Richard Cohen tells the story of Nicolas Morse, who is being prosecuted in New York City for a hate crime because he used racial epithets while he participated in a group attack on a black man. That it was a crime there is no doubt--but what makes it a "hate crime"? Morse himself, as Cohen points out, is half Filipino, and his sister is half black; its hard to believe that hes a bigot. Yet this is inevitably the road that we find ourselves traveling once we start punishing people for their thoughts, rather than their actions.
Incidentally, its difficult to argue in this case that the elimination of hate crime laws serves the interest of white males. Cohen writes:
As if to show how absurd the hate crime law can be, Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro last month charged a deranged and homeless black man with a hate crime for killing a white woman only on account of her race.