Hate Crime? What Hate Crime? White Folks Don’t Hate!

Right now I’m pissed off; yes I am very much so. Last year on this blog, I wrote about the story of Luis Ramirez, the undocumented immigrant who was murdered by a group of white teens in Shenandoah Pennsylvania. Without going into much detail, I’ll just say that he was attacked by a group of high school football heroes all because Luis was obviously Hispanic. Apparently it’s a crime to be Hispanic and walking down the street. Back then the police said they didn’t believe it was racially motivated; however, they did note or mention that there has been an ongoing tension between whites and Hispanics.

The evidence gathered in the initial stages of the investigation all had the makings of a hate crime. Luis was jumped by these white kids, beaten, kicked and stomped while being told to go back to Mexico. When I wrote about this last year, I mentioned that this story was so low key and that just like the Jena 6 case, there was a need for some activism to bring about justice. Well, that didn’t happen, and the kids were just acquitted of third degree murder by an all white jury. Instead, they were convicted of a simple assault. I don’t know about you, but this serves as yet another reminder of the fact that justice is not color blind.

Check it out:

Did you notice just how elated a few of those people were as they exited the courtroom? Did anyone forget that a young man died as result of the actions of these kids? I guess not since it took the police some time to arrest anyone even though they knew who they were.

“He was at our house all day that afternoon. And it was around maybe 11:00, he asked us to take him uptown to drop him off, whatever, he was going to go home. So, we leave him at the Vine Street Park, and we drive away, Victor and I, and about two minutes later he called us and told us to come back, that people were beating him up. So we get back as fast as we could. And when we get there, he was—like the fight was over, like the boys were walking away, but they were still screaming like racial slurs, like “Go back to Mexico!”
And so, Victor and I ran up to Luis, and we said, “What happened?” But he was so mad, he wasn’t really talking to us. And those kids kept yelling stuff, and he went back, and the kids turned around, and the fight started again. So Victor, my husband, tried to like stop the fight. He tried to get the kids off of Luis, but kids were trying to fight my husband. So my husband got the kids off of him, and we couldn’t stop the fight between Luis and the—but next thing we know, Luis was on the floor. And so, me and Victor, we ran up to his side, and we were at his side. We were trying to wake him up, and the kids are still like kicking him and kicking him. And somebody—I don’t know who, but they kicked him like in the left side of his head so hard that that’s what killed him.” – Arielle Garcia (witness and friend of the deceased)

I just think it’s sad that minorities and immigrants -whether legal or illegal – are criminalized and are often the source racial bias and stereotype when it comes to crime. But yet, here is an immigrant who was clearly the victim of a hate crime which lead to his death, and the accused gets to walk free on a lesser charge of assault. Was his life any less valuable than yours or mine? This verdict says it is, and it’s a damn shame that this is the uncomfortable truth that is America – a country known for freedom, justice and equality. Ironically, a few days ago the gov’t passed an new Hate Crime Bill in Congress. As usual, most Republicans in Congress voted against it. Why should there even be a debate about such a measure? Lemme guess, not enough people have died like Luis Ramirez pictured above?

QUESTION(S):Why is it that minorities often hold the “shitty end of the stick” when it comes to justice? Do you think if this story and case were highly publicized that the outcome would have been different?