Why are we letting people who are against hate crime legislation say foolish statements like, "a crime is a crime?"
The question needs to be posed of would you say that a terrorist attack/plot shouldn't be classified in a different circumstance? That if the government catches a terrorist in the attempt to use a fire bomb that they be only convicted with arson? Of course, not!
The reason that there is hate crime laws is that physical/verbal threats to another person based on their race/culture/ethnicity isn't just an attack on the individual. It's sole purpose is to create fear with the targeted group at large, which coincides with the goals that terrorism strives.
Racism is terrorism lite; there is very little difference in their means and ultimate end, to leave the victim confused, fearful and withdrawn.