People who dedicate themselves to teaching self defense skills are, by and large, motivated by a profound sense of fair play. They just donít see any reason why a 90 pound woman should automatically lose when attacked by a 250 pound weightlifting sexual predator.
It is that same devotion to the ideal of a level playing field that keeps me from endorsing so-called hate crime legislation. Violent assault is already a crime, just as it should be. But why in the world should the penalty be greater if the victim just happens to be a member of a minority group? Not only doesnít that seem very fair to me, it also appears to violate the principle that we are all equal under the law.
Let us turn this around and look at it from the other side. Should the sentence be harsher if the criminal is a minority? Most people would instantly reject the idea as being blatantly racist and discriminatory, yet it doesnít seem to occur to anyone that attempting to add layers of protections to minorities that the rest of the population wonít share is also a form of racism and discrimination.
The state of Illinois seems to be very proud of its hate crime legislation. The governorís office says so at this website, which is the web page for the Governorís Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes. This webpage proclaims that the commission is dedicated to fighting discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, skin color, gender, disability or sexual orientation, which are six different dragons theyíre trying to slay.
Things arenít all rosy in the Land of Political Correctness, though. Illinois Governor Blagojevich appointed Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad, a high ranking member of the Nation of Islam, to the commission back in August. She urged all of her fellow commission members to attend a speech given last month by NoI leader Louis Farrakhan. I donít know how many actually attended other than Sister Muhammad, but Farrakhan seized the opportunity to accuse ďHollywood JewsĒ of promoting homosexuality and ďother filthĒ.
Hmm. Thatís two out of six, isnít it?
Other members of the commission havenít been taking this lying down. A few of them have called upon Sister Muhammad to repudiate Farrakhanís remarks. When she refused they started to resign. So far five Jewish members have turned in their walking papers.
Right now Iím thinking that the rest of the commission consists of nothing but straight people. Either that or the gay members are really slow getting out of the gate.
Governor Blagojevich has tried to distance himself from the scandal by claiming that he didnít know Sister Muhammad was a member of the Nation of Islam when he appointed her. Every time I read her name I have real trouble accepting that statement.
I think that this current flap is pretty much a matter of credibility, or lack thereof. The commission canít have any credibility as long as a high ranking leader of the Nation of Islam is a member, and the governor just lost all credibility by trying to claim that he had no idea when he appointed her.