Hate isn’t black or white.
As the nation continues to obsess over Casey Anthony, a California jury is hearing a far more compelling case: the trial of Brandon McInerney, a 17 year-old accused of killing classmate Lawrence King because he was gay.
Hopefully you’ve been paying attention to this case, but if not, here are the details: in 2008, when he was 14 years old, Brandon McInerney allegedly walked in his school’s computer lab and shot classmate Lawrence King twice in the head.
According to witnesses and the prosecutorial team, McInerney was growing increasingly uncomfortable about King’s gender-bending — the teen wore high-heels and make-up and made no secret of his homosexuality, or his crush on McInerney — and plotted to murder the 15 year-old.
“He said he was going to get some guys together and rush him and shank him,” said one witness. Another testified that McInerney also said, “Say goodbye to your friend Larry because you won’t see him after tomorrow.”
McInerney’s defense team, meanwhile, hope to paint King as a “sexual aggressor” who pushed McInerney over the edge. “
“He did this out of heat of passion,” said defense attorney Scott Wippert.
The LGBT politics of this case are of paramount importance: not since Matthew Shepard has a crime so clearly illuminated the violent underbelly of household homophobia, and mainstream America needs to pay attention to the dangers LGBT citizens face on a daily basis.
But then there’s another angle, one that’s being lost in the shuffle: McInerney’s white supremacist politics.
Via CBS News:
White supremacist materials were found in McInerney’s bedroom, including books and drawings of swastikas. McInerney didn’t attend a school field trip to the Museum of Tolerance, the educational arm of the human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center, court records showed.
As the nation as a whole opens their eyes to the potentially murderous perils of rampant homophobia, LGBT communities should be zeroing in on the connection between accused killer McInerney’s anti-gay and racist politics.
Having written for LGBT blogs for about five years, I’ve come across my fair share of racism among my peers.
Just this weekend, I covered news that Philadelphia Eagles football player DeSean Jackson apologized for using a gay slur during a radio interview.
Some of the comments on that post came with predictable racism: “Apology not accepted N**ger!,” wrote one reader, while another remarked, “Damn filthy apes. Coloreds are just nasty and bitter about it.”
Though the majority of the other readers rightfully lambasted the off-color comments — one reader wrote, “You people are disgusting. If he were a hot, white athlete you clowns would be bending over backwards to accept his apology and move on.” — the reality is that racism does indeed fester among LGBT people, a population that should truly know better.
Pundits and politicians are fond of comparing the civil rights movement for racial equality to today’s fight for LGBT rights. It’s a somewhat lopsided analogy, largely because the oppression of slavery and segregation were far more entrenched in American society, and being black is in most instances far more obvious than being gay. Regardless, both racism and homophobia are rooted in animus, and as Herman Cain has taught us, hate is hate, no matter where it’s directed.
The fact that McInerney and others practice both white supremacism and homophobia shows that the two discriminatory camps are not mutually inclusive.
The nation’s most notorious white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan, regularly participates in anti-gay rallies, making clear that they’re just as virulent in discriminating against LGBT people as they are in oppressing black people, because racism, homophobia and all forms of discrimination find their root in one thing: a twisted image of a national or social ideal that excludes difference and diversity.
As the trial against Brandon McInerney goes on, I hope that all American people, regardless of sexuality or race, realize that hateful violence isn’t as black and white as people often believe. It’s a murky shade of gray. And I hope LGBT people who still harbor racist feelings open their eyes to a shared struggle for survival.