Gothic People Prejudice
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Prejudice is widespread and occurs everywhere. I had no doubt that Gothic people had been at the receiving end of such atrocious behavior, but it wasn't until recently that I learned just how bad it really is or what the dark gothic subculture is really about.
On August 11, 2007 (BBC 1) Sophie Lancaster was beat to the edge of death after trying to protect her gothic boyfriend Robert Maltby who had been knocked unconscious by a group of teenage boys in a park located in Lancashire, UK. The two primary boys, ages 15 and 16, later admitted to having only the motive that the couple looked different and were Gothic (Habteslasie 1). Both fell into a coma and while Robert managed to pull through, Sophie died two weeks later in the hospital at only twenty years of age.
Sophie's death and its cause shocked me beyond belief. I first heard about it from Laureli Slaughter on youtube, who has various sites and spends much of her spare time making others aware of alternative gothic subcultures and the hardships they face. It didn't take long to discover what an impact her death has had on the Gothic community.
Within days of her attack, www.myspace.com/inmemoryofsophie was set up by a family friend. Thousands of gothic people from around the world sent messages of their sympathy and shared their own life experiences of being at the receiving end of abuse because of their gothic appearance or subculture.
It appears that attacks on those ages 13 and up are quite common everywhere. With new awareness of existing abuse, "more than 4,000 people signed an online Downing Street Petition urging the Government to widen the definition of hate crime to include offenses committed because of a person's appearance or subculture interests" (Land 2). Unfortunately, I've heard that the Government is refusing to do so. A memorial fund was also arranged by family and friends to raise money to educate the youth of today about alternative cultures, equality, and respect. Sophie's name represents this campaign as: Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere.
"When asked why these assaults take place, Ms Lancaster said: "When I was younger it was mods and rockers who fought it out between themselves. Now there are alternative subcultures and there are so called chavs. The Gothic people are seen as easy pickings as most of them are not going to fight back as they are a non-violent community. Making it a hate crime would change things as the attacks and abuse suffered would be taken more seriously" (Land 2-3).
By: Courtney Lowe.