The Times has a brief today about a man in Queens who has been charged with a hate crime. I suppose the racists are never known for having a nuanced grasp of the world, but it’s always dimly amusing to see yet more evidence of their ignorance.

 David C. Wood was charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment after he shouted “Arab, go back to your country!” at 63-year-old Chadha Bajeet, a Sikh, and punched him in the face. Bajeet, who presumably ties a turban (as many Sikhs do), suffered a broken nose and jaw.

Violence against Sikhs in the U.S. isn’t new; particularly after 9/11, the visual cue provided by the turban has made the religion’s predominantly Indian adherents a rather easy target. From Congressman John Cooksey’s reactionary comment urging racial profiling after the terror attacks (“If I see someone (who) comes in that’s got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over”) to the Sikh Coalition’s exhaustive listing of hate crimes and bias incidents against Sikhs since then, discrimination is blatant and well-documented. But I still find it confounding: Really? You’re so threatened by this Other that you have to break a 63-year-old’s jaw? What did he ever do to you?

The subject gets me all het up, I suppose, is that my husband is Sikh; even though he doesn’t tie a turban, he has long hair and a beard, which means we are inevitably pulled aside at the airport for grilling and patting down. The worst that’s happened is a TSA official asking the hubby why he looked so fidgety; hubz remained calm and explained, “It’s the first time I’ll be visiting my in-laws at their family home.” But when you hear about random attacks in a neighborhood less than five miles from your own humble apartment, it’s easy to get a little paranoid.

I fully support women fixing things themselves. I have my own hammer, screwdriver, and pliers, and I have a few odd boxes of nails and screws in case anything is amiss. I mounted my own curtain rods and installed some shelves in my kitchen and bathroom. If anything, I’m ferociously self-sufficient.

I guess I just sort of assumed that we were past an era in which we had to call attention to the fact that women are capable of slinging the old hammer around. But apparently not: according to the Wall Street Journal, tools as accessories, that’s the trend:

The home-improvement industry has always been a no-woman’s land known for its drab aisles lined with nail bins and mysterious steel objects whose purpose was understood only by grunting guys in flannel shirts. Now it is going designer pink. Companies such as Tomboy Tools, Barbara K Enterprises and Girlgear Industries are offering the female do-it-yourselfer fabulous pink hammers and saws in stores and on the Web. These items usually fit snugly inside a smart satchel of the same hue, the tool box as it might be interpreted by Sarah Jessica Parker.

Now, WSJ’s never been known for its progressive views, but this is so …. hackneyed? Lazy? Old-fashioned? Toward the end of the article, she gets so heavy-handed that a crushing blow to the crown would be preferable to the stodgy, regressive preaching:

The only thing to give pause in the pinkhammer revolution is the occasional whiff of ideology that emanates from its leaders. Hang around the movement’s Web sites and before long you’ll hear rhetoric that implies that learning to install a dimmer switch is not simply a practical means of increasing domestic pleasure; it’s a Radical Statement for Women’s Progress. “It’s more about Empowerment with a capital E,” reads the toolgirls.com manifesto. Most of the rhetoric is more Oprahesque heavy breathing than Steinem-style fuming, but it still may not be the most suitable tone to take around people preparing to take up potentially lethal tools. “My true desire is to inspire women to become more self-reliant and confident in their abilities,” Barbara K! writes on her Web site. “We all have ‘it’ within ourselves to do things we never imagined we could.”

Well, maybe. But the truth is that while women may want a lovely home, most of them would also like a good man to share it with.

Self-confidence? Quelle horreur! Wrest that power drill from her disgusting feminist hands! And get me a man with six figures who can patronizingly indulge the little woman’s whims! I don’t know what’s more obnoxious: the fact that we’re supposed to think it’s quaint that women are finally taking to tools, or the fact that a well-regarded paper would print such myopic tripe and pass it off as news.