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Race Shouldn't Be a Factor in Rape

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, News Analysis, Eming Piansay Posted: Nov 06, 2009

Editor's Note: The gang rape of a Richmond High student outside of her Homecoming dance has caused a wide range of discussion about race and crime, particularly over the Internet. People from Richmond and beyond share their opinions on the public forum YouTube, many bringing up race as a primary reason for what happened. But one young writer asks: why is race relevant in a rape crime?

Contra Costa Times, the 15-year-old girl who was brutally gang raped outside of her Homecoming dance at Richmond High was Caucasian. This piece of information has left a lot of room for speculation and discussion.

When the news of the Richmond rape incident first broke, it wasn't long before people started to ask, So, whats her race?

I discussed the incident with a friend of mine, sharing our own horrific takes on the two hour ordeal, when I finally ventured to ask the question, What was her ethnicity?

I just asked that question to someone else yesterday, my friend said, We thought she was Latina or Asian.

Following the rape, Kami Baker, a Caucasian junior at Richmond High, appeared on CNN and said she felt unsafe because she, as other students at Richmond High, comprise the minority ethnic group.
We are ostracized because of our race and [being a] minority, said Baker. There are Mexicans and blacks around me everywhere.

According to data about student enrollment by race for the school year 2007-2008 on Richmond High's Web site, the school had the following racial breakdown: 11.96 African American, 76.43 percent Hispanic or Latino, 6.76 percent Asian, and 1.91 percent white.

YouTube, one of the biggest forums for discussion of the Richmond gang-rape case, housed hundreds of responses written by young people from Richmond and beyond.
One YouTube user, "stefanimaree," posted, There are only 35 white students at Richmond; what, they just happened to randomly come across her? Either way, this was a hate attack. She was a white female, attacked by a group consisting of black and Hispanic males. It's not rocket science.

Another YouTuber, "seans10" commented on the fact that race was not being prominently displayed as the story unfolded, It's my impression that the victim was probably white. Richmond High School is only 2 percent white. Was it just a coincidence that they picked this poor girl? If the facts and races were reversed, race would be the story.

The 15-year-old victim was at the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no evidence to suggest if it had been any other girl, the same thing wouldnt have happened.

"IrishDrogg" also commented on the racial aspect of this incident, writing, If this was a black girl getting raped by 10 white guys, it'd be all about race. But the fact that it's a white girl getting raped by a diverse section of minorities... couldn't possibly be about race. Despite the fact that whites are a minority in Richmond. The relatives of the only black suspect are already claiming he only got fingered in the case because he's black....

Whether it had been a white or black girl who was victimized, labeling one crime as racially motivated and not the other as a racial crime purely on the fact that the victim wasn't black doesn't make any sense. Either theyre both about race or theyre not. You cant pick and choose your color-coding on this one all signs point to hate crime.

YouTuber user Sofa510 said crimes like this happen all the time.

"Im from Richmond and from what I heard the 15-year-old went to the guys and she wanted to drink and smoke with the guys, then the 15-year-old wanted to have sex with all the guys, and this shit happens everyday all over the world the reason people are putting this crime all over the news is because the bitch is white."

Sometimes stories get played up more, depending on the race of the victim. And thats unfortunate because any crime: rape, murder should be getting out there, should be on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, New York Times. It should be a top ranked issue and not subjected to the rules of race and what will and will sell newspapers get the highest TV ratings.

YamixeD took a more sympathetic view towards the victim.

"Yeah, she was of Caucasian race on a side note race has nothing to do with what has happened other than the bad name given to us Chicanos and what not but seriously what they did to that young girl was sickening. There is no reason why she should have to suffer what she went through. Its just unfair. Why? I ask why, what is becoming of us? Is this the effect of poverty, violence, or is this because of our lack of role models to show us whats the different from right and wrong?"

It is interesting to note that the national majority, Caucasians, is Richmond Highs minority. The comments made by Richmond Highs Baker gave a peek into what appears to be the mindset of white students in Richmond. According to RichmondConfidential.org, as of October 5, there have been 41 homicides. With that much violence going on in a city, there is no doubt that the young people in Richmond High have become saturated with these types of news. I suppose this goes back to Baker's frustration with being the minority at Richmond High. Your environment definitely plays a big roll in the way you see things, and if all you see is violence around you, then I can see why she would feel uncomfortable, especially given the current state of things.

Having gone to a high school where the majority was Asian American, I never got the impression that there was any radical racial tensions. Then again, I went to one of the most white washed high schools in San Francisco.

I dont think it is fair to take one incident and use it to say all white people should be afraid for their safety. Since the boys who attacked the victim were from various races, that reiterates this notion that race may have not played a factor at all. It was just a bunch of boys targeting a defenseless girl.

Race shouldnt be the issue in rape. It shouldnt be what makes us care more or less, and it certainly shouldn't change the way we see someones suffering. In this day and age, its hard not to add the additional, Oh, its cuz she was black/white. It shouldnt matter if the girl was black, white, blue or orange shes a human being.

Related Articles:

Monster in My Math Class -- Richmond Student React to Rape

Young People Process Homecoming Gang Rape

Rape is Hate Crime

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