Recently, in another thread, we joked about the "I have (enter race here) friends" defense against charges of racism. I consider us all to be quite reasonable human beings, and there seems to be a consensus among those of us who've discussed the issue that such a defense is absolutely ridiculous.
Thanks to hate crime legislation, however, people are being asked to “prove” that they aren’t racist. Courtesy of CATO, here is actual testimony from a hate crime prosecution in Ohio.
SourceThe case involved an interracial altercation at a campground and here is how the prosecutor questioned the white person accused of a hate crime:
Q. And you lived next door ... for nine years and you don't even know her first name?
Q. Never had dinner with her?
Q. Never gone out and had a beer with her?
A. No. ...
Q. You don't even associate with her, do you?
A. I talk to her when I can, whenever I see her out.
Q. All these black people that you have described as your friends, I want you to give me one person, just one who was a really good friend of yours.
Aside from this ridiculousness, however, I would like to take the opportunity to state the fact that hate crime legislation is bullshit. There should not be a set of increased penalties to be applied simply because the perpetrator targeted a protected class. If all people are equal under the law, there should be no protected class.