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Hate Crimes and Why They're an Issue

Updated on July 19, 2009

 I want to begin by saying, this is a subject that is close to my heart... as, I have family members who are multiracial. That said, the motivation for this article goes a bit deeper. I received an e-mail this morning from a human rights organization I'm involved with, letting me know about a man in Pennsylvania who was killed because he was Mexican. Before his murder, the boys involved (all white) taunted him with racial slurs and threatening any, other Mexican immigrant with murder, as well.

Like most people, I have to say... this is, by far, not the first time I've heard about something like this. We didn't really start hearing about these incidents until the last decade, when human right's organizations brought these situations to the forefront... and, thank God they did! Now, not only are people becoming more aware of what's going on, but some people are actually motivated to help do something about it. Unfortunately, it isn't enough.

Let's take, for instance, the Jena 6. This was a situation, in Arkansas, I believe, where 6 black boys were jailed for beating up a white boy. Not only were the 6 hastily arrested and jailed, but we find out, after the fact, that the white boy wasn't an innocent victim... like he was, initially, made out to be. The story came out, that... there was a long-standing history at the boy's school of racism and harassment against the black students, as well as the well-hidden fact that there was a tree at the school where only white kids could hang out at. So... to say this may have been an unevenly-stacked and anger-inducing environment for the black kids would be an understatement.

The question is... why were administration at this school so willing to jump the gun and have the 6 arrested, as opposed to suspension/or anger management counseling? What if the situation were reverse? What if it had been 6 white students against one black student? Who do you think would've come out of that situation "on top?" My guess is, the white students. No... not because I'm taking sides or I feel different toward the white student, as opposed to the black. It's because, I've LIVED these kinds of situations with my own family.

Is it o.k. not to hire a black man for the exact, same job as a white woman applies for? Sure- if it's because she has more on-the-job experience, or is more qualified for the job, than the man. What if those two, same people go for the job and the white woman is told to send her friends over (because there are more job openings), and the "friend" she sends is the black man?! The black man arrives and is, again, told there are no job openings. What do you do? This is the exact, same thing that happened to me, years ago. I made a choice, though. Instead of accepting a job I could've really used, I utilized that "teaching moment" opportunity to lay it all out, in front of the boss. I told him who I was, that the black man was my friend and that what HE was doing was, not only, wrong, but illegal! You know what that boss did? After regaining his composure, he offered us BOTH jobs! Needless to say, neither one of us took them.

Here's another scenario. A young, elementary school-aged child is at school. A classmate of his picks on him, relentlessly... to the point where he begins calling the child the N-word! The child being picked on becomes more angry as time goes on. No one around them seems to notice, or even care that he's going through this torment. One day, after school, the boy is walking home. Driving down the street, in front of him, are the "bully" child and his father. The child- IN FRONT OF HIS FATHER- yells the N-word at the child! The child looks to the father for help, but the father just laughs at him. What would you do? You're not on school property, so the administration and staff say, there's clearly nothing they can do. You're walking home alone, without other witnesses, so no one can vouch for you. Really, you're on your own. If this were your child, how would you feel?

From the situations I've been through, witnessed and read about, one thing stands out. Children are not BORN racist! They don't inherit that gene, the way someone with a mental illness might. RACISM IS TAUGHT!!! Like the alphabet and learning to read... children have to learn these behaviors over and over again- usually, from parents/or other people they're around often. Some might grow up hearing a parent talk about black (hispanic, asian, indian, etc.) people as if they're inferior to whites. Then, as they grow older, they begin to believe these lies themselves. Why do we, as a society, think it's o.k. to say/do what we want, in our own homes? We've been deluded into believing the constitution, and everything it entails, is everything... when, it's not.

If you want to get technical, the bible (the book written before any other, and comes from the true source of life) is the book we should be modeling our lives after. We are told to, LOVE one another. Throughout the bible, our fellow man is referred to as our "brother." Would we treat our blood siblings the way we treat other people? If so, there's a problem. If not, then... you get the picture.

There are things we, as human beings, can do to make sure hate like this does not continue. For one... EVERY ONE OF US (black, white, hispanic, asian, indian, etc.) needs to STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT! Do not allow one situation like this to go without incident. That does not mean risking your/your child's life just to make a point. However, you can still call 911, if need be. You can alert security, if that needs to be done. If you are able to say something to those directly involved (safely, of course), DO SO... especially when a child/children are with you. They will learn more in that, small moment than they will from any school text book!

Take time to teach children (yours, the ones you babysit, a friend's, etc.) about other ethnicities/races. Little things like, coloring the person brown, in a coloring book, instead of peach, is good. Do crafts, making people of all colors. When you buy books, get ones with a rainbow of colors. Why not buy a book that features an indian family, cooking a native dish? We hear a lot about eskimoes, but what do we REALLY know about the way they live? Anything... other than the fact that, they live in igloos? With older children, take them to the library and get a cookbook from another country. You can cook something from that country (and learn about those people) with them. Not only are these prime teaching moments, but they're fun, too!

