Is the relevant question “would he have hit Al if he was white?”
I can’t say for sure what the hate crime definitions are in any given state, but if they follow the definition on the next page, then whether or not he would hit Al if he was white isn’t the question. It’s if he hit him *for* being what race/gender/sexuality/religion/etc he was, which means that, assuming “white” is a recognized race and the state’s law follows what is defined on the next page, hitting someone for being white could be a hate crime just as much as hitting them for being black could be.
It could be, but as far as I’ve understood it, only racial [it]minorities[/it] are protected classes. Whites, being a majority, are not eligible for the protection of hate crime statutes.
I don’t think that’s true at all. Every time I’ve heard it, I’ve just heard it said that things like race, religion, sex, etc. are protected classes. Not that you have to be a minority in any of these (indeed, it would invalidate many gender discrimination cases since women are in the majority!)