Hate Crimes

mummy

Hate Crimes are defined as “a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.” These are crimes that stem from internal hatred towards a particular group and have been occurring for centuries. However the term “hate crime” wasn’t used until the 1980s due to the emergence of violent crimes against specific groups such as African-Americans by hate groups. The FBI website states that they “began investigating what we now call hate crimes as far back as World War I, when the Ku Klux Klan first attracted” their attention. They didn’t apply a term to the crimes being committed by this cloaked group, but they did acknowledge their difference from other crimes.

burning cross

Hate Crimes can range from some minor vandalism to lynching. The most famous hate crimes in America arguably occurred due racial tension between white and black people. The KKK is one of the most famous groups for committing hate crimes. They were famous for burning crosses on the lawns of black families, dragging black men out of their homes and beating them, raping black women, and lynching. They do not commit these violent crimes  anymore, or at least not in as large of groups and as often.

When the laws against hate crimes were first written in 1978 they included only homicides where the motive was due to race, religion, color, or national origin. Then in 1981 ancestry was added to the list of reasons. Alaska added creed and sex in 1982, and then disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Some states began including age, marital status, and membership in certain social  and political groups. At first many states only included major crimes as hate crimes, but in 1987 California stated all criminal offenses could be considered hate crimes. In 2009 the US government added actual or perceived gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability to the definition. It has taken many years for the federal government to develop a comprehensive definition of hate crimes, and it is still argued that it is still not good enough.

christianity

In recent years Hate Crime statistics show a general increase in the number of crimes being committed, but a decrease in the severity of the crime. Nine murders and two rapes were classified as hate crimes in 2007, but the rest of the nearly eight thousand crimes were acts of vandalism or minor assault. In that same year 17,000 murders and 90,000 rapes were reported as not being a result of hatred towards a specific social group. The severity of hate crimes has decreased significantly since the sixties when it was common to see black men being beaten or lynched, but the volume of hate crimes has only increased.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/hate_crimes  

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting statistic…”Nine murders and two rapes were classified as hate crimes in 2007, but the rest of the nearly eight thousand crimes were acts of vandalism or minor assault. In that same year 17,000 murders and 90,000 rapes were reported as not being a result of hatred towards a specific social group.” I guess the definition of rape is not enough to be considered a “hate” crime per se.
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