Re: The Shooting of Brian Beutler
In the historical period Ta-Nehisi refers to in Mississippi, the situation was a greatly magnified version of the one sealrock described. A white person could approach any black person and treat them like garbage. In my book, that only proves that the white person was, in fact, garbage, yet the black person was obligated to treat that garbage as a prince. If not, that garbage would be more likely to attack them, which he could do without fear of legal reprisal. That must have been fun for the garbage. If the garbage in question belonged to a gang, such as the Klan, he had a whole social support structure dedicated to the idea that he was a prince among men. In that gang, such acts raised his status.
Eventually, other people got sick of that situation. They smashed the Klan as a violent organization. If local police were too busy to prosecute, the Feds did it for them. No excuses were allowed. Even as attitudes towards criminals in general softened, there was no softening towards white-on-black hate crime. The program was extraordinarily successful; such hate crimes have been quite rare for a long time.
Now that a similar situation has arisen with different perpetrators, why can't we do it again? I'll wait for an answer or two before I give my opinion.