Hate Crime Acquittal Becomes Hispanic Rallying Cry

The New York Times, 5/12/2009

Teenagers, a small town and alcohol. Tension between whites and a growing Hispanic population. Ethnic slurs, punches and kicks. A dead illegal immigrant from Mexico.

The acquittal of white Pennsylvania teenagers of all serious charges this month in the death of Luis Ramirez has become a rallying cry for justice among Hispanics who feel increasingly under attack here in America. It also has exposed difficulties in enforcing hate crime laws designed to keep minorities from becoming targets.

Civil rights groups and elected officials were planning a news conference Wednesday to urge the Justice Department to prosecute the Ramirez case after the state-court acquittals, and to renew calls for passage of a federal hate crimes bill that would expand enforcement and extend protection to gay and transgender individuals.

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Op-Ed: Demonization, Mexicans and hate crimes

San Francisco Chronicle, Edward Schumacher-Matos, 5/11/2009

mexican immigrantDemonization of Mexican and other Latino immigrants is fueling hate crimes and violence against them, and it’s time for America’s leaders and media to put a stop to it all.

The swine-flu scapegoating of Mexicans over the past two weeks by some radio and television talk show hosts reflects the abandon with which many local officials, anti-immigrant groups and even an unthinking mainstream media create popular resentments, dehumanize immigrants and provide justification for the extremists among us to act violently.

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