Commentary by Dan Eden of Viewzone

Last month we ran the story of a teenage girl who was a victim of a hate crime in her school (Hate Crimes). The article impacted several of our readers and we had many responses, both condemning the act and, unfortunately, verifying that this activity is wide-spread. We learned that hatred affects all races, economic classes and geographic regions within America. Although we have no immediate solutions for this problem, we share some of the comments and insights we received.


Well, this whole thing on hate crimes doesn't much surprise me. I mean, hate crimes have been going on since the dawn of time. It's either religious, racial, or any other thing about a person you can hate is always hated. But, for me, I sort of feel left out.

In this day and age it's always Black or white, plain and simple. It's never crimes on Asian, or the Latin community. I feel like our race is sometimes forgotten. How much is really said about the labor of the Asians to build the rail-roads nation wide. How much do you ever hear about the hardships or detailed history of the destruction of the Mexican culture? As for we Mexicans, Latinos, Chicanos...all we have is one day! just one day, Cinco-de-Mayo. Despite this holiday, there's never anything said in public schools about the origin or significance of this day to Mexican culture.

In Mexico we American-Mexicans are perceived as "coconuts", white on the inside, brown on the outside. To the whites we are perceived as just "another Mexican"...even though we are born in America.

Everyday I have a hate crimes committed on myself. I can be walking down a street and some white lady holds her purse tighter to her side, or changes position of her purse. Or I go to a store and some manager or employee is following me around like I am about steal something. That also happens to Blacks, sometimes... but it happens to Mexicans around the country all the time. And you know what, it's not because I dress like a "hood" or "thug", it's because I am brown. And it's really a shame that the country is still like this. But as long as we still have human nature, we'll always have hate. It sometimes seems like the only people surprised by "hate crimes" are White people- I wonder why? maybe it's because White people have never expierenced hatred. Ask any Hispanic, Black, or Asian if this surprises him..... I think you know the answer.

ESSJ, CA, 17 yrs old


I am twenty nine year old jewish white female living in Baltimore, Maryland. This article sent chills up my spine. It sucks that in 1998 people are strill discriminated against because of their color of skin. It sucks that parents are teaching their children racism and anti-semitism. It sucks that kids don't have the opportunity to learn for themselves what the world is really about. Racism and anti-semitism and every type of hatred that we are faced with today will always be around because of those parents who teach it to their youngsters. Its a shame because the world could be such a better place if they would just stop teaching. Let that little girl who is just starting out in this world know that everyone is NOT like that young man. I'm sorry that she has had such a hard experience at such a young age. That will stay with her forever. If you don't like someone, that is fine, you don't like them. But don't dislike a person because of the color of skin or religious beliefs. Thank you,

Sarae Kapliano


Our legal system is somewhat odd. It may help the mother in the story to know that a plea of "not guilty" is not necessarily a not guilty plea if it occurs at a first appearance or arraignment. It is blanket advice given to juveniles by their attorneys, both public defenders and private attorneys, so that the attorneys have time to work things out with the prosecution. A guilty plea is likely after an agreement to the punishment can be made. Many times prosecutors only offer a plea to a child that is unreasonably harsh at the first appearance in court, because they have not had time to review the case. This forces the plea of "not guilty."

The boy who is accused of the hate crime.. along with his family, may have been advised not to say anything to the victim or the victim's family by their attorney. It is standard in a crime against a person for a judge to order "no contact." Even an apology would violate the order. A letter of apology from the boy is likely in the final outcome of the case. The school should be advised of the pending case and should enforce a "no contact" order that has most likely been placed by the court. That should help the girl attend school in relative peace. If there is not a "no contact" order... a restraining order can probably be obtained which the school would be obligated to accommodate.

Another thing to consider... condemnation of the boys parents may be a little premature. Standing by their child in a crisis does not necessarily mean they approve of or encourage criminal acts by their child. Most parents would do the same thing, especially if their child has not previously been in trouble with the law. They may be very embarrassed by this situation caused by their offspring. Perhaps the behavior was influenced at home, perhaps it was influenced by the child's chosen peer group. Unless you are personally familiar with the family, it's very difficult to say.

