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Hate Crimes

Satisfactory Essays
"...Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." These powerful words were uttered by Martin Luther King in the midst of the racial unrest in the 1960's. During this time period many people of the black race were affected with discrimination of all sorts. Now- a -days, crimes once driven solely by hatred for one's race now stem from opposition to one's religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. These crimes known as "hate crimes" can be prevented. Solving this problem is not impossible, but something that can unite us as a country.

The dictionary defines a hate crime as "any of various crimes... when motivated by hostility to the victim as a member of a group (as one based on color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation)." It can be difficult to distinguish a hate crime from other crimes. Usually, a hate crime is detected by a background investigation of the accused person or eyewitness reports of the crime. In some cases, circumstantial evidence shows the intent of the accused.

For example, journals or records might describe the hatred and contain plans for crimes to be committed against the targeted group. In other cases, classification of a hate crime is by the judgment of law enforcement and prosecutors. The FBI quotes a statement by the American Psychological Association about hate crime: "...not only is it an attack on one's physical self, but is also an attack on one's very identity." Attacks upon individuals because of a difference in how they look, pray or behave have long been a part of human history. It is only recently, however, that our society has given it a name and decided to monitor it, study it and legislate against it."

As stated on www.religioustolerance.org, a study of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults showed that 41% reported being a victim of a hate crime after the age of 16. Assuming that 5% of all adults are homosexual or bisexual, this would mean that about six million of them had been victimized during their lifetime out of a total group population on the order of 15 million Americans. However, only about 1,200 hate crimes were actually recorded by police per year. One is forced to conclude that almost no hate crimes are reported to the police by gays and lesbians. These statistics are horrifying and show that this problem is immensely wide spread.
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