‘Shifting the blame’

“Justice not Vengeance.”

That will be the banner flying on Wednesday at a Rutgers rally. But what would justice look like for Tyler Clementi, the college student who committed suicide after his roommate streamed video of him during an intimate encounter? How does it differ from vengeance?

Commenters on this post about Molly Wei mentioned the anti-Asian racism directed towards Wei and Ravi.  But here’s the first I’ve heard of it from the media:

“Ravi and Wei have become a foil for anti-Asian racism calling for their “return to their countries,’ and ascribing homophobia to their cultures – as if homophobia were not deeply ingrained in the culture of the U.S.,” according to a statement prepared by Robert T. O’Brien, an instructor in the Department of Anthropology.

“Two students are being scapegoated for the failure of the university and the wider community to provide a safe environment for Rutgers’ diverse community,” according to O’Brien.

“Such public outrage often fuels vengeance and inequality rather than just actions,” O’Brien added.

I heard an interview with O’Brien in which he mentioned that we can’t fight homophobia and transphobia and sexism if we don’t also fight racism and other -isms.  He also talked about how punishment as vengeance doesn’t necessarily accomplish anything and how we need to address the larger environment.


3 thoughts on “‘Shifting the blame’

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