The thing in the story that bothered me most was the reaction of the teacher the victim first reported the incident to. Florida law requires that we send our babies away at the age of five to spend the majority of their waking hours in the hands of school administrators and teachers until they are 18. (Now... you tell me where the influence is coming from.) It is incumbent upon these people charged with the responsibility of educating our children, to also ensure their safety and well being while they are in school. I am not in the teaching business, so I cannot claim to understand the apathy displayed by a majority of teachers in Florida. (I can say that many teachers are apathetic because I was "reared" in the Florida public school system and my children are currently in the Florida public school system. I have always considered myself lucky to run across a teacher who was concerned about a child's well being. They are there, but they are dwarfed in number by those who deliver an "assembly line" education, failing to accommodate children who don't fit into their pre-conceived mold.)

I got off the track slightly... but obviously the problem in the article went on for some time with absolutely no action being taken by the school officials responsible for the victim's safety. It is possible that it would have never gotten to that point if they had intervened early. I extend my best wishes to the victim and her family in this difficult situation, and my heart also goes out to the parents of the suspect. I can feel the hell they are going through too.



I think that if the schools would teach black history white history as one a lot of this hate crime stuff would go away. "when one doesn't' know about another ones culture, ignorance swoops down like a vulture" a quote from KRS- ONE. When one group of individuals, like whites, believe that blacks were no more than ignorant savages that roamed around naked- and slavery saved them from their ignorant life styles- then ignorance comes about; but when you state that they where scholars, kings, queens, engineers, and etc. that were stolen put in slavery for no more than "FREE" labor... Then you can put all the misconceptions to rest about the African race. Because their can be no peace until the truth is known.

C.M. Johnson III


My heart goes out to the girl and her family. When legality replaces morality we get "not guilty" pleas rather than the truth and a contrite apology and promise to change.

To paraphrase a recent statement (do not know exact words) "I did not legally lie although I deceived and mislead."

We are being destroyed by a great number of lawyers who are less interest in the truth and morals but have greater interest in deceit and obfuscation. When will Americans, and the American Bar Association, say "No more."

That boy's lawyer is in the group who wants to avoid truth and morality. Maybe that lawyer merely reflects the values of the parents who defend a wrongful son. But it is a shame such lawyers still can practice.



I just got through reading your article entitled "Hate Crimes in the Schools." I will say at the outset that I deplore the social structure that propagates incidents such as this. The boy involved was obviously influenced by societal conditions, either at home or by peer influence.

But, let's be completely fair. What would have happened if the black child had been referring to the white child as a "redneck," or "honkey"? How much publicity would you have given this incident? As I initially said at the beginning, I deplore this type of behavior, but you have to admit, in all highly publicized incidents such as this, it's always a black that has been slighted and never a white. If TRUE equality existed in this country, and if your On-line Zine was truly impartial, this side of the equation would have also been covered. The one-sidedness of the Civil Rights laws, including the joke called Equal Opportunity, is what's fueling the resentment and hate among whites toward blacks, not the blacks themselves. These issues will have to be addressed sooner or later in this society. The quicker we arrive at a position of TRUE equality, and abandon the practice of pampering a segment of our society at the expense of the rest of society, the quicker we'll have true racial harmony. I suggest a more balanced approach in your reporting. Showing only a portion of the true story is not my idea of fairness. Neither is using a platform such as your On-line Zine to promote a dedicated social agenda.



Such a sad story, but unfortunately it is not uncommon. We may have advanced in science and knowledge over the years of our God given history, but we have not learned to get along with one another and accept each other as we are. I agree that most often the attitudes are passed down from parent(s) to children, which means that we as adults have the ability to significantly influence the future generations for the better, and are not always taking advantage of that opportunity. Perhaps some day - but quite frankly, I honestly don't believe that mankind will ever outgrow that evil side of our nature.

M. Miller


Mr. Eden,
This was my first look at Viewzone. Your article on Hate Crimes hooked me. This is a great area of interest (with extreme disdain) to me. As a future educator I'm becoming involved with a group called GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education This group promotes a safe educational environment for all regardless of sexual orientation. Hate crimes at school will only be quelled when adults become aware, and make children realize that they are not acceptable. If only the parents of the boy had done so. I believe that printing the letter as you did is a start, thank you.

I have a question for you. Do you know if the mother who wrote the letter has contacted the Southern Poverty Law Center ( They have immense legal resources to combat this very thing?

Thank you again. And good luck with the mag! I'm telling my friends about it.

