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Encyclopedia > Hate crime
A Jewish cemetery in France after being defaced by Neo-Nazis.
A Jewish cemetery in France after being defaced by Neo-Nazis.

Hate crimes are crimes (such as violent crime, hate speech or vandalism) that are motivated by feelings of hostility against any identifiable group of people within a society. If systematic, rather than spontaneous, instigators of such crimes are sometimes organized into hate groups. Image File history File links FrenchCemetery103004-01. ... Image File history File links FrenchCemetery103004-01. ... Jews (Hebrew: יהודים, Yehudim) are followers of Judaism or, more generally, members of the Jewish people (also known as the Jewish nation, or the Children of Israel), an ethno-religious group descended from the ancient Israelites and converts who joined their religion. ... The terms Neo-Nazism and Neo-Fascism refer to any social or political movement to revive Nazism or Fascism, respectively, and postdates the Second World War. ... A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens violent force upon the victim. ... Hate speech is a controversial term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a group of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. ... A caricature of Gustave Courbet taking down a Morris column, published by Le Père Duchêne illustré magazine Vandalism is the conspicuous defacement or destruction of a structure or symbol against the will of the owner/governing body. ... An enemy or foe is a relativist term for an entity that is seen as forcefully adverse or threatening. ... A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates hate, hostility or violence towards a group of people or some organization upon spurious grounds, despite a wider consensus that these people are not necessarily better or worse than any others. ...


In the United States

The U.S. Congress defined in 1992 a hate crime as a crime in which "the defendant's conduct was motivated by hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity of another individual or group of individuals" (HR 4797). In 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act added disabilities to the above list. Congress in Joint Session. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... Hate or hatred is an emotion of intense revulsion, distaste, enmity, or antipathy for a person, thing, or phenomenon; a desire to avoid, restrict, remove, or destroy its object. ... The term race distinguishes a population of humans from other populations. ... Historical data for native populations collected by R. Biasutti prior to 1940. ... In English usage, nationality is the legal relationship between a person and a country. ... This article or section should be merged with ethnic group Ethnicity is the cultural characteristics that connect a particular group or groups of people to each other. ... The word gender describes the state of being male, female, or neither. ... Sexual orientation refers to the sex, sexes, gender or genders, to which a person is attracted and which form the focus of a persons amorous or erotic desires, fantasies, and spontaneous feelings. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994) is a piece of legislation, passed by the US Congress, which expanded Federal law in several ways. ... The term disability, as it is applied to humans, refers to any condition that impedes the completion of daily tasks using traditional methods. ...

In the last decade of the 20th century, legislation in many U.S. states has established harsher penalties for a number of crimes when they are also considered hate crimes; interestingly, however, very few of these statutes make it more likely for a murder to trigger the death penalty when it is found to have also been a hate crime. While some claim that these hate crimes laws exist because women and certain minorities have been victims and require special protection, others say that they exist because crimes motivated by hate deserve a harsher punishment. California Penal Code section 422.6 offers a wider interpretation of hate crime, defining it as those acts "committed because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. The actions considered criminal are using force or threat of force to willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of the State or country." A state of the United States (U.S. state) is any one of the fifty states, four of which officially favor the term commonwealth which, along with the District of Columbia, form the United States of America. ... Capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty, is the judicially ordered execution of a prisoner as a punishment for a serious crime, often called a capital offense or a capital crime. ... The California Penal Code forms the basis for the application of criminal law in the American state of California. ... Intimidation is the act of making others do what one wants through fear. ... Oppression is the negative outcome experienced by people targeted by the arbitrary and cruel exercise of power in a society or social group. ...

Arguments for and against hate crime laws


When it enacted the Hate Crimes Act of 2000, the New York State Legislature included legislative findings that offer a survey of the various arguments for hate crime legislation. The legislature specifically found that:

"Hate crimes do more than threaten the safety and welfare of all citizens. They inflict on victims incalculable physical and emotional damage and tear at the very fabric of free society. Crimes motivated by invidious hatred toward particular groups not only harm individual victims but send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs. Hate crimes can and do intimidate and disrupt entire communities and vitiate the civility that is essential to healthy democratic processes. In a democratic society, citizens cannot be required to approve of the beliefs and practices of others, but must never commit criminal acts on account of them. Current law does not adequately recognize the harm to public order and individual safety that hate crimes cause. Therefore, our laws must be strengthened to provide clear recognition of the gravity of hate crimes and the compelling importance of preventing their recurrence. Accordingly, the legislature finds and declares that hate crimes should be prosecuted and punished with appropriate severity."

The legislature adopted a retributivist position when it argued that crimes motivated by animosity toward another’s protected status deserve more severe punishment. The basic tenet of a retributivist outlook is that punishment should be commensurate with moral and social culpability. Proponents point out that it is not unusual to make thoughts or states of mind (mens rea) elements of a crime. For example, the distinction between first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter depends on the degree to which the killing was deliberate or premeditated. The definition of fraud requires scienter -- that the perpetrator knowingly defraud the victim. Supporters also claim that all laws are subjective, and that if society can determine that one crime deserves more punishment than another (e.g. murder vs. involuntary manslaughter) then it can also determine what motivations deserve harsher punishments. The mens rea is the Latin term for guilty mind used in the criminal law. ... Murder is both a legal and a moral term, that are not always coincident. ... Murder is both a legal and a moral term, that are not always coincident. ... This page is a candidate to be copied to Wiktionary. ... Murder is both a legal and a moral term, that are not always coincident. ... In society, punishment is the practice of imposing something unpleasant on a wrongdoer. ...

The legislature applied a utilitarian approach when it argued that hate crimes impede the democratic process and should be prosecuted in order to protect the "public order." The utilitarian perspective tends to view punishment as a means to maintain or enhance a social system that promotes the greatest overall good to the whole public. This can be done through deterrence, rehabilitation, and/or incapacitation. Here, the New York State Legislature employs more severe sentences in an effort to deter future crime and achieve the public policy goals put forth in the legislative findings. Many support hate crime laws, stating that their harsher sentences give individuals greater discouragement from committing hate crimes. Some supporters reason that one who can be moved to violence by hatred of a class of people presents a greater danger to society than one who merely hates an individual. Their position states that if normal punishments are inadequate deterrents, then additional punishments may deter crimes motivated by hate.

External links

  • Asian-Nation: Anti-Asian Racism & Hate Crimes by C.N. Le, Ph.D.
  • FBI Uniform Crime Reports, which includes hate crimes statistics.
  • Definitions, laws, legislative efforts
  • Survivor bashing - bias motivated hate crimes

News reports on recent alleged hate-crimes

  • Egypt clashes between Coptic Christians and Muslims
  • Student murder in Russia 'racist'
  • Swastika vigilantes kill foreign students to keep their city 'clean'
  • Racist graffiti at murder scene
  • Learning lessons of Lawrence case
  • Murder 'proves racism exists'
  • Youth guilty of racist axe murder
  • Walker family bid to fight racism
  • Asian gang guilty of racist killing

  Results from FactBites:
FBI - Uniform Crime Reports - Hate Crime Statistics 1995 (313 words)
Crimes against persons accounted for 72 percent of hate crime offenses reported.
Intimidation was the single most frequently reported hate crime offense, accounting for 41 percent of the total.
Among the 8,433 known offenders reported to be associated with hate crime incidents, 59 percent were white, and 27 percent were fl.
  More results at FactBites »



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