Friday, 5 April 2013

Small steps make big waves

Good Friday everyone!

Now small talk I'm afraid, instead straight down to business.

Now for those who saw, on Wednesday I made a post about my views on Geek Culture and the attacks it has and may in future receive and how this can/should be dealt with. The post itself can be found here.

It was then that I was most surprised to read the following in yesterday's Metro.

A quick summary, it seems in reaction to a 2007 murder of a Goth girl, Goths and Emos are being highlighted as needing protection from hate crime.

So I read the article, largely with one question:
"But what about Geeks and other subcultures?"

Sadly the article didn't really answer my question and I was left feeling a little in the dark about this. So I reached out to people a lot smarter than me and found this rough explanation:

- The new rules basically means anyone who identifies themselves as part of a 'subculture' and is attacked for being a member of this subculture, then this attack is now a hate crime -

I like this definition. It means that as a Geek, a WoWer, a Wargamer and many other things, then being verbally assaulted for it (like what happened to that guy on Peaches' show) would count as a hate crime!

This is fantastic! This is what I wanted!


It was then the question was blown up further: is the definition too vague and woolly? Would someone who likes a lesser popular sport like Hockey count as belonging to a subculture and therefore deserve protection from hate crime?

You want to know my answer to this?



So I searched online to find a quick definition for the word 'subculture' as after all this is what the while rule change revolves around, and this is what popped up on Google:

A cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture.

So let's look at this in regards to the Hockey example.

First we need a Larger Culture, in this case it is "people who are not fans of Hockey", then we need a smaller (sub) Culture, "people who are fans of Hockey".

If someone was to beat up the Fan because they were a fan, then to me this 100% counts as a hate crime.

But it goes deeper than this. How often do you hear of beatings and insults being thrown out during and after football matches from fans of one team vs fans of another team?
It's all the time, you can't get away from it.

Surely now, these people beating on another team's fan, because they are from another team and are probably wearing that team's colours, this now counts as a hate crime and should be punished as one.

Now this is a double edged sword...

On one hand this is great news, as I have always said that hate crimes should never be limited to race, gender, religion and sexuality, but based on this change I would hazard a guess that it happens in every single city across the UK on an almost hourly basis!

How many of you have walked down the road and had some jeering comment thrown at you because of what you're wearing? I know I have. Is that not now classified as a hate crime? Surely it is the exact same as referring to someone by a racial slur?

Why is this a problem?

Because if it is so common place, could it fall under the same banner as music piracy and TV recording? Something that is do common place that no one really does anything about it unless it's on such a scale that people have to take note (in the case of hate crime, GBH and Murder)?

This is something that concerns me. As a Geek... No wait... As a human being, I should be able to walk down the streets wearing whatever I want (as long as there are not laws against it ie nudity, Nazism, racist slogans etc) and be free from attacks, be it verbal or physical - let us not forget that a verbal insult is counted as verbal assault - and so this is where my concerns come in, that this change in ruling will be so watered down that it becomes ineffective to the extent I do not feel comfortable wearing what I want for fear of abuse.


But this is all theory crafting. I don't know what is going to happen, but the simple fact that this is being addressed means that things are taking a step in the right direction.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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