Mob attack obviously about race

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Where's Jesse Jackson?

Where's Larry King?

Where are the protesters, the signs, the chants?

Where are the calls for the police chief's head?

Where is the righteous indignation erupting from an entire segment of the community?

Sure, Al Sharpton commented through a regional spokesman, but why isn't he here, demanding that the whole world pay attention?

Imagine what would be going on in Akron right now if a mob of 30 to 50 whites had launched a vicious, unprovoked attack on a defenseless family of blacks in a residential neighborhood in Firestone Park, chanting about white supremacy.

But the skin colors were reversed. The ugly mob that jumped four adults and two children June 27 consisted of black people, and they were attacking white people.

Fifteen years after the Akron Beacon Journal won a Pulitzer Prize for its yearlong study of race relations, this city and this nation still have a double standard — in media coverage, in law enforcement and in outrage.

''This is our world,'' the attackers yelled. ''This is a black world.''

Yet the Akron Police Department still won't call this a hate crime. Now let's see . . . 30 to 50 people, all of whom are black, attacking six other people, all of whom are white, while proclaiming black supremacy. If that's not a hate crime, what is?

Some have speculated the attack was gang-related. So what? If a black gang's initiation rite requires attacking whites, does that make it any less of a hate crime?

Granted, the city has asked for help from the FBI, and only the FBI can charge someone with violating federal civil-rights laws. But as the FBI's Web site says, ''A hate crime is not a distinct federal offense. [The FBI's efforts] serve as a backstop for state and local authorities, which handle the vast majority of hate-crime cases.''

No reasonable person can look at this incident and see anything other than a hate crime.

Not that I'm a huge fan of hate-crime laws. If somebody sucker-punches me because he doesn't like the way I walk or the way I comb my hair, am I supposed to feel better about it than if he had punched me because of my skin color?

Giving special treatment and harsher penalties to race-based attacks only reinforces our differences.

But the real point — which should be self-evident, but isn't — is this: Black people attacking white people for no particular reason is not one iota better than white people attacking black people for no particular reason. The level of attention and outrage should be absolutely equal. And until we fully embrace that concept, our sorry, seemingly endless race problem will never abate. continues here

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