Wash. Examiner’s Kane: What About Hate Crimes Against Straight White People?
April 29, 2011 11:28 am ET by Carlos Maza
Gregory Kane, a columnist for The Washington Examiner, wrote a column yesterday about a recent incident in which Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman, was brutally attacked by two teenagers at a McDonald’s in Baltimore, MD. Rather than discuss the problem of transphobic violence in a state that recently blocked non-discrimination protections for transgender people, Kane decided to bash hate crime legislation and mock the idea that someone can actually be transgender:
Polis has been repeatedly referred to in news stories as a "woman." Not because he was born a woman, and not because he has two x chromosomes that women have, but merely because he thinks he is.
I'm sorry, but buying into Polis' notion that he's a woman is like asking me to call my weird Uncle Herman "your highness" just because he takes a notion that he's the Emperor Napoleon. I think I'll pass on that one.
Kane’s comparison reveals how little he actually knows about transgender people and gender identity (this is an unsurprising trend with transphobic commentators). Transgender people don’t simply decide to identify as either male or female on a whim. Gender identity is deeply rooted a person’s psyche; It isn’t a “notion” or “thought” that can be discarded or easily changed. Comparing a transgender person’s struggle to the delusions of a “weird uncle” is both offensive and embarrassingly naïve.
But Polis is transgendered, based on the definition of the term. Is that why the two women beat him? Well, we haven't heard from them yet.
All the facts about what happened and why aren't even close to being in, yet some have already raised the "hate crimes" banner.
What happened to Polis was clearly wrong, and the suspects have already been charged with assault. But for some, that simply isn't enough.
While it is true that no formal hate crime charges have yet been filed, asserting that there’s no basis to discuss the possibility of a hate crime so early on is a little farfetched. Polis has already claimed that the attack was “definitely a hate crime,” saying:
“They said, 'That's a dude, that's a dude and she's in the female bathroom.’ … They spit in my face.”
Clearly these statements alone aren’t enough to substantiate a hate crime accusation, but Kane seems to mock even the possibility that the attack was motivated by anti-transgender animus.
Because Polis is transgendered, he's entitled to extra protection, according to the "hate crimes" police. Had Polis, who's white, been just an actual white woman taking a beat-down because of the color of her skin, not her sexuality, we wouldn't have heard word one from anybody about filing "hate crimes" charges against Polis' assailants.
Quick, when was the last time you ever heard any of these "hate crimes" folks call for "hate crimes" charges to be lodged against so-called "people of color" whose victims were white?
The answer, for most of you, is probably never, because "hate crimes" lobbyists seldom, if ever, urge prosecutors to file "hate crimes" charges against assailants whose victims are white and heterosexual.
To be clear, in order to prove an attack was a hate crime, lawyers must demonstrate that the attack was motivated by animus based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. In other words, it isn’t a hate crime if a person is simply attacked, but it is a hate crime if that person is attacked because of his or her race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.
Kane is apparently under the impression that straight white women are somewhat frequently being attacked for being heterosexual and white, or are at least being attacked at reates similar to the rates at which transgender people are, and that these attacks are not being properly prosecuted as hate crimes. He, of course, doesn’t bother citing or referencing a single piece of evidence to validate this claim.
Transgender Americans, on the other hand, are documented to be at a high risk of being targeted for hate-motivated violence. Multiple studies have demonstrated that transgender people are frequently victims of harassment, violence, and hate crimes, and even those studies are likely to suffer from chronic underreporting.
Here's what "hate crimes" lobbyists really believe, deep in their hearts:
When a crime happens to someone in my group, or someone in a group I deeply sympathize with, then that's a "hate crime."
When the same crime happens to anyone else, that's simply the victim's tough luck.
It’s hard to take Kane’s final claim seriously. Instead of engaging in a serious or rational debate about the effectiveness of hate crime legislation, Kane uses the vicious beating of a transgender women to voice his concern that not enough attention is being paid to heterosexuals.