Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes

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"...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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Furthermore, we now understand what hate crimes are but we do not know how they arouse. We can ask ourselves; what causes hate crimes? According to Cahro.org, the roots of hate violence are broad, but most causes come back to one element in the end: fear. This fear is most often rooted in ignorance: fear of the unknown, fear of the "other," fear of perceived competitors; all of these hold the potential to generate a violent reaction under the right conditions.
Civilrights.org states that in terms of external causes, the effort of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and other neo-Nazi organizations to preach violence against racial, religious, sexual and other minorities continue unabated today. They have hate hotlines, computer bulletin boards, hate propaganda distribution networks, youth groups, street gangs, etc. active throughout the state, pumping out a steady drone of messages designed to transform the fears of the economically distressed, the paranoid and the ignorant into violent reaction. WAR, in particular, has been adept at indoctrinating and training gangs of young skinheads to brutalize minorities and vandalize their property. These types of beliefs initiate hate crimes.
In addition, hate crimes caused by ignorance and fear can be stopped. Take Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) for example. Through the interwar period, Gandhi initiated a series of non-violent campaigns against the British authorities. At the same time he made strong efforts to unite the Indian Hindus, Muslims, and Christians and struggled for the emancipation of the ‘untouchables' in the Hindu society. Gandhi spoke for a free India devoid of British rule.
According to time.com, as Gandhi spoke out, mass non-cooperation occurred. He thought this would achieve independence in a year. Instead, it degenerated into blood rioting, and British soldiers turned their guns on a crowd in Amritsar, massacring 400 people. Also, when the independence was finally achieved after going against anything British, riots between Hindus and Muslims caused many fatalities. To stop this fighting, Gandhi reminded the nation that the Hindus and Muslims worked together to fight off the rule of the British. Hand in hand they showed the British that they deserved to own their own soil. Going against the hate crimes of the British towards the Indians, Hindus and Muslims stood as a team.
In this same way, we can prevent hate crimes in our everyday life in a non-violent manner as Gandhi did. We can stand up to the forces that are ignorant and in fear of different people. People used Gandhi's principles to fight hate crimes such as Martin Luther King, to end segregation of African Americans in the U.S. Like MLK and Gandhi we can be the resistance and fight these terrible crimes. We can end this.
All in all, hate crimes are a major problem in our society today. These people who are committing these crimes because of difference in color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, must be stopped. Our society has seen so much hatred towards groups of people and like Gandhi in his fight for the end of British rule in India, we must stand up to the force. Gandhi stopped hate crimes in his mother country and so can we. Enough is enough.
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