In more not-much-has-changed news, three white Mississippi men (Deryl Dedmon, 19, John Aaron Rice, 19, and Dylan Butler, 20) pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes Thursday in connection with the 2011 beating death of James Craig Anderson, an African-American man in Jackson, the Justice Department announced.

The young men, who were with a group of friends at the time, also admitted to previous racially-charged assaults in the Jackson area. According to the Assistant Attorney General, Thomas Perez, they are the first to be prosecuted under President Obama’s new federal hate-crime statute. "The Department of Justice will vigorously pursue those who commit racially motivated assaults and will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that those who commit such acts are brought to justice," he said. "And I note that our investigation in this matter is ongoing."

What ever happened to that "post-racial" period the Obama presidency was supposed to usher in? Will America always be plagued by incidents like this?