CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle expressed his opinion about hate crimes and race in America, as we approach Martin Luther King Day. The editorial piece, submitted to the (Rochester, NY) Democrat and Chronicle on January 7, 2017, reads:
"I read with horror the assault by four African Americans on a mentally disabled white teen in my hometown of Chicago. I agree with President Obama who called the action "despicable." All lives matter, and that assault was an attack on that principle. As I saw the faces of the defendants in Chicago plastered across the front page of every newspaper I encountered, it occurred to me that I had to do a Google search to find the name of John R. K. Howard of Dietrich, Idaho. He is a white high school student who, along with three other white students sodomized a black student with mental disabilities by shoving a coat hanger up his rectum and ramming it in and out six times causing severe physical damage. All of this was done while racial taunts were hurled at the helpless victim. This was all observed by at least a dozen white adult employees of that school who said and did nothing to stop this assault. The event that occurred in 2015 was resolved in December of 2016 when John R. K. Howard was released without any charges sustained against him. Instead of jail time, he will serve 300 hours of community service. I wonder if the African Americans involved in Chicago will be given 300 hours of community service for engaging in exactly the same kind of behavior as the white students in Idaho? If not, if they are held to a different standard of justice, then the whole issue of equal justice under the law becomes a joke. To be clear, I am not condoning or seeking mercy or showing any sympathy for the culprits in Chicago. I am just pointing out that exactly the same set of circumstances occurred in Idaho Iast year and it was resolved just last month. The only difference was that the attackers in Idaho were all white, and the victim was a mentally disabled black person. Those white attackers were never the lead story on the national news. Their pictures were not on the front page of local and national newspapers. The President of the United States was not asked to comment on that attack. When the trial is held and the verdict is announced in Chicago we will find out if there is any such thing as equal justice under the law. I do not want the attackers in Chicago to be let off the hook. I just want to know why the white teens in Idaho have been treated so differently? That is a question I hope everyone will ponder as this nation approaches Martin Luther King, Jr. Day."
Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D.
President, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School