Last week, the FBI released its latest hate crimes statistics. They found that, as compared to last year, there was a 1.6% drop in the total number of anti-LGBT reported hate crimes, going from 20.8% of total crimes in 2011 to 19.2% in 2012. I remain cautiously optimistic about such figures however, because they may well be deceptive.
Here’s why. The percentage of hate crimes against LGBTS may well have decreased last year, and I for one definitely hope that this is the beginning of a much needed long-term pattern. But, when one looks at the latest numbers from the FBI over a longer period, the picture is very different. In 2006, reported hate crimes against members of the LGBT community stood at 15.5% of the total reported hate crimes. That’s a figure that rose to 15.9% in 2007, to 16.7% in 2008, to 18.5% in 2009, and to 19.3% in 2010.
I’ll Be On Vacation Through Thanksgiving
I’ll be on vacation for the next couple of weeks, through Monday, December 2nd.
Thanksgiving is a major holiday here in the U.S.
If you’re interested in reading more about Thanksgiving, and different perspectives on it, here are a couple of articles that might interest you:
The Wampanoag Side of the First Thanksgiving Story
Thanksgiving: A Native American View
This past Thursday, the US Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, what is widely considered to be a landmark civil rights legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in the workplace. ENDA’s opponents, however, are doing their very best to undermine the legislation from passing the House. And in a curious turn of events, many of ENDA’s opponents are claiming that they oppose ENDA on grounds that it would undermine civil rights.
A petition on FRCAction, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council (FRC), actually encourages people to write their members of Congress, saying the following:
Recent charges of racial profiling made against department stores like Macys and Barneys luxury retail store in New York have provoked some very strong reactions of late.
Reverend Al Shaprton, for example, has threatened to boycott Barneys if the store didn’t respond adequately to the charges. Still others have said that stores should fire employees who racially profile their customers. I’ve been on the receiving end of racial discrimination myself, so pain and anger towards those who discriminate is something I can readily understand. But recently I’ve been wondering if firing employees for racial profiling is necessarily the best course of action.
I’m thrilled to announce that my new book, The Unfinished Dream: A Discussion on Rights, Equality, and Inclusivity is now available. I’ve put a lot of work into it, and I’m excited to be able to share it with you now, completely for FREE.
If you care about your rights or the rights of others, if you wish there was greater equality, and if you ever wished the world was a more inclusive place, then The Unfinished Dream: A Discussion on Rights, Equality, and Inclusivity is the book for you.
My new book illustrates how the American dream remains unfinished. Too many people remain the targets of racial discrimination, too many are denied their rights to religious freedom, too many are hurt by rampant homophobia.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In The Unfinished Dream, I reveal how policies and practices can undermine our rights, sow divisiveness, and destroy our freedom. The book helps raise critical awareness, and equips readers with tools and resources to learn more and defend their rights. The book also provides an entry point where passionate and caring people can join in a larger dialogue about how we can advance human rights and make the world a more equal and inclusive place.
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The recent firing of , a Catholic school teacher in Arkansas, illustrates a deeply rooted chasm among Catholics on the issue of GLBT rights and equality.
On October 16, the day that Mrs. McCullough married her wife, Barb Mariani, administrators from McCullough’s school informed her that she should resign from her post at the Catholic school or face termination. The reason: that McCullough’s marriage violated her school contract’s “morality clause,” which enables the school to terminate employees who do not follow their interpretation of the Church’s teachings.
After a fierce custody battle that was waged for years and went all the way to the Supreme Court, the father of Veronica Brown, known in the media as “Baby Veronica,” has called for an end to the fighting. I applaud Dusten Brown’s wisdom, the love he’s shown for his daughter, and I join in his hopes that she’ll finally be able to live a normal, healthy life. But with so much vitriol still being expressed in the media, I have to wonder what kind of world she’s entering into, and how we might begin to heal the wounds of all who have been touched by the case.
What happened to Veronica Brown stirred up a hornet’s nest of issues. Many have felt a justifiable sense of pain and anger that the girl was taken from her father. Complicating the issue further was the girl’s identity as a Native American. Many have questioned whether race was a major issue involved, whether a Cherokee girl should be raised by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a non-Native couple.
The First Amendment took a serious blow recently when a university student was denied her religious freedom.
Melona Clarke, a student at Hampton University in Virgina, was recently reported to have been required to obtain a letter from her chaplain, and another from her mosque, before they would allow her to freely follow her faith on campus. Clarke said that she had to go so far as to prove that she was Muslim so that she could be a student at her school.
In the fall of 1998, just after I turned twenty, I learned, by accident, that I was adopted. I had returned to my college after a visit home, reuniting with the man I had grown up thinking was my birth father, to a letter from his parents indirectly informing me that I was adopted (they thought I already knew). In the subsequent weeks and months, I discovered that my name had been changed several times. There was a time when I was Sean, Greg, and Sean again. Then I became DaShanne.
Often times, when people hear or see my name, they make assumptions about my race or ethnic heritage. Often times people think that when they see me that I’ll be an African American, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked if I was black or part black. Friends and loved ones often tell me how they, too, frequently get asked about whether or not I’m black of part-black. My experience is but one small example of our society’s continued preoccupation with “what” we are, and with the color of our skin, rather than the content of our character.
The recent verdict absolving George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin has ignited numerous protests as well as fierce debate about racial profiling in the U.S. Many are outraged that an unarmed teen could be killed for simply walking down the street, being followed and ultimately shot by a man who the police instructed to stay in his car. But was Trayvon Martin the victim of racial profiling?
It’s difficult to know with any certainty. In the broader context, racial profiling refers to the discriminatory practice of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on a person’s race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin. Research shows that people of color are stopped at disproportionate rates for supposedly “looking nervous” or “suspicious” or for being where they are not “expected to be.” As a result, people of color are three times more likely to be searched at a traffic stop, twice as likely to be arrested, and almost four times as likely to experience threats or use of force.