Saturday, April 23, 2011

Editorial: Another Beating- This Time In Toxic Words

Washington D.C.-- I am sure that many you have by now have heard or possibly viewed, the viral video circulating the blogosphere and web detailing the horrific attack on 22 year old Chrissy Polis of Essex, Maryland, captured on a cell phone camera by a now ex-employee of the franchise McDonald's in suburban Baltimore County, Maryland.
Related @ LGBTQNationBaltimore police investigate brutal attack on trans woman at local McDonald’s
I saw it for the first time yesterday afternoon via the tabloid website, The Smoking Gun. To say that I was appalled does little to describe the gut-wrenching sickening feeling I had as I watched the two young black females, partially egged on by the videographer's utter lack of humanity and compassion as evidenced not only by his filming the entire incident, as opposed to putting down his camera and stepping in to separate the combatants, but also coupled with his warning the attackers that the victim was convulsing in apparent seizures followed by telling them that Baltimore County police were enroute. Later, his transphobic tweets justifying the attack by saying that the victim was transgendered as if that fact made all the difference in the world and lent credibility as well as acceptability to the viciousness present in the video.
More disturbing has been the complete denigration of other persons and of civility itself discussing the attack in the comments sections of the various blogs, news sites, and forums.
Racial epithets, the most of common of which seems to be the phrase "what do you expect from such ghetto trash nigger bitches" being the most favored or some variant of that line of thinking. Then, not be excluded, a chorus of Transphobic comments, "she's a fucking he and an "it" with a dick doesn't need to be in the bitches room," seems to be the most popular.
Bil Browning, Editor-In Chief of The Bilerico Project and his intrepid intern Jake have been kept busy zapping similar sentiments and inappropriate remarks/comments as they violate the Project's terms of service, (TOS) not to mention that those comments are simply just wrongful and hateful.
A few quick phone calls around the press and media outlets has found that Bil is not the only webmaster having to work hard at cleaning up deeply offensive rubbish on a site. Apparently even the mainstream sites covering the story are also having to assign folks to police the comments sections. Not only is this noxious environment unacceptable but absolutely validates a larger perception globally that the United States is not the great nation it advertises itself to be. It appears to be mired in increasingly hostile dialog that is unchecked even by the moral guides within the church/religious segments of its society. To be honest, at fault for encouraging this crap by homophobic propagandistic garbage spewed from American pulpits and in the media by the far "Christian" right.
Sadly too, race is still very much a card played in American society when incidents like this tragic beating occur.

I find this type of story disturbing from numerous aspects- particularly as it shows that Americans have stooped to levels of toxicity in public discourse that I question can be set right.

The employee who filmed the attack seemed only too gleeful to post it on first a Hip-Hop oriented site followed by his Facebook and YouTube pages. (All of which have since been taken down.) Common decency just simply was not part of the equation. Of course, conversely, the commentary after the fact has not been either.

The McDonald's employee in question along with his shift manager have now been sacked- but that does not mitigate these circumstances nor does it affect the hatred being expressed on the web and in some cases by the LGBTQ community itself. This is something that I find reprehensible, deeply offensive, and which desperately needs to be addressed by community leadership and governmental leaders.

This horrific beating continues unchecked- this time in toxic words.

~ Brody Levesque


Tim Trent said...

Macdonalds 'restaurants' are not, generally, frequented on a regular basis by those who are above such name calling. They are not normally opened in areas of wealth. They provide high calorie fast food to the great unwashed as well as to real people. We all use them when there is nothing else open or available. The WalMart classes use them habitually.

How unsurprising that unpleasant words are used on both sides of the alleged discussion about the beating of this 22 year old human being.

So the two staff have been sack. Big deal. The issue is not the termination of their employment. It is, instead, the culture that the franchisee has allowed in his franchise. Questions need to be asked about Mitchell McPherson, the owner. Let;s hope he has answers. He is the boss, and thus the behaviour of his employees is his absolute responsibility

Trab said...

Ouch, Tim. "unwashed as well as to real people"? Unwashed aren't real people?

"The Walmart classes". OMG, this is just as discriminatory as anything else out there. Just because someone shops at Walmart does NOT mean he/she is a 'class' of person. It doesn't mean they are even poor, just that they want to buy something there.

I even have to defend, albeit in complete ignorance, the franchisee in question. Sure, there may have been other incidents at that location, which might have been fostered by a franchise culture, (I don't know one way or another), but the former employees may well have never displayed such bad behaviour, so that it all came as a surprise to him. He has taken action, and it seems like the correct action, so it is not really fair to judge him too harshly. He could well have defended those misbegotten idiots like some others are doing.

I haven't watched the video, and never will. Violence and discrimination appal me, but so does the verbal abuse subsequent to such events. I think that removal of the ugly posts and comments is a good thing, but removal of those peoples' right to even access that publicity should be the next step.