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Racial bullying incident prompts $5 million lawsuit

Are lawsuits the answer to racial bullying?
Are lawsuits the answer to racial bullying?

When people are hurt, as in their feelings are hurt, they often file lawsuits against people, companies, governments or corporations they feel are responsible for their hurt.

The suggestion that people sue when they’ve been emotionally bruised counters the idea that people sue because they are money hungry, scammers, or vindictive.

Last October, a bizarre incident took place on the San Jose State University campus. A black roommate was tormented like slave actors we’ve seen on screen lately. Particularly in the 12 Years a Slave movie. That roomate, Donald Williams, has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the university.

The lawsuit names SJSU, its president Mohammad Qayoumi, and a resident campus adviser, Charles May, and others as defendants. Williams’ attorney, Carl E. Douglas said the university failed to protect Williams from “racist mischief.” Reportedly, Charles May, a housing assistant was aware of Williams’ harassment more than thirty days before Williams’ parents complained.

A month after the racial bullying incident (Nov 2013), hate crimes misdemeanor charges were filed against several SJSU students. Those students are currently suspended. Williams' identity was withheld in initial stories of his resident hall torment. Williams encountered the N word on dry erase boards and Williams' roommates also clamped a bicycle lock on Williams' neck and taunted him with racial epithet and slurs.

Incidentally (or coincidentally) a string of violent incidents against black men erupted on several college campuses about the time 12 Years hit theaters. What happened to Williams sounds akin to what viewers witness in scenes of “12 Years a Slave”. Studies show that many people think black people have a higher pain threshold; therefore violence against white skin, (shattered glass for example) is more painful than violence (whips, for example) against black skin.

When Tyler Clementi committed suicide at Rutgers, his tormenter was charged, convicted and sentenced for a hate crime and other charges. The day before his suicide, Clementi had informed his resident assistant that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, used a webcam to spy on Clementi.

Clementi's parents did not sue Rutgers University. Instead they created the Tyler Clementi Foundation.


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