Symbolic Interaction Theory Of Hate Crime

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A hate crime is an offense, usually violent, motivated by the prejudice of one specific status a single individual holds, i.e., sexual orientation, religion, gender, ethnicity, ect. These crimes are driven simply because of the hatred one person feels towards another. An individual is targeted because of something about themselves a single person or group of people do not approve of. Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s Civil Rights program and each year an estimated 1,200 crimes are reported, however, the number is most likely higher due to underreported cases. In 2012, an astonishing 5,796 were committed. Laws regarding these crimes vary among states. 15 states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws that include crimes …show more content…
The sociological learning theory, within the Symbolic Interaction perspective, is the view that people learn new behaviors, values, and attitudes by observing others. Dylann Roof, was a part of a white supremacy group in South Carolina who actively hated black people. He learned the behaviors and attitudes of hatred towards this specific race from his peers, he wasn’t born hating them this was a learned trait. His group held the deviant label, white supremacist, and therefore engaged in deviant behaviors. This ties in another sociological concept within the same perspective. The labeling theory “is the view of deviance according to which being labeled as a "deviant" leads a person to engage in deviant behavior” (“Labeling Theory Lesson,” 2003). Because Roof was labeled as a white supremacist he felt the need to conform and fit into his group so that he could be accepted and in turn feel a sense of belonging. To do this, he felt he had to commit an act of secondary deviance, the killing of nine black church members, to prove his loyalty, seriousness and devotion to the group. In addition, similar contrasts can be drawn to the murderer of James Craig Anderson, Deryl Dedmon. Dedmon grew up in the predominately white county of Rankin, south of the Mason Dixon line, infamous for its racism. Dedmon did not come out of the womb with a death wish for all African Americans, so he must have learned this passion from someone. As the labeling theory states, he most likely learned these attitudes from people close to him; his primary group (close friends and family). Dedmon was the leader of his groups sick and twisted hate crime towards Anderson. My conclusion is that Dedmon felt he needed to prove something to his peers. Maybe he was seeking dominance or respect because of something early

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