Will Americans ever be equal?

Nationwide, we are experiencing increasingly promoted racial division.  Ironically, this is transpiring when so many advances and improvements in racial equality have been legalized and the majority of Americans willingly accept them.

Unfortunately, however, some cannot accept the greater realization of Dr. Martin Luther King's dream that his children (and all) be judged by the content of their character and not their skin color.  Instead, past history is pushed as if it is current history.

If that isn't enough to promote division, we're seeing a series of hoaxes trying to create racist scenarios where none exist. Hoaxers plaster racist slurs against Black people in public places to create the impression of a racial attack by a White person, only to learn they were created by a Black person.  Statistically, there are hundreds of such actions nationwide.  Remember Jussie Smollett?

Then there are crimes or homicides involving two different races — but they are considered hate crimes only if the criminal and the victim check off specific racial boxes.  If the victim and the perpetrator don't check those boxes, there's a disturbing lack of equality of outrage.  There are several indications of this "hate crime inequality" in my city, St. Louis, Missouri.

Most recently an Asian man, Chen-Hsyong Yang, 72 years old, was carjacked by a Black man and, subsequently, run over by the perpetrator, thus getting killed.  Carmain Milton was arrested.  Although the victim and suspect were of different races, not a hint was raised that it could have been a hate crime.

Several years ago, Black youths attacked and murdered an elderly Vietnamese man.  Not long after that crime, a Myanmar refugee, working as a clerk in a convenience store, was robbed and murdered by a Black man.  Once again, not a hint of a hate crime was raised.

These are just several out of perhaps hundreds or even thousands of crimes where hate crimes are not equally considered, evoked, or charged.

Most recently, a high school here experienced vandalism of racist graffiti against Blacks in several rooms.  Both staff and students protested loudly, often obscenely, with staff and students walking out of class and school.  It was assumed by a majority that the perpetrator had to be White.  However, later it was discovered that the vandal was Black.

The staff and students were silent.  No outrage, no protest, no evident anger.  Four years previously, the same school experienced a similar scenario of racist graffiti vandalism against Blacks.  However, one sign stated, "White lives matter" — and that too was considered racist, which is incomprehensible if one genuinely believes that "all lives do matter."  Indicating that any other race's lives matter should not be a threat to one's own race.

These are just several instances in only one locality where guilt or guilty parties are not treated equally.  How great is the number nationally?  If attacking, harming, or murdering someone of one race by a person of another race results in a hate crime charge, it should be justly applied to all.  If writing racist graffiti and vandalizing buildings is considered offensive, outrageous, and a crime, it should be considered equally and justly with the same measure of outrage, regardless of the race of the person committing the vandalism.

America's Constitution and Bill of Rights promise justice and equality — particularly equality, which is understood as equal treatment under the law.  However, both legally and socially, the trend appears to pursue distinctively unequal treatment and inequality.  The Civil Rights struggle worked long and hard for equal treatment and legal action.  It did not struggle for dissimilar or privileged treatment or legal action.

Will Americans ever be equal?  That's a valid question.  The answer is "no" if laws divide and segregate by race, a pernicious behavior we thought was over in America.  Americans will be equal only if every law includes all people, and if society is encouraged to treat perpetrators of racist actions and crimes absolutely and entirely the same regardless of race — that is, equally.

Surely, St. Louis is not alone in experiencing unequal treatment and legal actions.  "Content of character," not "skin color," remains the ideal to guide just and equal laws and social responses and ensure that all Americans are equal.  Let pursue this aim without delay and with all due diligence.

Image: Black and White hands by Aarón Blanco Tejedor.

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