white people lose their sh*t after judge rules indigenous woman yelling “i hate white people” and punching one isn’t a hate crime

July 27, 2017
3.9K Picks

On Nov. 1st 2015, Tamara Crowchief, a Calgary indigenous woman, yelled “I hate white people” as she punched Lysia White, a white woman–“unprovoked,” knocking out her tooth, according to the Calgary Herald.

The prosecutor argued to put Crowchief behind bars for 12-15 months based on classifying the attack as a hate crime, but Judge Harry Van Harten disagreed, telling the court during his ruling, “I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that this offense was, even in part, motivated by racial bias.”

In the comments section of a Washington Post article about the incident that is finding renewed life around the internet, white people were quick to point out the racial “double standard” seemingly at play here:

Whenever we discuss racial double standards, we often miss the most crucial fact: whiteness is the standard. There is a deadly and hateful legacy that pre-emptively places some of us into another category entirely, a subhuman category, where the standards of humanity simply do not apply.

Usually, this reality is used to justify the violence against indigenous people. Native Americans are three times more likely to be killed by the police than white people. They also have 1.5 times the infant mortality rate, completely due to systematic racism in the healthcare system. This same systemic violence is why Native American men have a life expectancy 6 years lower than that of white men in the United States.

To combat these sickening realities, what is absolutely necessary is to instead use the fact of subhuman status to rectify the violences against people forced into it.

I am not arguing–necessarily–that indigenous people can and should attack random white people and face no consequences, I am saying that when they do attack white people, there is a history and legacy that cannot be ignored. And, if hate crimes classifications were born out of desire to protect marginalized communities, as the FBI claims, that history and legacy should matter.

As we know, however, the state rarely ever uses history on marginalized people’s behalf. Hate crimes have already been used against Black people to protect white people, and Blue Lives Matter bills in multiple states propose turning attacks against the police into hate crimes as well.

These efforts, as well as the white folks’ outrage that Tamara Crowchief has not been criminalized even more than her existence already has, are all symptoms of an inability to fully reckon with our colonial past in a way that is required to move toward a better future.

When 150,000 indigenous children in Canada were stolen from their families throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and forced into residential schools–a policy amounting to cultural genocide–there is no such thing as those families being “unprovoked.” When there have been over 1,000 missing and murdered indigenous women in the country over the past few years with little to no government intervention, anger is not merely “racial bias.” When the police “protect” white people by killing indigenous people with impunity, resentment cannot be reduced to a “hate crime.”

History matters. Whiteness matters. Rage against whiteness matters, too. If we are to ever rectify what causes this rage in the first place, we have to at least acknowledge its legitimacy.