Racism Considered Key in Shooting of 5 Whites

By Price, Joyce Howard | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 3, 2000 | Go to article overview

Racism Considered Key in Shooting of 5 Whites


Price, Joyce Howard, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The FBI said yesterday it is investigating Wednesday's shootings of five white men by a black man in Wilkinsburg, Pa., as motivated by racial hatred.

"We are now looking at this case as a hate crime," FBI Special Agent Dennis Lormel said. "We have alerted the Department of Justice that we have opened a preliminary investigation into a civil rights crime."

Ronald "Dante" Taylor, a 39-year-old black man, was accused yesterday of singling out whites as targets in a shooting rampage in a Pittsburgh suburb. The gunman killed three whites and wounded two others after telling a witness he would "not hurt any black people."

"The general tenor was that he wasn't shooting anybody but whites," said Lt. John Brennan, commander of the homicide squad for the Allegheny County Police Department.

Lt. Brennan said that when police searched Mr. Taylor's home Wednesday night, they found anti-white writings.

"It was basically anti-white, anti-Jew" material, said the lieutenant, who refused to release the contents.

After an arraignment Wednesday on homicide charges, Mr. Taylor was also charged yesterday with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats, risking a catastrophe and carrying a gun without a license.

Ethnic intimidation is the state's equivalent to hate-crime charges, Lt. Brennan said in a telephone interview with The Washington Times. Mr. Taylor could face the death penalty, the lawman added.

He was returned to Allegheny County jail after failing to post bail set at $500,000.

The incident raised the issue of "reverse racism," which some say is a troubling trend that is rising. Explanations for it range from political correctness to racial profiling and the legacy of slavery. Some black officials deny black racism can exist.

"There is still plenty of black rage in America boiling away. . . . All groups are increasing their racial awareness in a negative sense," said Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., which studies hate crimes.

Some contend that "reverse racism" occurs when blacks blame any failures on racism and then channel their frustration into hatred of all whites. More-liberal observers blame such sentiments among blacks on racial profiling by police departments.

Some analysts argue that most Americans are probably not aware that blacks are committing racial hate crimes because such crimes receive scant media attention.

"The ideology of political correctness is behind" efforts by the media and others "not to call crimes blacks commit against whites `hate crimes,' " said Bill Lind, director of the Free Congress Foundation's Center for Cultural Conservatism.

"The cultural Marxism of political correctness defines blacks as victims and whites as oppressors," Mr. Lind added.

John C. White, a spokesman for the NAACP, denies "reverse racism" exists, saying, "There's no such thing. There's racism period."

In an interview with The Times, Mr. White also said, "I don't see an increase in it."

However, the NAACP official agreed the Wilkinsburg shootings "could be hate crimes," since "[the assailant] apparently did pick targets based on their race."

Other black commentators say "black racism" is impossible because only whites have any power in U.S. society.

Ronald Hampton, executive director of the National Black Police Association in the District, says black racism is an oxymoron. …

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