Many people in society have become entangled with directing their inner hatred of others into a physical reality.  No one person can voice their opinion without fear of being lashed out against in the public’s eye.  Micah Dean Hicks’ novel, Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones, is a very telling piece of literature which makes readers painfully aware of the suffering one may experience when society is determined to carry out horrific actions.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, there were 8,437 hate crime offenses reported in 2017, with a steady rise.  Out of that total, 4,832 were based on race and ethnicity, with 48.8 percent being motivated by African American bias.  The novel, Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones, showcased an African American family who were never truly accepted in the town of Swine Hill, so they were easily subjected to hate crimes because of their socialization with the pig people, who represented an “other” in the text.  

Just as Jane and her family were assaulted, others within the natural world must defend themselves against hate offenses. According to HuffPost, a young 20-year-old man named Deandre Harris was beaten in Charlottesville, Virginia with metal poles while attending a “Unite the Right Rally”, concerning the removal of a confederate statue on campus.   His attackers were 18-year-old Daniel Patrick Borden and 33-year-old Alex Michael Ramos.  The beating took place in the parking lot and resulted in a broken wrist, chipped tooth, and the young man had to get staples to close the wound on his head.   Mr. Deandre, the victim, had a difference of opinion that segregated him from his attackers.  This coincided to the bathroom scene when Henry had his nose sliced while on school property for going against the town and befriending the enemy, the hog people. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hate offenses such as this, directed at individuals, make up 78.3 percent of all hate crimes.  Even in a crowd of people, neither Deandre nor Henry were safe.

The novel also opened historical implements of remembrance of the Ku Klux Klan’s actions against African Americans that are still seen today.  At the same rally, an imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Richard Wilson Preston, purposely shot at an African American male and missed.  His charge… shooting a gun within 1,000 feet of a school, nothing else!  Why didn’t the charge fit the crime of attempted murder??   This rage was also seen in the townspeople of Swine Hill who had a burning hatred within them that was multiplied by the ghosts that inhabited them.  Not only were the ghosts feeding their desire for blood, the townspeople had a pact mentality that replicated  the Ku Klux Klan who represented their confederate dead by wearing white costumes and  were merciless in the hunt for their “other”.  Jane and Henry’s family experienced terror inflicted by the townspeople in many ways from vandalism, Henry’s attack, and the family had to run for their lives during a mob attack. According to the FBI, 27.6 percent of people who are victims of hate crimes had their property vandalized and 11.7 percent account for aggravated assault. Sadly, many hate crimes go unreported, so therefore, the reality of the extent of hate crimes is not recognized.

Arkansas has been one of a few states without a hate crime law, however this year, 2019, one is being introduced.

Do you think if more states would adopt a hate crime law that it would affect a person’s actions against those he or she consider an “other”?  Why or why not?

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