Deb Shannon


I just found your web page and have been reading some of the articles, I feel very sad for that little girl as I have a 14 yr. old daughter and a 12 yr. old son, However, hatred among teenagers can cut deep no matter what the hatred may be. My daughter is a Freshman in High School this year and weighs 185 pounds. She has been called everything from a fat cow to God knows what, but she is beautiful and has a great personality, but it has been my job as a parent to teach her self respect as well as self esteem, now as a freshman she is still happy and looks forward to the day she goes to college and says, "I can't wait to see where those losers are in 10 years" I think that's great! Yes, it is tragic, hate crimes that belittle our children, but it is the strong foundation of family that makes our children strong adults as well as succeed.

Thank You, Tammy


Dear Viewzone,
Thank you for printing this mother's letter. The treatment she and her daughter have endured is shameful. What has happened to the US that we no longer have safe, effective schools? She's right, it has to be what's being taught at home, but our schools are doing nothing to counter bad home teachings.

I suspect that hate crimes, or the possibility of such, will be a major factor in the growth of home schooling over the next 10 years.

I am a homeschool mom, and my reasons for home schooling my four children were two-fold: Safety and Real Education.

I live in the middle of the mid-west, USA. My choice for school when my eldest was ready to start was a public school with very little discipline, out-of-control kids, and rampant racism (I visited several times), or a private school, run by extreme right-wingers. Since we were Christians, I chose the private school, hoping that it would be less damaging. My first-grader was emotionally and verbally abused by HER TEACHER(!) the whole year. I found out about it before the first semester ended, and filed complaints, made sure I was constantly in the principal's face, which only filtered down to worse treatment for my daughter.

We moved to another state. This public school was better, that is, physically and atmospherically. I put her in public school for second grade, where she languished academically unchallenged for a year. By this time, we were back in our home town, and my eldest son was ready for school. I was already considering home-school because I was running out of options. My hesitation was concern about isolating my children.

We heard of a small group planning to create "a better Christian school," and thought that might work. My children attended six weeks. I learned that they were actively being taught prejudice, and I couldn't get them out of there fast enough. So I home schooled four grade-levels every year for 10 years. During that time, I found other home-school families, and we created a social network that was the pride of the state home-school group. However, such a job has extreme pressures. I hit major burn-out, and eventually divorced my husband. The two older children were now graduated, and the youngest were 12 and 14. Again, I felt I had little choice but public school.

My younger daughter, who is a lesbian, made it through two years of public high school, enduring scorn, verbal abuse from students and teachers. Parental complaints were ignored. The teachers were "always right." She finished out her credits at home, and took the GED. Her younger brother, a gentle soul, did well in jr. high, but high school proved too stressful for him, too. He was afraid of several of the students, some of whom carried "weapons," and felt he must always be watchful. When he was falsely accused of theft, that was the final straw. He also finished his credits at home.

Finding adequate, safe schooling for our precious children has become a real problem. I now have grandchildren coming on, and in a few years, they will start school. I wish I could see a change coming in our school systems. What will it take to make it happen? It is my sincere hope that the mother who's letter you printed will find the path that is best for her daughter, and be able to walk it. My heart goes out to them both.

Celia Ridgway


Interesting article and I certainly feel for the little girl and her family. That boy should have been expelled forthwith. However it is distressing that the double standard again is employed vis a vis the race issue. The word "Hate Crime" has become synonymous with crimes committed by white against blacks, which by every statistic available are rare in comparison with those committed by blacks against whites. Blacks, who represent a much smaller percentage of the population, commit violent crimes against Whites and Asians at a ten to one ratio, yet these crimes are never depicted as hate crimes. It is almost as if to say that blacks are incapable of hating. In most of the schools in major metro areas where the student population is mixed or where blacks are in the majority, white students are regularly the targets of assault and routine intimidation. I have seen this first hand. If the problem is ever to be solved we must be able to discuss this issue without fear of being branded as racist.


Dear Sir,
After reading the article by the mother of the black, 13 year old daughter in Florida who was the victim of the actions of a young boy in her school, I had to at least make some comment. I am a school teacher in a rural area of TN. and I can assure the mother of this young lady, the experience she had in school is not only nourished in many homes, but promoted as well. I am sick of trying to teach kids and having to contend with the conflicts among neighbors, relatives and races.

