The Newark Murders Reveal Possible Gay/Race Bias

OK. One of my readers just tried to get me together for not writing about the update on the Newark slayings. But Keith Boykin and Rod 2.0 already did. But I have alot more to say on the criticism, so stick with it:

Keith writes:

When I first heard about the murders of three college students in Newark, New Jersey last month, I was immediately suspicious. The crime itself seemed so senseless. On August 4, four young adults were hanging out in a school playground when a group of males came up to them, lined them up against a wall and shot them execution-style. Three of the young people were killed on the spot, while the fourth was seriously wounded.

After reviewing the myspace pages of several of the victims, I wondered if they might be gay and wondered if police were pursuing that angle. But that never came up in the public discussion. The police immediately ruled out the possibility of a hate crime, and the media never brought it up either. Until yesterday. That’s when black gay activist James Credle released a letter he sent to Newark Mayor Cory Booker asking the city to investigate the murders as a possible anti-gay hate crime.

Rod writes:

Godinez’ half-brother is one of two 16-year-old suspects arrested in connection with the case. New reports at Blue Jersey—which has been monitoring the gay angle in the triple murders—say the juvenile suspect attended the same high school as one of the victims. “The were friends from high school, and like all high school kids, hung out in a certain clique. Some of the kids who hung with that clique were gay, some weren’t, but it was widely known as “the gay clique.” And at least one of the killers went to West Side High, knew the victims as belonging to that clique, and would likely have perceived them all as gay.”

Keep in mind that New Jersey’s hate crimes law is written to cover “not only crimes perpetrated because of a victim’s sexual orientation, but also of their perceived orientation.” Mayor Cory Booker says these shootings were not a hate crime motivated by race. That may be true, but, the sexuality of at least one of the victims—or perception of them all—may change that finding.

Now…If you were like the reader who wondered why I hadn’t blogged about this here goes my response to that reader:

First, I knew several of those folks murdered in Newark were probably gay A DAY OR SO after it happened. I was called by a friend who knew one of them.

I emailed and made personal calls to all the LGBT/POC community organizing projects that I knew needed to know: Audre Lorde Project, Queers for Economic Justice, Critical Resistance, FIERCE!, Anti-Violence Project, The LGBT Center (NYC), Human Rights Watch, The Center for Homicide Research and the Liberation in Truth Church in Newark NJ. I even tipped off a New York Times reporter (who was covering the story) to pursue that angle, though he blew me off as if I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.

So I am glad that the story eventually got out, but i didn’t feel the need to blog about it, because others did. Keith and Rod have bigger readerships than I do, and there is some overlap so I didn’t feel the need to do so, nor was I interested in taking credit–which is why I showed some restraint in writing my original piece “A Cry for Newark” about it.

So please don’t leave messages or comments as if to suggest I didn’t do anything, or didn’t give a shit. You don’t know the half of it, obviously. Despite what I am understanding that some people take me to be a spotlight hog, there are lots of things I do that I don’t put on blast and take credit for.

If you seem so concerned about my lack of covering issues you feel are important, start your own blog. It’s really that simple.