October 20, 2010
NEW YORK—It’s open season against whites over here. Couple of weeks ago, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate, also 18, and a female student accomplice used a webcam to surreptitiously film him in a gay sexual encounter and sent the link to Ravi’s 150 Twitter followers. Tyler Clementi’s body was fished out a week later, after the cheap laughs had subsided. Clementi was a top violinist and was studying music. He came from a closely knit family who is obviously devastated.
The story made the news, but the perpetrators were not treated as the monsters they are because—yes, you guessed it—Clementi was white and Catholic, while his roommate Dharun Ravi was from the subcontinent and quite brown. His accomplice, Molly Wei, is Oriental. Clementi was shy, a top student, and quiet. Ravi is a troublemaker and a wise guy, and the Chinese girl is a dragon woman. I might be overcooking my case, but I got the distinct impression that TV talking heads and newspaper columnists did not share my outrage. The other way around would have been very different. The perpetrators would have been thrown in jail, and the prosecutors would have demanded twenty years at least. (The university has not even suspended the ghastly duo.)
A bit further west, in Pennsylvania, things are different. In July 2008, a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old, both Polish Americans and high school football players, had words with a Mexican after a football game while celebrating in a bar. Insults were exchanged and the Mexican was told to go back where he came from. “This is America,” yelled the 16-year-old, Brandon Piekarsky. A fight began and the illegal Mexican was punched, fell to the ground, and hit his head. He died a couple of days later. The two teenagers were arrested, tried, and a jury found them innocent of murder but guilty of manslaughter. That’s when the Feds stepped in and ordered the case retried, this time as a hate crime. The original verdict angered Hispanic advocacy groups, and a campaign began using all the usual methods. In the second trial, both young men were found guilty of using ethnic slurs. They now face sentences of up to life in prison, and the second man, Derrick Donchak, received an extra 20 years for obstruction of justice and five years for conspiracy, meaning he will be in for life and a bit more.