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Nap Time!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Not bias!

Bill to give SJP money for being unpopular. I find the discussions of the dangers of "hate and bias" to be amusing. Are hate and bias similar, and on the same level? SJP doesn't suffer from a lack of bias, after all. As a political advocacy group, you sort of expect them to be biased, and I can't see anything particularly wrong with it. The people who disagree with them are also probably biased, because people have opinions about stuff. Oh noes.

I find it hard to take seriously the argument that political disagreements that lead to vandalism are on the same level as hate crimes in the "South," as Nadir Shams says, where the issue is not "we disagree with your political views," but rather "we disagree with your existence." This makes it, I guess, a "bias crime." The horror.

By the by, some folks apparently speculate that SJP broke their own sign so they could claim victim status. They certainly weren't hesitant to try to take full advantage of it. Previous incarnations of SJP have done things such as impersonate Jewish groups to hurt their credibility with new students, so something like that is hardly beyond possibility.

Update: In response to Yaman, let me make a few things clear:

1) When I say "some folks," I'm talking about myself. It's a joke on the journalistic approach of writers attributing their own opinion to "some." That's not to say it isn't true about "some" (I have heard that speculation from others) but I don't want to make it seem like I'm trying to divert responsibility for my statements.

2) The suggestion that SJP broke their own sign is groundless speculation. I stand by my comment for what it is (groundless speculation), as I don't trust SJP to be honest on any issue their cause might benefit from.

3) The groundless speculation was included because of how ridiculously aggressive SJP was in trying to claim that it was somehow a hate crime against all Muslims. SJP is a political advocacy group that pisses off a lot of people, and has pissed off a lot of people in the past. (Even if it's a different group, it still took up the same name and will inherit that animosity.) For them to suggest that any unfriendliness directed their way is similarly directed at the entire Muslim community is also groundless speculation.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/26/2007 07:44:00 AM #
Comments (4)
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First of all, your suggestion that SJP did this to itself is despicable. As far as I'm concerned it's about as groundless, disgusting, and revolting as the idea that Bush coordinated 9-11. Are you seriously suggesting that we did this to get $75 from the ASUC? Really? And you try to dissociate yourself from this view by referring to "some folks?" That is quite an irresponsible statement.

Second of all, "hate and bias" is not our language, it is language that already exists in the old Task Force's website, at the GenEq center, etc. Our focus is hate crimes & hate incidents. It was another Senator who suggested this was a "bias-related incident," not a hate crime. "Bias-related incident" doesn't mean anything, besides implying all the things that are assumed for the hate crime definition anyway: that the sign was deliberately targeted.
Sorry, the "some folks" joke wasn't clear. It's my own speculation, and I was mocking journalistic practice. It is indeed groundless speculation, but I don't find it to be outside the realm of possibility, considering past actions by the group whose banner you folks took up.

SJP got a lot more than $75 from the ASUC. (If the board cost $75, then that's a wash, anyway) It also got victim status and attention, which is something that protesters for many causes, including SJP's, seek. The aggressiveness with which it responded in seeking that victim status, including the equally groundless claim that the sign was broken as a hate crime "against the entire Pro-Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim populations at UC Berkeley," seems to reinforce this goal.

The idea that the deliberate targeting of a political advocacy group is a hate crime is also, I think, an enormous overreach. It is indeed a "bias crime," but that's a stupid thing to call a crime. Yes, crimes occur because people don't like each other. For all you know, SJP's sign was targeted because someone was pissed off about suicide bombings. To ascribe a broad anti-Muslim goal is also groundless speculation.

Considering how SJP just laughs when folks punch a Ronald Reagan cutout at the BCR table, or visitors shout out that Republicans don't belong on campus, I find the idea that they generally oppose hate speech (by this broad, political advocacy-inclusive definition), rather than just anti-them speech, pretty silly.
Beetle, this incident is not attention for SJP. It is a distraction. In the coming week's you'll see that we have other more important things to worry about. Yes, we made noise about this happening, and we did it precisely because whoever did break our sign, will most likely not do it again in light of the attention it gathered. Don't blame SJP for that attention: it's a sad reflection on the campus community in general that a story about this sign got more attention in media, from the administration, and in the Senate than the very serious things our group focuses on.

As for the wording in the bill, you were not at the committee meeting, so I don't think you have knowledge about certain parts of this bill. It was drafted hurriedly with the intention of being a ghost bill, and many parts were revised in committee. In particular, I specifically said in reference to the claim you quoted from the old version that we are looking for better wording for incorporating those victimized communities into the bill.
It doesn't really matter, for this discussion, what the bill will say when it's eventually passed (just like it doesn't really matter what the ASUC has to say about anything). That hurriedness is why I called SJP's efforts aggressive, and the original version still reflects what was thought at the time, which is why I'm talking about it before it passes.

I'm glad to hear it's being changed (though saddened, as always, about the use of ghost bills, which seem quite contrary to the concept of public notice), but calling the incident a hate crime against Muslims still looked like it reflected the views of somebody at the time.
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