After Indian American Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was convicted of bias intimidation, I sent the very long New Yorker article about the case to my teenagers so that they can understand what kind of digital footprint they leave whenever they do anything online, and to remind them that regardless of what they might actually be doing, they need to be aware that sometimes those actions may be perceived quite differently by others, including people who do not understand technology and culture, including people with power.
Although I agree that homophobic bullying should not be tolerated, because of the technical complexity of this case, I cannot shake the nagging feeling that had Dharun Ravi been white, or if Tyler Clementi had been a person of color, this case might never have been prosecuted, and certainly would not have been punished so harshly (Ravi faces a possible sentence of ten years and deportation). Ravi admits to being a jerk, but there have been too many other cases in which white bullies have gotten away with much worse. Harry Lew. Danny Chen. Phoebe Prince. Vincent Chin. Luis Ramirez. Trayvon Martin.
My heart breaks as I read articles by African American mothers about the rules they make for their children because they know how easily their children could be Trayvon Martin:
click here for more: http://chicagoistheworld.org/2012/03/lessons-i-do-not-want-to-teach-my-children-about-dharun-ravi-trayvon-martin-shaima-alawadi/