Hate Crime Essay

816 Words4 Pages
Introduction
The term hate crime became part of the American lexicon in 1985 when it was coined by United States Representatives John Conyers and Mario Biaggi. Although the term hate crime and societal interest in it are relatively recent developments, hate crime has deep historical roots. Throughout U.S. history, a significant proportion of all murders, assaults, and acts of vandalism and desecration have been fueled by hatred. As Native Americans have been described as the first hate crime victims, hate crimes have existed since the United States’ inception. Since then, members of all immigrant groups have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, and violence.
Although there are variations in definition, and certainly variations
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In addition, these laws are important in order to deter potential hate crime offenders who intentionally target members of subordinate groups. Hate crime laws are also symbolic and promote social cohesion by officially stating that victimization of people who are “different” is not accepted or tolerated in a modern society.
There have also been arguments against the formation of hate crime laws. Not all believe that hate crimes have been a significant problem in society; rather, some see it as a media-exaggerated issue—a product of a society that is highly sensitive to prejudice and discrimination. Thus, a special set of criminal laws that include hate is not warranted, and the generic criminal laws will suffice. Those who oppose hate crime laws also argue that attempting to determine motivation for an already criminal act is difficult and may pose moral problems in that the offender is being punished for a criminal act and for his or her motivation. It has also been argued that hate crime laws do not deter people from engaging in these crimes. Others argue that the disagreement over which subordinate groups to include in the hate crime laws actually causes added discrimination and marginalization. Critics state that what these laws effectively are saying is that one group is more worthy of protection and care than another. Critics also wonder why anger/hate is more punishable than other motives such as greed. Although there has been (and still is) debate

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