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I have never been beaten that savagely, but growing up in the sixties and seventies I have been exposed to some racial violence. When i was twelve or so, I remember being attacked on a subway by two hoodlums who singled me out because I was a "spook."

But I never really had to face the kind of antipathy the Freedom Riders had to face. I have never felt like my whole world wanted me dead. Some close relatives have strong religious beliefs about homosexuality, but none have disowned me for being outspoken in support of basic human rights and dignity for LGTB people.

I feel blessed to live in this time, and I feel like my whole existence is owed to people like them and those who fought in the Great War.

Agreed. Last halloween, I dressed up in full drag as my costume and had a great time, until someone assaulted me for it in the washroom at the end of the night. He fractured my skull in 2 places, and it looked pretty bad, but in the end I was fine. It really just made me sad that that sort of hatred and judgement still exists in our place and time. My business partner is homosexual and because of his family's religious views didn't come out until he was 30. Having to hide who he was in order to be "accepted" is tragic, and really messes a person up emotionally. And others who carry such blind hatred around, it saddens me that I can heal in a week or two, but they're just broken human beings who may never get over that. One can only hope something happens to help them change...

The PBS series on this was breathtaking. I cannot imagine the bravery. Going to war overseas with a weapon at the behest of "leaders" pales in comparison to going into a mob unarmed to try to make a change in rights, knowing there is a really good chance you are going to be beaten to death without witness.

Not to diminish civil rights but the same mentality of those mobs is taken advantage of today by corporations to defeat free access to basic health care, cheap medication, etc. Then there is the mob mentality against freedom to marry, etc. When will a society grow above these things and when will "leaders" affect change without having to first be convinced what is the right thing to do.

I really don't think we need to rank the freedom riders against the people who stormed the beaches at Normandy, or even the 19 year olds who are manning the FOBs in Afghanistan. The degree of selflessness and bravery intrinsic in all those actions already pegs the meter; let's be thankful for that, instead of trying to design an even better meter.

I recognize there's probably an anti-war subtext to comments like yours, and I respect that sentiment and in many cases probably agree with it. But if we're going to take anyone down a peg for the dumb actions of the "leaders", let's let it be the "leaders".

Good story, but how is this hacker news?

Great question. My lone(?) perspective is that one of the great tensions within the hacker community is between striving for a pure meritocracy, which is a public Hacker Value, and having cosy little social cliques, which is how hacking is often practiced even if we disavow the idea of prejudice.

Many hackers of a certain age grew up when being a nerd wasn't hip, and identify strongly with civil rights. The fact that great hackers have come from different cultures speaks strongly to computes being colour-blind in a certain sense.

Thus, I personally see issues around social prejudices and civil rights to be of interest to some hackers in a way that transcends the admonition that politics usually doesn't belong here. Paul's essays about the social behavior of nerds often speak to these matters in smaller settings, such as corporations or high school.

That being said, the times change, and many people may not feel the same way about a connection between hacker culture and the fight against racial or cultural prejudices in society. I can appreciate an argument that goes the other way.

p.s. This has abruptly dropped off the front page. I suspect that either flagging or moderation has taken place.

It's not. I didn't flag the story, but you'd probably be doing a reasonable thing to flag it yourself.

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