I am originally from Alabama and was raised up on a heavy dose of hearing "nigger", "spooks" and " boy". Fortunately, I have moved beyond that and try to see each person as an individual, regardless of their race. However, I'm not going to attempt to convince you that I had rather be among a group of blacks than whites, all things being equal, because I think for the most part we are all more comfortable with those of our own color. I don't want to associate with a bunch of red neck trash, no more than a group of black trash. So that brings us back to the individual. As a teacher, I'm tired of having to act as a buffer between students that have been "taught" at home not to take any "shit" off any other student, or "those teachers". They are taught the teachers are their enemies, children of other races are beneath them, and the way to be successful is to let everyone know you will punch their lights out if they "mess" with you. Thank goodness this doesn't apply to all students, but it only takes a small percentage to disrupt what would be a positive learning environment. I suspect this is what the young girl's mother has run into, that small percentage, but to her daughter it might as well be all white people and for that I feel terrible. I can only offer encouragement to the young lady and her mother and pray that some day we can look back on hate, as it relates to racism, and have our grandchildren ask " why did people feel like that?"


Hi Dan:
As a mother of 2 multi racial sons, I was wondering if this mother planned on sending her daughter to a different school and pursuing the court cases against this boy and his family? My best wishes are with this child and her mother!!! Regards,

Jamee Rodriguez


What a sad story I surprised as a white, middle-class American? No. For this mother is absolutely right about hate. For you see, all crime is in my opinion an act of hatred. What I think we have done as a society is to diminish our moral outrage at crime in America in general. It is not fashionable, in fact could be downright dangerous, to correct someone else's children for their bad behaviors. As a matter of fact, 99% of teachers and administrators would be loathe to hold this boy accountable for his boorish behavior because it might damage his self-esteem as well as risk bringing an irate parent to the school principal's office. (And if I hear that term "self-esteem" one more time concerning the protection of children I'll barf!)

But if you REALLY want to do a piece on "hate-crime" you could begin with the daily assault on Judeo-Christian values--yep those values that are pretty much outlawed in the classroom anymore. You know, we just can't get God mixed up in sorting out our pathetic little problems like name-calling, etc. So, to make up for our spinelessness concerning spiritual/moral values we make up a new category in the moral code and call it "hate-crime". Jesus said "Love one another as I have loved you". For heaven's sake it is so simple that even babes can understand it. Likely its simplicity blinds fools to its efficacious application to human relations -- and all the while we wring our collective hands tutu-tooting about a child's self-esteem. Quite frankly, I don't believe you or your organization have the balls to tackle the issue beyond mere window dressing. And most of us who know better simply cannot stand another drop of the drivel that comes from the popular press on these important issues.

Frank Adams, JD


If a bully tried to noose my child, would he be specially protected because he is white? The point is that we all owe the victim as described in this case, our collective might to stop, then to punish the bully, regardless of his motivation. The action of humiliating, debasing or abusing a person is not made worse by motivation, nor is the harassment and intimidation that this child suffered. The bully needs punishment, swift and sure. If someone physically intimidates and threatens me in front of witnesses with a weapon that is later found, I have every access to criminal and civil actions against him under the law. There must be no need for a special class of 'Hate' crimes. The criminal's beliefs, no matter how repugnant, are protected under the constitution, his actions are not. When will we realize that this poor child is just as important, but no more important, than mine. There is no need for special laws to punish this young thug, but there is a pressing need for existing laws and rules to be triggered.

And that is probably the issue. To the degree that school administrators feel racial motivations somehow lessen the offense, then many argue that only a special class of laws will remind them of the equality of severity. But, rather than pass such particular hate protections, I would rather see that action can be brought against administrators who fail to equally protect all children from the rare child psychotic. For only the rare child is a bully, yet we all remember one. In my case, ironically, they were black kids who routinely preyed upon the smaller white children in my part of Philadelphia. I was often beaten by those cretins who filled my nightmares.

The police chose to do little, and finally my family simply fled the city. Should I be racist? Or should I hope that authorities would provide as much protection to any child terrorized by monsters? We miss the point if we deal with a symptom rather than a cause. It is not the words, but the actions of a psychotic which we must take seriously. It's his actions and his illness from which we deserve protection. All of us. This boy with the noose apparently needs institutionalization, and it is hard to grasp how the authorities missed that. If indeed we have all the information that they had. Something I fear, when confronted with such pat stories... something I fear we lack. Why do I feel you are setting me up with this Jerry Springer scenario?

