The Fight Against Hate Essay

The Fight Against Hate Essay

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In the summer of 1998, James Byrd Jr. was chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged for two miles along a dirt road by a group of people who were prejudice against his race. Four months later, two young men beat Matthew Shepard with a pistol and left him tied to a fence all night in near freezing weather because he was gay. These two attacks sent outrage throughout the country and inspired tougher punishments against hate crimes. (A hate crime is any crime that is committed due to a bias towards a particular group of people.) Currently, forty states and the District of Columbia have passed hate crime laws. Those laws ban any crime connected to bias based on gender, race, origin, sexual orientation, disability, or religion. Only nineteen of those states, however, have laws that include gender, twenty have laws protecting the disabled and twenty-one have sexual orientation laws. Florida has some of the toughest hate-crime laws, including: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and even the homeless are protected under hate crime laws. These laws are necessary to promote equality because they affect people on a different level, they enforce laws that are not committed under regular circumstances, and adds a protection against anyone who can be discriminated against. James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard were killed on account of prejudice toward one of their traits. These laws are necessary to protect citizens like them from people who actively discriminate against them and to make sure these types of crimes are seen as the brutal crimes that they are.
It’s true that the boys who murdered Matthew and James would receive the death penalty with or without hate crime laws due to how heinous the crimes were, for acts like ...


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...s On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 6 July 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

Kim, Richard. “The Truth About Hate Crime Laws.” The Nation 269.2 (1999): 20. General Reference Center Gold. Web. 7 Nov. 2010.

“Hate-Crime Laws.” Issues & Controversies On File: n pag. Issues & controversies: Facts On File News Service, 5 Jan 2001. Web. 7 Nov. 2010

Logan, Lee. "Homeless Could Be Added to Hate Crimes Law." The Miami Herald 21 Apr. 2010, Final ed., Metro & State sec.: 6B. Florida Newspapers (NewsBank). Web. 7 Nov. 2010.

“Florida Church Attacked by hate Crime.” UPL NewsTrack 27 May 2006. General Reference Center Gold. Web. 7 Nov 2010

Monroe, Sylvester. “A Burning in Alabama: The savage murder of a gay man stuns a state where hate-crime laws do not protect homosexuals.” Time 15 Mar. 1999: 47. General Reference Center Gold. Web. 7 Nov 2010.



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