Most of us have heard of the recent hate crime that happened in Chicago. If you haven't yet: four black people kidnapped a mentally ill man, bound him in a building where they essentially tortured him, physically and mentally. One of them posted a video to their Facebook for everyone to see. In the video, the attackers were heard yelling things such as "F--- Donald Trump!" and "F--- white people!" which essentially proves that this attack was a hate crime. That's just how words and definitions work, considering the hate that had to go into this action.
Thankfully, the attackers were caught, arrested, and were appropriately charged. This actually presents an issue and outlines another. First, it outlined the issue of a system that groups, like Black Lives Matter, criticize constantly: That it treats black people as if they don't matter. There was little doubt that the attackers were going to be charged. It was a brutal crime that was treated as such.
Essentially, there was little doubt that the justice system would fail the victim. We can safely believe that the attackers will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This is nothing new, as black people tend to receive much less forgiving treatment in the criminal justice system than their white peers, even when faced with similar crimes. We can safely assume that they will be prosecuted appropriately and jailed for what the justice system will deem an appropriate amount of time. This is- give or take a few things pertaining to the treatment of criminals- what the justice system should look like and how it should work: An impartial consequence that isn't softened by how much money a person has or what snap judgments could be made based on their appearance.
Of course, there are factors other than race that could be the cause of this discrepancy in treatment, but considering the amount of examples where race is the common difference between the severity of judicial action, and the ease of finding such examples, it's undeniable that race plays a large factor. To say otherwise seems more like a case of wishful thinking and the desire to look the other way. While it's a bit early to say whether these four attackers will avoid jail time or not, aside from the confidence that they won't, it might be good to compare this case to one that happened some time back. In this case, the assailant was a white football player, while the victim was a mentally disabled black teammate of the assailant. The assailant avoided jail time through a plea deal, but only time will tell if this will be the result of this current case.
The problems presented are those of false equivalencies and misunderstandings. When this case was fresh, many people on twitter used the attack to get out their narrative on the BLM movement. The general message was "Had the attackers been white, there would be public outrage, riots, protests, etc." While they're not entirely wrong on the outcome of events, they miss the reasoning for the outrage and the basis of the argument being made: The outrage is not that these events happened. It's a matter of treatment.
Can you imagine how many riots we would have around the country if the terrorists were white? #BLMKidnapping pic.twitter.com/8JARibCb3K
— Steve Hirsch (@Stevenwhirsch99) January 5, 2017
This is why this attack and other cases where a black person is attacked, but the white assailant goes without jail time can't really be compared. Had the attackers been white and the victim been black, there would be justified skepticism on whether or not they would receive any kind of consequences considering past examples. The argument being made, or at least part of it, is simply: Black people are treated differently/unfairly, and would like for that to stop. We can't change that these things happen, but we can control how these events are treated, and when they're treated differently for different groups of people with one of the main differences between these groups being the color of their skin, in a country where skin color taints the morality and progression of our history, how baseless is it to assume that this difference in treatment has a basis in race? I really do hope that anyone reading will keep these words in mind going further.