Monday, October 23, 2006
Elegy for a Stranger
Fastlad, on the brutal assault-unto-murder of Michael Sandy.
...I was seated next to a new reporter I'd just met on the job and - aware of the impression this must be making on her - I found that I was weeping. Michael Sandy wasn't anyone I knew, yet my response was heartfelt: not even 30, seeking a simple human connection, even braving streets where he wasn’t welcome, to be betrayed, beaten, and run to ground by a pack of thugs.
Boy, that sounds familiar. But look how it plays:
Michael was responding to an internet hook up. He went to a historically racist neighborhood to do it. It was racism. It was homophobia. It was unfortunate. It was stupid.
That’s the reason for the ostentatiously muted response from community leaders: He was looking for sex, he was gay.
Since Michael won’t roll back his tombstone and rise again, religious leaders won’t concern themselves with his fate either. And since he was gay they won't concern themselves with any lingering parallel. Jesus asked us to love one and other, just not in that way, okay?
Wrong pigmentation, wrong preference, wrong crowd, wrong number.
''If love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can.''
- James Baldwin.
More at fastlad.
Also, from BlackAmericaWeb:
Michael Sandy could have been any one of us, and yet he was us. He was a black, he was a Black male, and he was a black gay male.
If Michael Sandy would have been heterosexual, would that have brought out the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s of black America? Would that have made it okay for the NAACP to get involved and for other Black civil rights groups to take notice?
I am beginning to think so...
and from the New York Blade:
A teenager who knew the assailants told The New York Times that the attack wasn’t a hate crime against blacks or gays: "They were looking to rob him. They didn’t think he would fight back if he was gay."
But prosecutors in this hate crime case don’t have to prove that the assailants don’t like African Americans or gays, Hynes explained. Prosecutors just have to prove that Sandy was targeted because he was gay or African American. "If you select a member of a class because you think they’re particularly vulnerable—that’s the hate crime."
The assailants indicated they had used the Internet to plot similar attacks in the past, Hynes said.
"The Internet is increasing as a vehicle to victimize people," said Clarence Patton, the executive director of The New York City Anti-Violence Project. Patton said that the police don’t consider race to be a factor in this case.
"Perhaps we move to that point in our history as a country where you have opposite races who are engaged in something like this where race is not an issue, and it’s only about sexual orientation," Patton said.
"What’s hard to believe is that Michael’s race was not in some way considered some sort of bonus to these young men," Patton said...