Essay on Hate Crime Laws

1959 Words 8 Pages
On June 7, 1998, 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. of Texas accepted a ride from three white men, who then beat him severely, urinated on him, chained him by his ankles to the back of their pick-up truck, dragged him for three miles into the countryside, and dumped his corpse in front of an African-American cemetery (Graczyk). A little over a year later, a jury sentenced ring leader John King to death by lethal injection (“Man Executed for Dragging Death of James Byrd”). While this particular case may give the appearance that perpetrators of hate crimes receive appropriate punishment, almost a decade later, one particular case demonstrates the inequity in the application of hate crime punishments: In 2007, Sean Kennedy of Charleston, South …show more content…
In 2009, 6,604 hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI, 48.8% of which were motivated by race, 19.7% by religious prejudice, 18.5%by sexual orientation, 11.8% by ethnicity, and 1.5% by disability bias (Hate Crime Statistics, 2009). Recently, the FBI released the 2010 statistics that unfortunately reveal a slight increase in the number of hate crime incidents: 6,628 incidents were reported in 2010, 47.3% of which were motivated by race, 20% by religious prejudice, 19.3% by sexual orientation, 12.8% by ethnicity, and .6% by disability bias (Hate Crime Statistics, 2010). While racially-motivated and disability-motivated crimes appear to have decreased, hate crime motivated by religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicity has risen in the last year. Improvements in hate crime laws and punishments are necessary in order for these statistics to decrease.

The pie charts above illustrate how the hate crime laws are not making a difference. Hate crime incidents went up from 6,604 to 6,628 in only a year. Hate crimes against ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion prejudice went up while hate crimes against race and disability went down.
The hate crime legislations in the United States need to clearly define and identify hate crimes. Title 18 of the United States Code allows prosecutors to prosecute anyone who intentionally injures, intimidate, interferes with someone else, or attempts to do so, by force because of a person’s race, color, religions, or…

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