On January 5th, 2017, four African-American young adults in Chicago attacked and tortured an 18-year-old white man with mental health challenges for five hours, while live streaming the whole event to Facebook. The sickening video showed the attackers kicking and punching the victim, cutting at his clothes, hair, and scalp. The poor man was cowered in a corner. People have been debating if this is a hate crime against a race, disability, or an individual.
The victim was a white, disabled man; I believe that if he had neither of these traits, this would not have happened. His disability gave the assaulters the power to manifest their anger against his race upon him. By shouting phrases such as “f***k white people!” and “f***k Donald Trump”, the motives behind this cruel act becomes evident. If the same event had happened but instead by four white men to an African American individual, the social justice sphere would be more ablaze. Our media more often portrays crimes by African Americans as gang violence rather than hate crimes; now in a moment like this, the media is confused by what to label the incident.
Simply put, this was a hate crime. Charged with anger against our new-president, anger against the history of white people having power, and anger against whatever the victim may have said or done, these people masked their anger and frustration into violence. These teenagers, having grown up in crime-ridden Chicago, have been taught little more than violence, which explains why they responded with such urge. They did not grow up with a well rounded education that we have the privilege of receiving. It is crucial to note that these attackers do not represent their entire race, how the victim certainly does not represent neither Donald Trump supporters or the white race. The attackers are simply destructive individuals who are products of a destructive environment.
However, a complicated past does not invalidate the severity of a hateful act. The attackers monopolized off of the victim’s disability in order to target his race, neither of which he is responsible for. With no doubt, this was a crime of ignorance, a display of dominance, and an act of hatred.