Hate Crimes Against African Americans
R. Jamal Brown
University of Phoenix
August 26, 2012
Hate Crimes Against African Americans
Hate crimes have affected African Americans in more ways than just violence; therefore, our government needs to approach hate crimes differently. Aside of the fact that the United States has elected the first African American president, hate crimes has still occurred before and during his presidency. Of the 7,624 hate crimes committed in 2007 alone, 2,659 of those hate crimes were done on African Americans ("Hate Crimes Against African Americans", 2012). From the history of slavery, lynching, murders, the burning of crosses and churches, to the brutality that police officers have committed on African Americans, the black community has been affected tremendously in all aspects. The feelings and emotions of the African American society has been crushed and walked upon for over 400 years. In the nineteenth century, lynching was used to terrorize Blacks to maintain white supremacy. Lynching was open public murders of Blacks suspected of committing crimes. Lynching was normally done by hanging or shooting African Americans. During these years, the supremacy of white people thought that in order to control Blacks, they had to pump fear into them. Prior to 1882, there was no record or history of lynching in America (Gibson, 2012). In 1882, the recordings of lynching began with the Chicago Tribune. Other institutes such as the Tuskegee Institute, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) independently kept records of the lynching (Gibson, 2012). This crime mainly occurred in the southern states however, it occurred throughout the United States. In the state of Mississippi, it was rated the highest in lynching African Americans (Gibson, 2012). Whites justified lynching black people as a law or “Neighborhood Watch” so to speak, included major crimes to minor offenses. Lynching blacks was based on the color of their skin and discrimination. One of the most memorable moments recorded that involved lynching was the murder and lynching of a 14-year-old African American boy named Emmett Till (Zheng, 2008). In August 1955, Emmett Till was traveling from Chicago to visit his relatives in Mississippi (Zheng, 2008). While traveling, Emmett stopped to purchase some bubble gum from a local grocery store near Money, Mississippi. Before Emmett left the store, he was accused of making a flirtatious pass at Carolyn Bryant who was the wife of the owner of the grocery store. Two days after the grocery store incident, Emmett was kidnapped at midnight by two Caucasian men, Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam. Emmett was tortured and pistol-whipped in a barn that J.W. Milam once lived. Emmett’s body was thrown into a bayou from the Black Bayou Bridge. Emmett Till’s body was later found with a cotton gin fan tied around his neck to hold his body down in the river. In September 1955, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam were tried for the murder of Emmett Till (Zheng, 2008). The five day trial was held and an all-white jury acquitted Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam (Zheng, 2008). In 1866, white people had established an organization called the Ku Klux Klan. Their purpose was to torture and kill African Americans along with any whites sympathetic to Black people. Their other purpose was to stop African American people from voting. From braking into an African American’s home at night, taking them out of their beds and murdering them, the Ku Klux Klan were not arrested for their behavior. The impact of hate crimes on African Americans has drastically changed the ways that Black people perceive society. Aside of the Ku Klux Klan’s purpose, the implant of fear still plays a role in the mind many black individuals. The religion-based characterization has been imprinted to the point that a black man or woman feels targeted, depending on the area that he or she...
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