Hate Crimes care awful and yet they happen every day. The thought that a hate crimes can happen anytime anywhere is not something that crosses everyone’s mind daily. Within this essay we will cover the typical individual who commits hate crimes, who the targets or victims of hate crimes are, what the causes and effects of hate crimes are, and what actions can be taken to minimize the amount and occurrence of hate crimes. Unfortunately hate crimes have been a part of the United States, prior to the United States being named.
They are a part of our history as Americans, though it is not good history, it is still there. “A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability. ” (USLegal, 2011) According to statistics a large majority of hate crime offenders are white, young adult, males. This is only statistically speaking though, hates crime offenders can be anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Though this seems a scary thought that is how things are. There is no perfect profile for an individual that commits hate crimes, any individual has the potential to do it, and it just depends on the individual and whether they put their thoughts into motion. It can be as simple as someone harassing or getting into a fight with another person because they do not agree with their religion, or it can be as horrendous as a person murdering someone because of their sexuality or race.
The targets of hate crimes can be anyone. Individuals that commit hate crimes, commit them because they do not like a person’s religion, race, sexuality preference, ethnicity, or even physical or mental disability. A majority of time we hear cases on the news that refer to hate crimes caused by race, sexual orientation, and religion. For example not too long ago the news was riddled with the case of Anthony Hill a thirty year old black male that was shot and dragged behind a truck for 10 miles, by a white male. Hill had a single gunshot wound to the head, his body was nearly nude and a rope was around his neck and upper torso, Foster said. ” (Watts & DiGiacomo, 2010) A more recent case of hate crime occurred in Baltimore, Maryland. “Two female suspects are facing hate crime charges in the case of an attack on a transgender woman at a Maryland McDonald’s last month, the office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore County said Monday. ” (staff, 2011) These examples conclude that victims can be anyone, anywhere. The causes of hate crime can stem form a variety of different things.
First is our fear of the unknown. A majority of hate crimes stem from the unknown, and not understanding the other individual, regardless of whether it is race, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, or even mental and physical disability. Another cause is also the media, when a terrorist attack happens, almost immediately, the ethnic group or race that committed the crime is held responsible in the eyes of many individuals. Even if they were born in America, they are still often subject to ridicule and hate crimes.
The effects of hate crimes has a lot of individuals scared, if they fear being subjected to a hate crime they will hide or become a recluse. There are often times when a gay person will marry a person of the opposite sex just to be accepted around others, or to keep from having to come out. Hate crimes cause a lot of unneeded fear in Americans and other individuals from other countries. Actions that we can take to minimize hate crime occurrences are, first to teach our children at a young age about different cultures, religions, ethnic groups, and teach them that it is ok to be different.
Open knowledge about these differences should be held in high regard. Hate crime committers that change their ways often speak of being the way they were because they feared the unknown, they did not see a person, and all they saw was the difference. Another way to reduce hate crimes would be to openly speak out about them as much as possible, even the smallest of the small crimes should be heard. That way everyone will begin to see it is still a large problem and not something that has died away with time.