Hate Crimes in America
How serious should the threat of a hate crime be taken? According to Ellis Cose, the African American author of Ignore the Noose Makers, to pay too much attention to the idiocy of those who hang nooses simply to intimidate their black target, “is to grant them an importance they do not deserve.” Nooses have a horrific history associated with them. They are known to be used in lynching (punishing people for crimes by private citizens without trial, whether they are guilty or not), of which three quarters of the cases in American history were against blacks. George Curry, another African American author of Calling Nooses What They Are – Terrorism, feels strongly that these threats are not to be taken lightly, and with that attitude people will not be able to “bridge the racial divide.” The American people are protected from hate crimes and verbal threats, and the hanging of a noose is a threat in itself of which their victims deserve protection from. The fact that Congress recognizes crimes motivated by bias as more serious than the crime committed alone is not in question. “Congress has passed the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act, which increases penalties for some federal crimes when they are motivated by bias.” The debate is whether or not these laws should be applied to the widespread appearance of nooses since 2007, when the treatment of the “Jena 6” received nationwide press coverage. Nooses were hung in a tree at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana, which caused racial tensions to escalate over the months following August 2006, after the principle was overruled when he recommended expelling the students found responsible for the outrage. A black student was attacked in November by a mob of white students, of which one member of the group was charged with battery and released on probation. In turn, a white student was attacked after taunting the victim of the previous beating. But the black students did not get off so easy. They...
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