Thursday, 3 July 2008

Hate Crimes

Is the current era a bit dramatic, do you think?

I was reading, within the massive organ of investigative journalism that is The Metro, that Stonewall, a pro-homosexual group, has recently found that hate crimes against homosexuals is relatively common. I can't remember the figures, but they were something like 1 in 3 people have suffered a hate crime due to their preference of sexual partner.

The day after this article, a man wrote in shrugging off the study, suggesting that some of these 'hate crimes' could simply be a little bit of name calling. And that name calling occurs in many walks of life, for many reasons (although I assume all these reported 'hate crimes' involved some kind of homophobic slur). A cavalcade of letters followed the day after, lambasting the guy for voicing his opinion.

It got me thinking about this day and age. By now, you may have picked up my general dislike for the term 'hate crime'. It's too emotive for me, personally. Not clinical enough, like many other crime titles. Grevious Bodily Harm is quite descriptive. A Bloody Good Kicking is less so.

Today a patient made a joke about me being a good nurse "for a boy". This is clearly discriminating against me due to my gender. And this is not unusual. Some kind of similar comment is made probably once weekly. Is this a hate crime?

I'm pretty impervious to such jokes. And they are jokes. Light-hearted, if a little ill-considered. And I rebel against most gender stereotypes anyway, so I don't mind. But someone else might mind, and to this someone else such jocular gesticulation could count as a hate crime. To them, I mean. So is hate crime in the eye of the beholder? Where do the boundaries lie?

I personally agree with the first letter writer. There are degrees of jokes/insults. I'm from a regional background which takes a lot of stick for various reasons, but I wouldn't cry 'hate crime!' when someone did an impression of my accent or insinuated something about my character.

But I suppose someone else might.

Once again, it might be a case of me being white-middle-to-lower-class-reasonably-educated-male-trash. We're kinda overlooked by positive discrimination/affirmative action*. If the entire hiring process of nurses changes overnight to admit male candidates until the make-up of the nursing core is more representative of the general population, I'll take this point back. But I won't be popping down the bookies to put any money on that happening just yet.

*Note: Isn't the term AFFIRMATIVE ACTION awesome? It's so American. So much so you can imagine a high-kicking film of the same name. Not a good one, but a film all the same. You know what I mean. It might have Steven Segal in or something.

1 comment:

GrumpyRN said...

My pet hate is when I am told I am showing my feminine side when doing something. I find this an extremely sexist thing to be told as it implies I am incapable of caring as a man.