Who Gets To Define Hate Crimes?

In the wake of the recent shoot-out in Jersey City on December 10, and the political reactions to follow, it would be instructive to break down the role that the media filled as a conduit between a public still shaken from the gun violence and the white ruling class fully prepared to exploit that violence before the broken glass could even be cleared from the streets. There was not a report coming out of Jersey City that was untouched by misdirection, half-truths, and factual errors. From the outset, the intentions of the media, and by extension, the White ruling class, were made painfully clear: this shooting was being spun as an attempt to falsely link Black Political Organizations with acts of terrorism. And we all know what happens when this country preps its police to start hunting black organizations.

 Let’s layout the scam, Comrades! 

  1. Wednesday, Dec 11. Mayor of Jersey City, Steve Fulop, went on Twitter to denounce the shootout as a “hate crime” even after a press conference with police and Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, suggested otherwise. Bill De Blasio, mayor of New York City, would also go on twitter to level these accusations. Hmm, interesting that Mayor Bill would throw his two cents into this dumpster fire. Put a pin in that last part, we’ll come back to it. 
    • Unsurprisingly, less than 24 hours after two city mayors, local police, and a host of reporters jumped on the opportunity to call this a hate crime, Gurbir Grewal would officially announce that the suspects were being investigated on hate crime charges. 
    • That Friday, Dec 13th, Steve Fulop continued to ramp up his baseless claims, saying that the suspects were “clearly” targeting school children in an adjacent building. His evidence? 
    • Fulop would go on to explain on Twitter “My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store.” An opinion?! A gut feeling??!! Fulop would then double down and say he was “not bound” by the investigation and that he vowed to be transparent with the public. He continues to spout wild guesses about the motives of two people who, conveniently, are now dead, going against repeated recommendations from Jersey City investigators trying to avoid mass panic. 
  2. As a colonized people, we are long familiar with the government’s obsession over “Black Identity Extremists”, which has its roots in federal programs like COINTELPRO. We understand that when liberal groups like SPLC spy on our community, it ain’t long before the FBI swoops in. That shit ain’t new. So when the mainstream media continue to associate the suspects with the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, although no formal connection exists, we should be suspicious. 
  3. I don’t know if y’all would have even heard of Greenville, New Jersey before this incident. Greenville, a neighborhood within Jersey City, is largely a black community, with the population of Jersey City overall being 28% black. If there is any community of Jewish people in Greenville it’s cuz they being gentrified by white Jews. Which is why Greenville is being framed as a Jewish Community.
  4. Perhaps the most alarming bit of news to come out of the entire situation was a quiet announcement made by the mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio. Remember him? Well, wouldn’t you know it, some months ago, Mayor De Blasio decided to put together a secret task force to gather intelligence on “hate groups”. According to De Blasio, “the unit is focused on identifying any trends and any signs of racial and ethnic extremism so it can be acted on before any terror or any bias crime occurs.” Damn. 
    • Having made public that this special task force has been in operation for several months, working (in secret) in the aftermath of shootings in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio (where all of the shooters, can you believe it, were white men), the information that Bill doesn’t reveal is far more disturbing. Off the top of my head: 
      • Why wasn’t this information revealed earlier, Bill? 
      • How can you act on extremism before it occurs, Bill? 
      • What exactly is the game plan when pigs in uniform start showing “signs of racial and ethnic extremism”, Bill? 

There is a familiar pattern at work here. 

And its name is Colonialism. Of course, it was this same task force which did exactly nothing to prevent the “Hanukkah Stabber”, a black resident of NYC with a long, documented history of schizophrenia. Unsurprisingly, a written statement made by the suspect’s family clarifying that he had no history of violence, nor any connection with hate groups, did little to stop Colonialism from labeling this attack as “anti-Semitic”. Yet I suppose Colonialism does not allow African folk to play the mental illness card.

 In short order, a number of politicians in New York took this as yet another opportunity to escalate the situation. Among them was former NYC mayor, Rudy Guliani, who criticized De Blasio for not embracing “Broken Windows Theory”, a system of policing which criminalizes Black people simply for living in poverty. For his part, De Blasio responded to these criticisms by ramping up police presence in three Brooklyn neighborhoods — Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park — all of which have long histories, not just of gentrification, but of violent confrontation by police and volunteer “patrols” of Hasidic Jews. And so the pattern continues.

Now, I’m not claiming that Mayor De Blasio intentionally revealed the existence of a mega-secret task force only after a shootout with police in which the suspects were black. What I am saying is that the machinery of State Power has been put on this earth to impose a dictatorship of one class over another. Whatever goes on in Mayor De Blasio’s heart of hearts does not interest me. What interests me is the liberation of colonized people the world over and in the belly of the beast that means building power for the African and colonized working class. 
Maybe this was an attempt to associate this task force with the hunting and destruction of Black people, more specifically, an attempt to crack down on Black political organizations, which the State already has a habit of labeling as “extremist”. What I can say with absolute certainty is that the State mobilized with extreme prejudice against a pair of African people who were trying to survive White Power. They are probably trying to do so again. They are already trying to recreate the conditions for slaughter like occurred in Ferguson, at Standing Rock, all across the continent where African and colonized people struggle for life. What I can say with absolute certainty is that in Jersey City, a pair of Africans had the nerve to shoot back.