Ted Byrne


Dear Dan Eden,
This is a growing problem in our school systems. I am a White female and have 4 children and they do not call people names or do such things. But they have witnessed such things in the schools that they go to. I have told them when ever there is such things taking place that they should go and report them because no child should have to endure such things. My children have seen a lot and have been exposed to kids of all colors and all disabilities. One of my children is handicapped. She has cerebral palsy and she gets things told to her about not being able to do what other children do. I have gone to the extremes with it and thank god I have helped her to have a somewhat normal life. I had to go to the police, school board, and child welfare and said that if they did not protect my child from all this hatred that I would have to take action against them. Not the child that is doing it because as long as you do not go after the big boys than you are wasting your time.

I am only 34 and never ever would have dreamed in my life that I would see the day when the schools would have to have a policeman at every school. I feel that at the rate it is going we will need more than one policeman at the schools. With all the hate crimes that are happening. The parents of these kids do not care if they are doing it. They actually keep from even admitting that it takes place. They do not teach them any moral or proper way to act in this world. When I go to school for parent teacher conferences I am amazed because the teachers ask me why my children will say yes mam and no mam or yes sir and no sir. I tell them that they are brought up with it and know that there will be punishment if they do not respect their elders. They have never ever called any one a nigger because they have been brought up to know all kinds of races and that they are equal.

I feel that this has a lot to do with the parents not taking part in the child's life. To be able to know what your child is capable of you must spend time with them and learn what they feel about such things. I know that I give my kids a story and ask what they think about it. Never ever have they said they would punch, call a person names, or anything along those lines. I read the story about the hate crimes and I feel that it is a shame that the school and the local police must have done a poor job. I am a handicapped mother and have a daughter who is handicapped and my children learned a lot about feelings and how not to judge people by color, intelligence, or for what there handicapped can't do. I have taught them to love people and help those that they can. Hopefully this will encourage others to follow.

Handicapped Mother


Could it be that evolution being taught as if it were to gospel truth could have an effect on hate crimes and racism. Believe it or not the fact that we place so much emphasis on evolution in our school and all over the USA misleads and misguides children to the facts. You might be wondering what does this have to do with a young girl being called a nigger. Allow me to share only a small amount of the philosophy behind evolution. Early on evolutionists taught that their are some men or races that are low on the evolutionary process. Blacks and Aborigine's were considered lower forms in the evolutionary process. Of course I don't believe that evolution is the reason behind all hate crimes and racism, but tossing Biblical views of creation and other morals out of the class room has lowered standards everywhere throughout the years. We tend to teach and usurp our nation with evolution as if it were fact and science, but in reality it is only a theory. A theory, in fact, that has more holes than any shred of truth.

What if throughout the years creation was also taught the way it should be; with all the fervor that evolution is. What if people were taught that man is created equally? What if moral absolutes were taught as instructed by the scriptures? What if we looked scientifically at creation to see how much of it is true. Scientifically, evolution would be tossed out of the text books tomorrow.

Possible not the answer or dialogue you were looking for but possibly more of a solution to the problem than we realize. What is also sad is the reaction and lack of punishment that appears to be coming from the parents. Sounds like there bailing him out instead of allowing him to face the punishment. It appears that these days there is more protection for the perpetrator than the victim.


After reading the article, and some of the responses people made, I would like to make a statement. One person said that if the same thing had happened to a white kid it wouldn't have gotten publicity, wouldn't have been taken seriously, etc. Well, that has a simple explanation. Being called a "honkey" or a "redneck" may upset you, but it probably does not have quite the same effect as being called a "nigger". The n-word causes a deeper pain. Fear, cruelty, anger, sadness, and more comes along with it. And being threatened with a noose is much more frightening when you take into account the past horrific lynchings. It's not only this one action that causes the fear this girl felt, but also the memories, if not hers than of parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents, that it dredges up. Everytime you hear the word "nigger", it is a reminder of the past.



I thank you all for your comments. We will be updating this story as it unwinds. Please continue to add your comments and suggestions. - Dan Eden.

Viewzone | Original Hate Crime Story | --final word--> || Body Mind Spirit