Police in Manchester now officially class attacks on punks, emos and goths as hate crimes, ranking them alongside attacks based on race or religion. But should there be a distinction when a person has a choice about how they look?
Posted on Apr 05, 2013 03:28 pm
Were all shocked when we hear news that fellow rock fans have been attacked because of their appearance.
But should these kind of crimes be classed alongside racist and religious attacks?
That's the debate in the UK after police in the city of Manchester officially classing attacks on punks, emos and goths as hate crimes, putting them on par with attacks based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender, according to NME.
They are the first police force in the UK to specifically protect those in alternative sub-cultures from abuse.
The move is the result of a campaign by the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which was set up after she was tragically murdered in a Manchester park for being a goth.
"People who wish to express their alternative sub-culture identity freely should not have to erase hate crime," said Manchester Police's Assistant Chief Constable Gary Sherwan. "Sophie's tragic death brought forward a need to recognise that there are many other victims of hate crime that should be protected by law."
If all violent crime is wrong, you might be wondering why there is a debate around the issue.
According to commentators that we've heard on UK news channels, some people think that including statements of dress sense alongside things that people can't change - like the colour of their skin or their gender - then it dilutes the severity of hate crimes against people who can't choose otherwise.
But of course, we know that rock fans don't just choose to dress in certain ways. It's part of their personal identity, and they can't stop loving music if they tried. So why should they be persecuted for that?
You may remember our previous reports on emos being attacked and killed in Iraq, or the Indian teenage girls whose rock band disbanded after a hate campaign.
To us at UG, it's unacceptable and we think Manchester Police have taken a really positive step forward in protecting rock fans. Still, we think this is a really interesting issue and one that deserves a debate.
Do you think more cities and countries should take steps to protect people in sub-cultures? Or do you think there are good reasons not to single out individual groups, and instead focus on protecting people from all backgrounds?
Share your views in the comments and we may pick out the best contributions in a future post.