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Racism Hate Crimes in America Blacks were introduced to American soil during the 17th and 18th centuries via the triangular trade route and were welcomed by whips chains shackles and all the horrors of slavery Slavery was legitimized by our government and continued for a few hundred years taking a civil war and sixteen presidents before it was abolished To this day there is still much hatred between blacks and whites despite emancipation desegregation and integration some would argue that the condition of African Americans in the United States is still one of a subservient nature Federal law defines a hate crime as whenever a victim is attacked on the basis of his or her race ethnicity religion sexual orientation or gender hate offenses are directed against members of a particular group simply because of their membership in that group Levin 4 Last year a black man was brutally murdered in east Texas by three young white males There are over a hundred homicides committed every year but the manner in which this life was taken and the apparent motive of his perpetrators leaves no doubt that this crime was one rooted in hate In this brutal murder the motivation is obvious and clear-cut the bigotry so blatant that it virtually hits you in the face James Byrd Jrs death is Americas shame another man tortured for no reason- other than the color of his skin This essay will use the Byrd murder to explore the cause and effects of hate crimes and attempt to draw meaning from it so that a tragedy like this will not happen again In the early morning of June 7 1998 a black man was walking down a road in Jasper Texas James Byrd Jr had just left a nieces bridal shower at his parents house and was trying to hitch a ride home Three men drove by and the owner of the vehicle Shawn Berry offered Byrd
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