Hate Crimes: A Country Divided

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"I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be

judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character .

In the midst of racial turmoil, these powerful words were heard by millions. Dr

Martin Luther King Jr spent his entire adult life fighting for justice, peace, and equality,

and it seems we have not come a long way.

Despite being in a new century, hate crimes amongst African Americans have not changed much. Church vandalism and bombings still occur, as well as burning crosses on home lawns and even murder. One of the most heart-wrenching one in recent years, took place in Jasper, Texas. The year, 1998. The victim, a black man.

In June of 1998, a black man named James Byrd Jr., who walked with a limp was offered a ride by three white males. Instead of giving him a ride, they beat him maliciously until he died. After they were done, they dragged his lifeless body behind their truck until his body was partially dismembered.

Criminalogist , Dr. Jack McDevitt says that "Hate crimes are message crimes. They are different from other crimes in that the offender is sending a message to members of a certain group that they are unwelcome . No message has been more evident than in the case of Matthew Shepard.

The case of Matthew Shepard rocked the nation in 1998. He was brutally tortured and eventually beaten to death by two "men  of the same age because he was gay. Aaron Mckinney and Russell Henderson said that Matthew tried to "make a move  on them. So they pistol-whipped him and savagely beat him unconscious. They then tied him to a log fence, where he was later found. Matthew died five days later.

Misplaced hate, negative stereotypes, and a multitude of hate sites seem to fuel a number of hate crimes. Over the past 10 years, hate groups and hate sites has dramatically increased. There's been an estimated 10,000 to

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