Everyone has been talking about the four young black people who filmed themselves kidnapping and then abusing a young white disabled man. They say it's a hate crime, but they can't agree on who it's against. Some people say it's against white people, because that's what the video implies. Others are saying it's an anti-disability hate crime, because the young people chose a disabled man as their victim.
How about this perspective: It's both. The term "intersectionality" has been big lately, and that's exactly what this is. A disabled man is more vulnerable to bullying; the cruel people of the world naturally choose him when they hate white people and he happens to be white. It's both.
I do research on anti-disability hate crimes, and I see it a lot. This is the first time it's been "disabled and white". White people are in the majority and tend to have more power, socially, so being white is a little bit protective if you're disabled. Usually, it's "disabled and Muslim", "disabled and black", "disabled and gay", "disabled and young", "disabled and old", "disabled and poor". Sometimes one thing is primary; sometimes it's the other.White people may not often be targeted for hate crimes, but they're not immune--especially if they are also in some other less-privileged category, like being disabled. Take this as a call to protect every human being, regardless of the social categories they may belong to. Some categories are more dangerous to be in than others; some people are more vulnerable than others. But even when a powerful group like white people is targeted, it's still wrong.
Maybe this incident will shake awake a few white people who still think hate crimes aren't their problem because they don't participate in them. But they are everybody's problem, white or black, disabled or non-disabled, civilian or cop, child or elder.
Do you need an us-versus-them structure? All right; it's human nature, so I'll give you one. When you see this, don't think "it's black against white", because it isn't. It's "decent people against bigots". You decent people out there--protect your neighbors, your friends, your family. Look out for total strangers if you have to, if they need you. Join together against the people who have given in to hate. Help those who are vulnerable find armor to keep them safe, whether that's practical support like food or shelter, or whether it's social support and morale improvement to keep them from becoming discouraged. Use your hands, your money, your voice, and your vote. Find those bigots who are ignorant and can be educated, who can learn better, and recruit them to help, too. Refuse to hate, no matter how much hate is around you.
There are a lot more decent people out there than bigots; we already outnumber them. We just need to stop being shy about it and start drawing a line in the sand: "If you want to hurt any of us, you're going to have to deal with all of us."