WHEN A racist slur was spray-painted on the home of a biracial Lunenburg High School football player last month, the reaction was predictable.
Hundreds of neighbors attended a candlelight vigil in support of 13-year-old Isaac Phillips and his family. Politicians and civic leaders expressed solidarity. The Lunenburg police — assisted by the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Worcester County DA’s office — opened an investigation. The school superintendent forfeited the football team’s remaining games and asked the Anti-Defamation League to provide educational materials for teaching tolerance. Editorials warned that “hatred and racism corrode communities,” and emphasized the need to “take a vocal stand against intolerance.”