Once upon a time, your neighbors were people who come by your house for fun cocktail parties or stopped in unexpectedly because they needed to borrow some sugar. In many parts of America, a sense of community made people feel as though those living on their block had their backs, but in other areas, black people are consistently on high alert because they're existence makes some people violent morons from hell.
Many communities have integrated and become melting pots—of sorts—but that doesn't mean that the person living next door is happy to be sharing the area with people of color. Take, for instance, a 32-year-old man named Adam J. Doucet, a New York man who has recently been arrested for incidents involving his black neighbor.
According to acting Wayne County District Attorney Chris Bokelman, Doucet and his neighbor were involved in an argument on the road over damaged property at his home. The neighbor went into his own residence, but Doucet wasn't finished acting a fool. He broke into his neighbor's house using a crowbar and a plumber's wrench and threatened his black neighbor with racially offensive and motivated language.
As a way of getting his hateful words across, Doucet attempted to intimidate his neighbor be taking a chain and hanging it from a tree limb on his property suggesting his neighbor would be lynched.
Doucet has been charged with second-degree burglary, fourth-degree criminal mischief, and second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime. Bokelman asserted that the hate crime will be prosecuted just as any other, but he admitted that his office doesn't come across many.
“It doesn’t get enforced a lot up here," he tole the Finger Lakes Times.
It's not just "up here," in New York, where Bokelman dwells that hate crime enforcement don't see the light of day. Remember the story of white college student, 18-year-old Brianna Brochu, who was arrested after her roommate, Chennel Rowe, detailed being harassed by Rowe in a two hour long Facebook video? After she told Brochu that she was moving out, this was how Brochu responded to her friends:
“After one and half months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the son doesn’t shine, I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie," she wrote.
Rowe even said she became sick but doctors couldn't diagnose what was making her ill.
Brochu was arrested and expelled from the University of Hartford, but while there was talk of Brochu being charged with a hate crime, in the end, she was not. The prosecutors concluded that Brochu's actions weren't racially motivated, but there are thousands of others who disagree and think that she got a pass because she's a blonde teenager.
In 2017, hate crimes rose nationally as people have become big and bad about their bigotry. Some credit goes to President 45 for influencing the negativity, but whatever the cause, I hope that people who are bold enough to attack someone are also bold enough to admit in front of a judge and jury that their harassment was at least partially motivated by their victim's skin color.