Oberlin ‘Hoax’ Shows Pranks Still Hurt
A series of incidents involving hateful acts at Oberlin College earlier this year turned out to be not exactly what they seem. Dylan Bleier and Matt Alden, the two students found to be responsible for most of the incidents, claim that their actions were a joke
meant to rile the liberal sensibilities of the college.
In March, after a white hooded figure was seen walking near the African-American Studies building, Oberlin cancelled classes
for a day to create space for community discussion about the incidents. Deeming the cancellation of classes an “overreaction,” the two students sought to proliferate hateful speech and symbols in an effort to poke fun at the campus’ response to previous incidents.
"I'm doing it as a joke to see the college overreact," said Bleier, admitting that he made a Nazi flag "as a joke to troll people." "I put out these fliers to get a similar overreaction to prove this point.”
Labeling the fliers or cards a joke doesn't take away from their impact on the people affected by them, said Oberlin spokesman Scott Wargo.
"You had fliers with threats of violence and hate speech and rape that are being posted on doors and in hallways and on mailboxes," Wargo said, adding: "It didn't make it less real for those who had to endure it firsthand, and creating an atmosphere where people are afraid and feel threatened — it isn't a joke."
Seattle Community Leaders Protest Rise in Hate Crime
Social Outreach Seattle, a community organization dedicated to LGBTQIA issues, is organizing a candlelight Take Back The Night march to protest the recent increase of violent crime in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle.
An increase in population in the area has led to an increase in crime, according to George Bakan, editor-in-chief of Seattle Gay News and head of the Capitol Hill Community Council. Many of these crimes are tinged with anti-gay hate speech and racism. Seven documented instances of beatings and robberies involving hate speech have occurred over the summer.
Shaun Knittel, co-founder of Social Outreach Seattle said
he believes the two spikes in crime are closely related. “I think some outside influences have figured out that the gay community as a whole is a peaceful community,” he said. “They’ve figured out that they can hit and run pretty quick and get away.”
The vigil is scheduled for tonight at 10pm, with more than 200 people expected to attend. SOS invites people to join them as they “march with candles in hand to send a message to criminals that our NEIGHBORHOOD BELONGS TO US, NOT CRIME and to TAKE BACK THE NIGHT and our NEIGHBORHOOD from the grip of fear that has crept in.”
Hijab Outcry After Attack of Pregnant Muslim in Stockholm
A pregnant Muslim woman was attacked in a suburb outside of Stockholm on Aug. 17. The attacker ripped off her headscarf and slammed her head into a car, shouting racist insults. In a widespread display of solidarity, Swedish women and even some men are donning hijabs and posting pictures of themselves online. The movement has been trending under the hashtag #hijabuproppet, which means “hijab outcry.”
The incident has fanned the embers of anti-immigrant hostility in Sweden. #Hijabuproppet initially created a Facebook page to showcase their support, but it was overrun by racist and sexist comments, according to The Local
, an English-language Swedish news source.
The victim who inspired the protest was attacked again within two weeks of the first incident. No witnesses have been identified, but the resolve of the protest has only strengthened. In an opinion piece published in the Aftonbladet newspaper on Sunday, the organizers of the "hijab outcry" ('hijabuppropet') urged Justice Minister Beatrice Ask to take measures to "ensure that Swedish Muslim women are guaranteed the right to personal safety and religious freedom, without being subject to verbal and physical attacks."
"In addition, we demand that responsible politicians actively draw attention to and fight the structural discrimination that affects Muslim women. We believe that's reason enough in a country where the number of reported hate crimes against Muslims is on the rise—and where women tie their headscarves extra tight so that it won't get ripped off—for the prime minister and other politicians to take action to stop the march of fascism," the authors wrote.