Hate crime is not a new phenomenon. Hate crimes have been prevalent in society for as far back as one can document it. In the United States alone, racial and religious biases have persisted for centuries. Even from the time that the first settlers landed in America, hate crimes have existed. The westward-moving English settlers were perpetrators of hate crime against the Native Americans.
The Know Nothing Party in the 1850s held extreme anti-Catholic sentiments. Some whites, later in history, took part in bloody dealings and lynching of African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan performed cross burnings to intimidate the African Americans and other religious affiliations that it had biases of hatred towards. In 1968, Congress first passed a hate crime statute during a time a frightening racial violence. This was the first step toward the hate crime statutes that our law holds today (Wessler v-3 May 2000).
This paper is intended to give a clear definition of a hate crime, according to the United States government, to provide examples and statistics of hate crime, and insight into state and federal laws pertaining to the enforcement or documentation of HATE CRIME IN AMERICA Essay.
Hate crime is defined in the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 as “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, including where appropriate the crimes of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, intimidation, arson, and destruction, damage, or vandalism of property.” The 106th Congress also stated that the “prominent characteristic of hate crime is that it devastates not just the actual victim and that victim’s family and friends, but frequently savages the community sharing the traits that caused the victim to be selected.” This last statement, according to the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance, is what differentiates a crime from a bias crime, better known as hate crime. “A bias motivated offense can cause a broad ripple of discomfiture among members of a targeted group, and violent hate crime can act like a virus quickly spreading feelings of terror and loathing across an entire community.”
In a radio address to the nation on June 7, 1997, President Bill Clinton said, “hate crimes…leave deep scars not only on the victims, but on our larger community. They weaken the sense that we are one people with common values and a common future.
They tear us apart when we should be moving closer together. They are acts of violence against America itself.”
In recent studies performed under the supervision of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, results have shown that the majority of hate crime offenders are young white males (5). A majority of the crimes that they take part in are motivated toward a person of another race. Studies have shown that most hate crime is performed by individual citizens rather than by organized hate groups. Most of these citizens are believers of racial and ethnic stereotypes and act on spur-of- the-moment impulses (x).
Although these perpetrators are not members of an organized hate group, almost half confessed to joining a bias-motivated confrontation (21). The American Psychological Association’s research finds that “most hate crimes are carried out by otherwise law-abiding young people who see little wrong with their actions.” The APA also states that in its findings, “extreme hate crime tends to be committed by people with a history of anti-social behavior.”
There have been many hate crimes occur within the past few years, some being more publicized than others. Some recent examples in today’s society of hate crimes that have caught the world’s attention are the hate crimes against the following groups or people.
On March 3, 1991 an African American man, Rodney King, was viciously beaten in the middle of a city street in broad daylight by three Los Angeles Police Officers while at least a dozen bystanders stood, watched and did nothing.
On June 7, 1998 in the small southeast Texas town of Jasper, a 49 year old black man by the name of James Byrd, Jr. was singled out because of his African American heritage, brutally beaten, tied to the back of a truck and dragged three miles to his death. The perpetrators were all members of .