July 13, 2004 6:54 AM

Another DUMB@$$ AWARD wiener

Mom Charged in Alleged Hate Crime

DUMB@$$ AWARD wiener #120: Frances Stiles

And you wonder how it is that our children learn to hate....

A mother from New Jersey is facing charges of encouraging her kids to take part in a bias crime.

She's accused of urging her children to throw pennies at Orthodox Jews.

Police say 42-year-old Frances Stiles gave the coins to her 15-year-old daughter, her daughter's friend and her 11-year-old son Thursday night as they drove through the town of Lakewood, and allegedly told them to throw them at Orthodox Jews.

A detective in an unmarked car saw the pennies flying out the window.

Stiles is charged with bias harassment.

She says she did not realize what the kids were doing in the back of her car, and that her kids didn't realize what they were doing was anti-semitic.

No, and I doubt that Ms. Stiles realized that her actions would make her eligible for a DUMB@$$ AWARD.

Of course, this might be humorous if not for the message it sends about what we are teaching our children and the small ways in which hatred is perpetuated from generation to generation.

We are a country that likes to pat ourselves on the back for out "enlightened" views and our "acceptance" of diversity. The sad reality is that there are still large segments of this country who still judge (and hate) people based on the color of their skin, their religious affiliation, or any number of other factors. You think it's fun being an American follower of Islam these days?

Perhaps we have made progress since the days of the Civil Rights Movement. People like Frances Stiles, though, are still among us, and wherever ignorance resides, hatred can't be far away.

Sometimes, a DUMB@$$ AWARD can function as a cautionary tale. It certainly ought to in this case.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on July 13, 2004 6:54 AM.

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