Recently, there was a lot of arguing going on at Los Angeles talk radio stations about a crime in Long Beach, CA that happened last October, where a gang of thirty youths severely beat three girls. One girl was so battered that she had multiple fractures and required surgery to reposition one of her eyes. The gang consisted of black boys and girls. The victims were all white. The victims were tormented about their “whiteness,” so when the perpetrators were caught, they were charged with an additional hate crime. This caused a big turmoil as some questioned whether blacks could ever be charged with a hate crime against whites. As one commenter in the Huffington Post recently said after an article on this subject:

The fact is that black people in the U.S. represent a distinct minority with a unique history of having been brought here as slaves, against their will. They cannot “pass” into the majority population because of skin color. And they continue to be the objects of constant and often violent racism directed at them by the majority. They are also, in large numbers, segregated into separate housing, schools, places of work, and jobs within any particular business.

Is it fair to say that a violent act against a black person, motivated by race, is equal to a violent act against a white person, motivated by race? No, actually, it’s not at all fair. There is a long history of majority white violence against black people in this country publicly represented by the Klan, but privately supported by millions of white citizens. The effect of that racism is to continue to brutally enforce patterns of racism and segregation.

These three women were beaten to a pulp because they were white. Hate crime laws are on the books. So, what gives? For some, ideological distinctions are more important than justice. Isn’t it time to move to a new level in racial relations where the aim is to protect anyone from being victimized? If we want to have “hate crime” laws, we should at least use them to help all victims. Of course, as in many of these racially-tinged trials, the biggest losers were the three victims. The defendants were given amazingly light sentences.

Four of nine black teenagers convicted in the racially charged beating of three white women on Halloween were sentenced to probation Friday.

Punishment could have ranged up to confinement in a California Youth Authority lockup until age 25. The teens were ordered to serve 250 hours of community service, 60 days house arrest, and take anger management and racial tolerance programs.

Some saw this as a victory for the African-American community. And why is that? The fact remains that these three girls were beaten up by a gang of young criminals, and scarred for life, both emotionally and physically. The criminals will just go back to their community and continue to terrorize innocent people in their own community.

Until college, I attended public school in Queens. I received a pretty good education, mostly because I was shoved into special advanced classes. Sadly, much of the school lived on in chaos. As in any large urban school, there were gangs of kids who would steal your lunch money or worse. In my school, these kids were mostly black. Now that I’m far away in suburban Redondo Beach, it’s easy to remember these poor youths as underprivileged, but at the time, when you heard the term “F**k you, whitey,” you just wondered if you could run as fast as the “Six Million Dollar Man.”

Still, even in the middle of these crime sprees, I never visualized it as a black vs. white issue. These bad kids were black mostly because the school had a large black population of students. There were plenty of smart black kids in our advanced class, and they were picked on as much as the white kids, if not more. In fact, after school, my Jewish friends and I walked one way home, to the “better” neighborhood, while my black friends walked in the same direction as the thugs, getting beaten up twice as badly.

To me, the issue at my junior high school was the same as it was in Long Beach — a criminal element acting against innocents. End of story. I’m sorry, but forty years after Martin Luther King, race issues are beginning to jump the shark for me. Can’t we move onto talking about race in a new way?

Today, I read an article asking another very important racial question — Is Barack Obama black enough?

There are degrees of black political cred in America. Those whose ancestors lived through the harrowing years of slavery, might well take the view that a guy like Obama with a Kenyan father and a white mother hasn’t “lived” the black American experience the hard way.

As far as his professional path is concerned, Obama hasn’t risen through the ranks by taking the route well traveled by many prominent African American leaders. No service as a pastor or as an activist in the NAACP. Some in the black community see him as too fresh, too fast and too slick. A graduate of Harvard who made his own running. A guy with a foot in the white camp.

Am I supposed to care? How black SHOULD he be? This is another example of race-related talk that just seems out-dated. Hey, I grew up in Queens (birthplace of Run DMC). I went to a public school with a large black population.  I’ve been to a rap concert AND, once upon a time, owned an album by the Commodores.  If you really want street cred — I’m more black than Barack Obama.  But that doesn’t make me a better candidate?

When are we going to grow up?