Apparently, when six whites kidnap a Black woman, hold her hostage for six days and torture her with repeated rapes, choke her with a cable wire, force her to eat excerment and scald her with hot water, it's not a hate crime.
From Keith Boykin, who broke this story over a week ago:
When police arrived at a rickety mobile home in Big Creek, West Virginia on Saturday, they found something that shocked the community. A 20-year-old black woman was being held hostage in the house. She had been kidnapped, tortured and raped for more than a week by a group of six whites, authorities say. The three men and three women who held her captive allegedly beat, stabbed and sexually assaulted the woman while calling her a "nigger."
Federal prosecutors in West Virginia have decided not to file hate charges, a decision that may in part be due to the fact that hate crime convictions carry far lesser punishment than federal statutory offenses. Boyking adds:
The best argument for not pursuing federal hate crimes prosecution is that the state crimes carry tougher sentences if convicted. That's a reasonable argument, but that's often the case, especially in cases of murder and other serious violent crimes. Still that misses the point. The point of hate crimes laws is not to replace the existing law, but to provide an additional basis for charges against the accused. In these cases, society is so outraged by crimes motivated by prejudice that we provide heightened penalties for those who commit such crimes.
What is the point of having hate crime legislation if it's only a slap on the wrist? For crimes such as this one, that carry with it such vile hatred as the impetus for inflicting torture, hate crime legislation needs to be something that not only symbolically pays dues to the the undercurrent of hatred and power that motivates violent crime. Instead, it should work to legally acknowledges the power imbalances in this society, and uses its boundaries to provide a space in which that power is challenged and, in some vague way, justice is served.
But hell, with OJ's alleged robbery making front page news, I should know better than to think justice exists for Black folks in this country.