you’re saying is that you are against violent crimes carrying tougher penalties if that crime can be determined to carry a component of hatred? I don’t see why you, or anyone for that matter (but especially you), would be opposed to that. How is that different (in terms of deterrence) from having a death penalty as an option? If a crime is committed with the purpose of terrifying an entire group or class of people, I think there should be an added penalty to that crime. It’s basically anti terrorism legislation. What’s wrong with that?

  8. “Sometimes people spew out one bad idea after another and race has nothing do with being critical of these bad ideas.”

    It just seems that more often than not, it is a motivating factor in their minds:

    IMG_1487

    IMG_1473

    IMG_1407

    IMG_1315

    IMG_1307

  9. If a crime is committed with the purpose of terrifying an entire group or class of people, I think there should be an added penalty to that crime. It’s basically anti terrorism legislation. What’s wrong with that?

    If a crime is committed with the purpose of terrorizing a community or group, terrorism as you say, then the person can be prosecuted under anti-terror legislation. Hate crimes laws on the other hand aren’t really “anti-terror.” They aim rather to regulate thought and inherently create a situation of unequal protection of the law.

    If a gay man is murdered, is he any less dead because the perpetrator hates gays? Perhaps the perp hates gays, but that was not the motive. Perhaps the perp had some other motive in mind. What if the perp kills a gay man but another perp kills a straight man but both perps hate gay people? Should the killer of the gay man be subject to greater punishment?

    I SAY NO. Criminality should be punished and we should not be in the business of in death attributing greater value to one life than another based on some arbitrary and easily abused identification.

  10. “They aim rather to regulate thought and inherently create a situation of unequal protection of the law.”

    Yeah, I’m going to need you to explain that one, because I don’t see how you make that correlation.

    “Should the killer of the gay man be subject to greater punishment?”

    Yes, if it’s determined that there was indeed a component of hate in his motive. This has nothing to do with quantifying life, and everything to do with discouraging people from committing violent acts simply to satiate some irrational hatred. It is anti terror legislation, and I see nothing wrong with it.

    “I SAY NO. Criminality should be punished and we should not be in the business of in death attributing greater value to one life than another based on some arbitrary and easily abused identification.”

    So, then does that mean that you are an opponent of capital punishment?

  11. “So, what you’re saying is that you are against violent crimes carrying tougher penalties if that crime can be determined to carry a component of hatred?”

    Exactly. Here’s a big part of the reason why.

    Someone I cared for very much was assaulted and raped. She was bisexual but dating a man at the time. She happened to go to a lesbian bar with several of us and as she left by herself, she was set upon by two men who dragged her into a dark side street, beat her, and raped her. They made very clear that they thought she needed a lesson because she was leaving a known gay establishment. The incident was not publicized for this very reason: she, like me, disagreed with hate-crimes laws and she didn’t want to be used by the media to push that legislation.

    It didn’t matter that she was seeing a man, or that she was just out with friends. To be honest, I don’t think it would have mattered if she were leaving a popular sports bar. To place more value on her life and her experience as a victim than a person who was assaulted and raped by two pervs who just wanted a good time is completely unfair.

    My view of the death penalty is thus: if a person knowingly and willingly takes the life of another, they should be put to death. I don’t care if it was a moment of passion–if you willingly murder a person (meaning you’re not killing them in self-defense as a last resort to protect yourself or others), your life should be forfeit. The law may never see it that way, but that’s the way it used to be and I think the way it should still be. The death penalty is used far too sparingly these days. And in our day and age, when technology can use DNA to prove a person’s guilt or innocence, I’m not nearly as worried about false identifications.

  12. “Blackcommenter, I cannot stand the idea of hate-crimes laws. There is no reason at all for such legislation to pass; no life should carry more value than another when you’re dealing with victims of crime.”

    I agree. My life as a gay man is of no more value than any other person’s life.

    Also, a racially motivated killing isn’t always intended to promote mass terror.

  13. “Also, a racially motivated killing isn’t always intended to promote mass terror.”

    That’s why the stipulation of ‘if’ is in there. A gay person’s murder shouldn’t automatically be ruled a hate crime. Once a suspect is apprehended and guilt is proven, then it needs to be determined whether or not the crime was committed to promote mass terror.

    I respect your (and Mel’s) position, and I even understand it to some degree. But, think of it this way; we’re not going after Osama Bin Laden for only murdering 3,000 people. We’re going after him because he visited acts of terror on the American people, intended to frighten them senseless. I don’t see why it’s different if only one person is a victim, that’s all…

  14. “I don’t see why it’s different if only one person is a victim, that’s all…”

    Approximately 3 years ago a single straight man from the Bay Area went camping in the Sierra foothills.

    Two men from a neighboring camp site got drunk, assumed this man in the nearby campsite was gay, and beat him to death.

    They were wrong. He was not gay. Because they thought he was gay and their hatred of gays motivated their crime, they are being charged with a hate crime. How absurd.

    These men are being punished for their actions as they should be. They are also being punished for their thoughts and that is wrong.

  15. “These men are being punished for their actions as they should be. They are also being punished for their thoughts and that is wrong.”

    The way I see it, they are being punished for their actions, which were motivated by hateful thinking. Just because these people made an incorrect assumption does not negate the fact that they committed a hate crime. The law doesn’t excuse someone because they killed the “wrong” person. They still killed someone who they thought to be gay, and if that was the reason they committed the murder, then that component of hate was obviously there. I say they got whatever punishment they deserved…

  16. Hateful thinking is not illegal. It is not against the law to hate homosexuals or blacks or jews or people with cowboy hats or girls who don’t know how to match their accessories.

    Murder is against the law.

    Besides who gets to decide what category of people get to be protected under “hate” crimes? Its simply the policing of thought and that is a terrible precedent and bad law.

  17. “Hateful thinking is not illegal. It is not against the law to hate homosexuals or blacks or jews”

    Yes, but killing people for no other reason than that is so much more heinous than killings with actual motivations.

    “Besides who gets to decide what category of people get to be protected under “hate” crimes? Its simply the policing of thought and that is a terrible precedent and bad law.”

    Obviously, that is a decision for the courts to make. And it’s not policing thought, it’s policing action. I assume that everyone agrees that while hating someone based on skin color or sexual orientation is despicable, it’s not illegal. That’s why no one gets locked up for merely being a racist/xenophobe or a homophobe. But when those thoughts are translated into violent acts, and for no other reason, I think it’s up to society to protect those who are vulnerable to these kinds of acts. It’s precisely why child killers or rapists get harsher sentences. I would certainly hope you don’t disagree with that stance. I guess when all is said and done, if this is what you view as placing more value on one life more than another, then you’re right, and it happens every day in the judicial system, regardless of hate crimes legislation. It happens in murder cases, rape cases, and even drug cases. This, to me, is a fact of life, and the old saying is incredibly apt; if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

  18. I have to apologize to Robert for taking so long to approve his comment with the picture links. I had no idea it had been marked as spam.

    I have to say, though, I don’t see any racism in one of those signs. I see one, the last one, that irritates me because of its sheer stupidity, but I see no racism.

  19. I totally forgot that I had even posted that. You not seeing any racism is odd. Were you deliberately trying to not see any? I would say that the signs are racially insensitive and xenophobic at the VERY least. But anytime someone goes to these lengths to convince you that the president is not American, and “not one of us”, and trying to make him seem foreign by outright accusing him of being just that is more likely than not motivated by things like racism and hatred. Lyin’ African? Really? Come on…

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