In my country there are several laws which scheduled castes and tribes can avail. Its called the prevention of atrocities act. If someone assaults them or abuses them, they can go to a court and invoke these laws to get the offender punished. Needless to say the penalties under this act are harsher than what a higher caste Brahmin or kshatriya could get if the offense was committed on them.
This is for historical and cultural reasons as the lower castes were oppressed for millenia by the upper castes and a certain kind of racism still exists within the country and it would be pointless for me to deny it.
So caste 'hate' crimes can only be committed by higher castes on lower castes, not higher caste on higher caste or lower caste on lower caste, or lower caste on higher caste. So put in this context I don't think what Chris Matthews says is so mystifying to be honest..
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