Hate Crimes You Don't Hear About, Part Two
By Russ Kick
The Exceptions That Prove the Rule
On extremely rare occasions a vicious black-on-white hate crime does make the national news. This was the case with the Central Park jogger and Colin Ferguson. Just why these two violent acts of hatred bubbled up into mass consciousness — while others that are at least as heinous have been ignored — is not clear. Nevertheless, it is instructive to examine them because, though they received wide attention, they were still treated differently than their white-on-black counterparts.
The Central Park jogger, you’ll recall, was a white woman who was gang raped and beaten almost to death by a gang of black and Hispanic teenagers in 1989. This incident introduced the term “wilding” to the nation. As Nicholas Stix described it: “The boys dragged her 200 yards to a secluded place, where they fractured her skull with a plastic-wrapped, four-foot lead pipe, and some large rocks. The boys ripped the Jogger’s clothes off of her, tying her hands behind her back with her sweatshirt, gagging her, and taking turns beating, stomping, and the unconscious woman, as 75 per cent of her blood oozed into the Central Park grass. They left her, with bruises, welts, and wounds literally from head to toe, for dead.”17
Despite the fact that physical evidence, eye witnesses, and video-taped confessions by the attackers in their parents’ presence all pointed to the young men’s guilt, protestors outside the courtroom referred to the trial as a “lynching.”
Four years later, a black man named Colin Ferguson opened fire inside a commuter train in Long Island. Six people died and nineteen were injured. “Police recovered from Ferguson’s pocket a handwritten note titled, ‘Reasons for This.’ It expressed hatred towards whites, Asians, and ‘Uncle Tom blacks,’ and stated that Nassau County, Long Island was chosen as ‘the venue’ because of its predominantly white population.”19 How did politicians and commentators respond to this racially motivated bloodbath? President Clinton ignored the racial aspects, instead using the incident as an excuse to once again call for tighter gun control laws. Commentators either denied that it was a hate crime or admitted that it was but then tied themselves in knots to explain it away. The Dallas Morning News interviewed a sociologist who “conceded that Ferguson picked his victims on the basis of race, but did not think this justified the hate crime label.”20
A scholarly book on hate crimes (discussed more below) notes: “When the Reverend Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader, mentioned Colin Ferguson, the Long Island Railroad mass murderer, at a rally in New York City, the audience cheered. In a speech before an audience of 2,000 at Howard University, Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Muhammed drew loud applause when he stated, ‘I love Colin Ferguson, who killed all those white folks on the train.’”21