The title of the article is "Hate Crimes and Why They're an Issue." Hate crimes are an issue, around the world, today, because... WE ALLOW THEM TO BE! Not many people stand up for what's right anymore. You don't hear many people, these days, telling teenagers (or younger kids) not to call other kids names or stop them when they say they "hate" someone because of the color of their skin (their religion, and so on). We've gotten away from the closeness of many, tight-knit communities/families, where we look out for each other, our children and our homes. That's sad. If, only, on this ONE subject people could come together... can you just imagine how WONDERFUL this earth would be, because of it?!!


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      Brian 5 years ago

      Audrea 71-I think there is some truth to what Dirty South says. I have known black people to say "they get all the women" white included. I don't think you well ever see a 40 year old black virgin. Also I have heard black skin is "like a shield" in some cases. You have more protection. If you was accused of a crime you did not commit wouldn't you want to be black when it happened? They have much better lawyers NAACP more options etc. Being born white may be a priveledge is some cases but having white skin is not. That is why white people try to tan themselves black. Many white women choose to have kids with black partners because they don't want their kids to get hated on for slavery. That is my take have a good day.

    • profile image

      Dirtysouth 5 years ago

      I live in Fredericksburg, Va and being "a preppy black guy" is popular around here. Most black people including me have white people in their family tree. I notice many white women seem to flock to black men they say they feel black men are more masculine, better for protection, and more fun. I find that white people are polite to everyone and easy to get along with a very small percentage of them are openly racists and that seems to be towards blacks that most other blacks don't like. I think most guys think us black people are cool and try to imitate our style.

    • audreana71 profile image

      audreana71 5 years ago from WV

      Wow, Dirtysouth! You say some things that sort of baffle me. For instance... you mention that, as a black man, you feel it makes you popular?! Really? I mean, I know and am friends with many black people (men inluded), and I'm not sure ONE of them (the men) would say they feel "popular" being black. I believe, the majority would actually say... they feel as if they're treated poorly, or like second-class citizens due to their skin color. So... my question to you, is: What, about being a black man, makes you feel "popular?" You also mention, that you believe white people are "open-minded" about making black friends. That really caught me off-guard, because... we DO live in the south, and it is NOT that way at all!!! It's, very much, the opposite. You see... I have a multiracial child, but when white people look at him, you know what they see? BLACK. The problem with that stereotype, is this: it forces him into this tiny, little box where- due to the color of his skin- he is told he can ONLY BE black... nothing else! He is a mixture of THREE, different ethnicities- NOT ONE. So- for now- he identifies as black... because, that is how he is treated here- like he's black (in a negatively racist sense). The last thing you said really floored me;0 You think it's "fun" being the "token, black guy?" You CAN'T POSSIBLY be serious??! Now, I am almost 99.9 percent SURE that, none of the black men I know would EVER say something like that;0 Wow! Let me just say one more thing, then you can respond. For GENERATIONS, blacks have been MURDERED, TREATED LIKE LESS THAN HUMAN, DEGRADED, HUMILIATED and SUPPRESSED, and have FOUGHT, TIRELESSLY, for every, single human right they have today! When I hear your statement, it just sends me reeling. With all those disgraces and attrocities in mind, WHY ON EARTH would you want to send your own "race" back HUNDREDS OF YEARS??? I just don't get it. Maybe you can explain yourself more clearly. Anyhow... thanks, again, for your reply. God Bless you.

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      Dirtysouth 5 years ago

      You could be right the newspaper could be misleading in a way. Maybe their is a conspiracy to make people afraid of black people. As a black man I find that being black makes me more popular than anything. White people treat me like a famous person. Even though some white people may be racist they seem like they are open minded about making black friends. I love my black people too don't get me wrong. But it is fun to be the "token black guy."

      Plus white women are in a league of their own. peace.

