Hate crimes – violent acts against people, property, or organizations because of the group to which they belong or identify with – are a tragic part of the American history. Hate crimes involves criminal acts such as arson, vandalism, assault and murder. It is not necessarily that hate incidents will be criminal in nature since they are generally motivated by prejudice, but they are harmful nonetheless.
There is a growing misconception that hate offenders are typical distraught, hate-filled neo-Nazis or skinheads. The misconception goes on to advance the notion that hate offenders belong to certain organized criminal groups (Dunbar et al., 2005). Surprisingly, most hate crimes are committed by law-abiding citizens.
Reducing the rate of hate crime incidences require a multifaceted approach. Yes, stricter rules are important but as a long term measure, all stakeholders – precisely all the Americans must engage in ways that will turn around the prevailing prejudices. Stricter rules will act as restraint for future offenders but instilling the American values of inclusion and right to speech will have a more lasting effect. Americans should learn to appreciate the other people cultures and way of life. There is also the need to expose the facts so that some Americans may stop exaggerating and associating unemployment and lack of social amenities with certain groups.
Craig, K.M (2002). Examining hate-motivated aggression: A review of the social psychological literature on hate Crimes as a distinct form of aggression. Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume, Vol. (7)1, pp. 85-101
Dunbar, E. Et al. (2005). Assessment of hate crime offenders: the role of bias intent in examining violence risk. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, Vol. 5(1), pp. 1-19
Levin, J. & McDevitt, J. (2002). Hate Crimes Revisited: America’s War Against Those Who Are Different. New York: Basics books.