Sunday, June 04, 2006

Urban lingo

It seems that we associate a certain language to crime, and I wonder how much of it is accurate. For instance, the Baltimore Sun ran several articles that made mention of how John Mohammed referred to Malvo as "son" in his cross examination. The article pointed this out as an example of how Mohammed was a father figure to Malvo and manipulated him. I don't doubt that Malvo was manipulated by a man that he considered a father figure. I disagree, however, that the term 'son' is illustrative of that fact. I find that African-American men refer to one another as such quite often - regardless of age or role.

The New York Times has been covering a trial in New York City that has been charged as a hate crime based on the use of a word: you know, the N word. The crux of the case seems to be this: is it a slang term used in a ghetto-fabulous way, or was the attack solely racially based? That is, can people of different races assault one another without it being a hate crime? If so, does the N word change that? In all cases? How can you tell?

I think that's the tricky part with hate crimes. It's hard to tell what someone's motivation is. And, if in New York City, the only evidence is the use of the N word, is that sufficient? Perhaps the jury will let us know.

1 comment:

matmaven said...

Read your post the other day about your life. It got me down at first in that I started thinking about my life. I remembered when I was in law school that all of my friends were visiting exotic vacation spots, like Greece and the islands. I was studying. Now I am in my own practice and chauffering around 4 kids and still not visiting exotic vacation spots. I would love to just travel and see all those exotic places I missed out on while I was studying, but can't afford to take the whole clan. I worry that by the time they are out of the house that I will be too old to enjoy it! I remember the Spanish steps were strenuous at 20 (there were a few trips I did take along the way). I guess it all comes down to choices and timing. We all choose what we think makes us happy at different stages in our lives and choose to put other things aside. If you are content in a part of your life (like I am) try to make the other part catch up. Have you tried I have friend who have had really great results. For my part...I take short exotic trips...Tahoe for Thanksgiving...Bermuda with the hubby...Disney with the kids... It isn't Corfu but it will do for now. Good Luck....