    • audreana71 profile image

      audreana71 6 years ago from WV


      Where to begin? I, too, lived in VA (in a very wealthy area of the city). I was 19 at the time, so... right around the age of some of these, so-called "thugs." I will say one thing, I noted right off, in your response: you only tend to use the label "thug" when you're referring to black males. Why is that??? I know why. I just want to see if YOU know why you do that. Without having specific statistics (which I tend not to rely on anyway), I would say... the place where I lived was roughly about the same (ethnically speaking) as your "statistics." That said... my friends and family spent many days/nights in public places... including the big mall there. NOT ONCE did we witness your, so-called "black-on-white, male" fights... nor, did we witness ANY fights, PERIOD! Another point I'd like to bring out, is... this: if you are depending on your local newspaper/its crime section for information like this... you are NOT going to find it there, or it is going to be HIGHLY MISLEADING, IF NOT INACCURATE. I was a writer for a newspaper, and... let me just say this: not everything you see/read in the paper is the 100 percent truth. Sometimes, pertinent details are withheld... parts of a story may have a certain slant to them (from, either, an employee's point of view OR someone who might have been in the story)... mistakes and typos are made constantly (hence, the teeny-tiny paragraph at the bottom of most papers, where they "regret the error..." and, so on. I have the PERFECT book for you to check out, regarding the u.s. postal system, the newspaper/radio/t.v. industries, and racism. Highly enlightening book! It's called "News For All The People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media." It s written by Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres. This is not only a very precise and detailed book, but it has been thoroughly researched, as well. On the front cover, news correspondent Bill Moyers (white) is quoted as saying, "We've needed this book for a long time!" Inside the pages of this book is where you will find your ACCURATE INFORMATION. Finally, let me say this: where we currently live (south), the crime of whites on ANYBODY (other whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, etc.) is the majority of what we experience, so... just because you see it one way in one, small area of the U.S. DOES NOT MEAN it is like that everywhere, because... obviously, it's NOT. Thanks, again, for your reply. God Bless.

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      Dirtysouth 6 years ago

      I actually live in Virginia in the suburbs. I am a huge atlanta falcons fan and they are known as the dirty birds that is why i chose the name dirty south. The area i live in is about 80% white and 15% black and 5% hispanic approxiamately. From what i see most of the thugs and trouble makers are black male and i see them usually being rude to white people , hispanic even black women on occasion. Being a black male it seems like people are less likey to be rude to you and i fell safer being a black male. From reading the newspaper in this are i would say about 80- 85% of robberies are committed by black males and the majority of the victims seem to be white male. And i don't even want to think about being a white male in a poor black neighborhood. Now don't get me wrong the majority of black and white people are nice ang get along fairly well but if you go to the mall on a friday or saturday night or on any given occasion you are more likely to observe a black male or female being aggressive towards a white person than vice versa even though it is a predomitely white area.

    • profile image

      audreana71 6 years ago

      Thank you for your comment, Dirtysouth. While I have no clue where you get the figure/data that 90 percent of racially-motivated crime is perpetrated BY blacks, TOWARD whites... the whole idea of that being remotely a fact (which, of course, it is not), is simply so ridiculous- if it didn't disgust me so, I might just laugh! If you truly do live in the south (as I and many of my friends do), you know quite well that the factual data shows just the opposite of what you're saying... that, these crimes are committed BY whites, TOWARD blacks and other minorities. Are there instances where blacks commit crimes against whites, as well as other minorities doing the same? Of course, there are! Are they the majority? Absolutely NOT! I am actually doing research about racism and how it came to be such an issue, in the U.S. You would truly be surprised at the whole diaspora and by whom and what national organizations racism was first spread. It surprised me, I know. Another point you brought up, was... blacks "talking and dressing properly, and staying out of trouble." Wow! Very interesting perspective;0 So... let me get this straight- you believe that, if all blacks (young, old, men, women) would be "o.k." in society if only they wore the "right" clothes (not sure what that means... shirt and tie, dress pants; dresses with hems below the knee, high heels and make up; etc.), acted/behaved in the "right" manner (I'm assuming you mean, not acting "loud, obnoxious, ghetto, hostile???") and "staying out of trouble" (meaning... not acting like thugs and doing thuggish things, not robbing the local liquor store or holding up the little old lady, with her purse; not beating up poor, defenseless people just because, and not shooting heroin, snorting coke or being a pedophile???). I have to say, this entire racial propaganda was also spread by the whites... not the blacks, or any other ethnicity. It sounds to me as if, 1.) you've lived a very priveledged life/or don't get out much, OR 2.) you have serious issues with who YOU are, and what makes you who you are (and, yes... your ethnicity is a huge part of that). When I first read your reply, I was upset. Now, I just feel sad for you. Be who you are and NEVER let anyone make you feel you need to jump through any sort of foolish hoops to be the person God made you! Finally... do not fall into the racially-fed propaganda, initiated and continuing to this very day, that- in my opinion- will never change. NO ONE should have to feel as if they are inferior due to the way they walk, talk, dress, behave and so on. Again... I truly appreciate your response.

    • profile image

      Dirtysouth 6 years ago

      Actually 90% of interacial crime is black on white. The best protection for the white man is a black face. That is why i am glad i am black and live in the suburbs. I know by being black talking and dressing properly and staying out of trouble being black is an advantage and alot safer. If i was a white man I would probably dye my skin black!


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