Essay On Hate Crime

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What is meant by the term “hate crime”? Discuss with reference to at least one type of hate crime, paying particular attention to the social and cultural context in which some identities become targets.

Introduction (300 words)
Every year the British Crime Survey estimates there are 260,000 incidents of hate crime (Hall, 2013). The Crown Prosecution Service perceives hate crime as encompassing physical and verbal abuse including, physical assault, damage to property, offensive graffiti and arson, threat of attack, verbal insults and harassment (Newburn, 2013). Hate crime embodies any criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victims: disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender
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Wright Mills suggests the social identity of a person must be considered as a compilation of their individual and collective identities. Leaning on theories by Erving Goffman and Anthony Giddens, Jenkins (2004) suggests that the human world can be understood as three distinct ‘orders’: the individual order which is concerned with the self; the interaction order which is concerned with relationships; and the institutional order which denotes the human world of pattern and organisation. Thus identity can be explained as a person’s conception and expression of themselves as an individual as well as their perception of wider identities such as ethnicity, religion, nationality, social class, sexuality etc. In this way, identity is both characteristic of the individual but also to the culturally identical group that has its members sharing the same cultural identity. By assigning ourselves to various social identities, it is theorised that this is the very basis of prejudice and hate crime. This identification leads people to view their social group as superior to other social groups, and since all groups form and develop in the same way conflict can emerge out of the resulting clash of social perceptions (Tajfel cited in Hall, 2013). In this way we can begin to understand how some identities become targets of hate…show more content…
As argued, exactly what is considered as hate crime is dependent on the time, the place and the people thus making it impossible to appease everyone with one single interpretation of ‘hate crime’. One thing that is clear is that the hate crime phenomenon has emerged out of a diversifying multicultural Britain, indirectly influencing groups into adopting them and us attitudes resulting in segregating communities and influencing higher levels of conflict and hate crime. Racism and its manifestation in hate crime have been a topic of sociological research and debate of great significance in the modern world. Undoubtedly, the Stephen Lawrence case and subsequent inquiry have led to profound cultural changes firmly putting society on a path progressing towards diversity acceptance. In comparison sexual orientation related hate crime is in its infancy stage in terms of research, public attitudes, and legislative changes. Since the first prosecution of a homophobic murder in the 2006 Jody Dowbrowski case, culturally we have begun to view such issues with greater importance. Commonly however, victims of both racist and homophobic hate crime must be understood as a compilation of the social and cultural context in which they have become targets. This demonstrates the acknowledgement of a holistic approach to

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