john-howard

Photo: Tarrant County Jail

Two heinous crimes were committed by teens, but only one incident has provoked national outrage. The first case centers around several White football players at Dietrich High School in Dietrich, Idaho who used racial slurs to intimidate a Black teammate who was disabled. The racial intimidation eventually led to a brutal rape.

John R.K. Howard was the primary person who committed the sexual attack which occurred during the school’s football season in 2015. While in the locker room after football practice, one White football player opened his arms as if he wanted to hug the Black player. Once the Black player embraced his teammate, the White teen restrained the Black player. Howard pulled the Black teen’s pants down and inserted a coat hanger into his rectum. Another White teen, John Howard,  kicked the hanger five times pushing the hanger deeper into the Black teen’s rectum and causing severe injuries.

The White teens called the Black teenager “Kool Aid,” “Chicken Eater,” “Watermelon,” and the N-word months before he was raped. The coaches also allowed other White teens to fight and taunt the Black teen. In one incident, the Black teen was knocked unconscious by another White teen and the coaches encouraged the abuse.

The White teens would also grab the Black teen and aggressively hump him in an attempt to simulate anal sex and they once stripped him naked and took photos of him. John Howard, the apparent ring leader, once forced the boy to sing lyrics to the racist song “Notorious KKK,” while holding a Confederate flag.

However, after all of the evidence was submitted, a prosecutor in Idaho declared that the rape of the Black disabled teen was not a sex crime and was not racially motivated. Howard agreed to a plea deal and will avoid prison.

In Chicago, another brutal attack occurred, but this time it was filmed on Facebook Live and the suspects were Black. During the incident, four Black teens and young adults beat a White disabled teen and yelled, “F— Donald Trump,” and “F— White People.” The victim eventually escaped and was found by police walking with one of the suspects.

The crime made national headlines as some called for the teens to face death penalty and compared them to racist terrorist Dylan Roof.

But both assessments are misguided considering the context of hate crime and racism in America. Even when speaking in racist terms, Blacks can never fully create systematic oppression. As a result, the actions of four teens in Chicago will never measure up to a tradition of hate that has been placed on Blacks since the founding of this country.

However, the Chicago four have become the poster children of the false notion of Black racism as Howard walks free on the reality of White privilege.

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.