Saturday, June 03, 2006

When race hate laws go bad.

Australia: I dislike race hate laws because to me it is just feel good nonsense that is prone to abuse by special interest and professional race groups. It is never applied evenly except in this case when it does people cry foul.

THE Aboriginal teenager facing the first charges under Western Australia's new race-hate laws claims she spoke back to a white woman only after being racially abused herself. The 15-year-old girl could face up to six months' detention for allegedly calling 19-year-old Mellissa Blackney a "white slut" during a confrontation in the mining town of Kalgoorlie. The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, claimed Ms Blackney drove her car aggressively towards her, mistakenly believing one of three Aboriginal girls had thrown a rock at her Nissan Skyline. She said Ms Blackney then became aggressive. "She starting swearing at us. She said, 'You little black c..ts'," the girl said. The girl claims Ms Blackney then started to push her, at which point she admits striking Ms Blackney. She also admits she called Ms Blackney a "white c..t", but only, she says, after Ms Blackney started the racial abuse. Ms Blackney yesterday categorically denied the girl's claims. "I was swearing - I said 'Why did you throw a f..king rock at my car?"' said Ms Blackney. "But I never made any racial reference whatsoever." Ms Blackney also denies she was physically aggressive. Police charged three Aboriginal girls, aged 14, 15 and 21, with assault after they allegedly attacked Ms Blackney in April. The 15-year-old has additionally been charged with racial vilification and is scheduled to face a hearing in the Children's Court in August. The case has sparked outrage among some Aboriginal leaders, who say the charge is not in keeping with the intent of the new racial vilification laws. Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington said Kalgoorlie was a "hard-nosed frontier mining town where Aborigines dealt with overt and covert racism daily". "It's not like living in a leafy suburb in Melbourne ... if people understood the level of racial abuse and vilification that our indigenous community suffer on a daily basis they would understand that there is a terrible irony in this particular case in Kalgoorlie," he said. "Sometimes the only way indigenous people feel they can live through being called a boong and an Abo and a black nigger is by biting back and saying 'You white so-and-so'." Mr Eggington urged police to apply the law equally. Premier Alan Carpenter yesterday said the law was designed to protect people of all backgrounds from being racially vilified. "The expectation that we had when we introduced this legislation was that we would reduce the amount of racial vilification happening in Western Australia ... no matter what that individual's background," he said. The 15-year-old girl yesterday said she believed that had the situation been reversed - if she were a white girl hurling racial abuse at a black woman - she would not have been charged.
"This was for getting whitey! not us!"

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