Hate Crimes in America Essay

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Hate Crimes in America

Hate crime is not a new phenomenon. Hate crimes have been prevalent in society for as far back as one can document it. In the United States alone, racial and religious biases have persisted for centuries. Even from the time that the first settlers landed in America, hate crimes have existed. The westward-moving English settlers were perpetrators of hate crime against the Native Americans. The Know Nothing Party in the 1850s held extreme anti-Catholic sentiments. Some whites, later in history, took part in bloody dealings and lynching of African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan performed cross burnings to intimidate the African Americans and other religious affiliations that it had biases of hatred towards.
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“A bias motivated offense can cause a broad ripple of discomfiture among members of a targeted group, and violent hate crime can act like a virus quickly spreading feelings of terror and loathing across an entire community.”

In a radio address to the nation on June 7, 1997, President Bill Clinton said, “hate crimes…leave deep scars not only on the victims, but on our larger community. They weaken the sense that we are one people with common values and a common future. They tear us apart when we should be moving closer together. They are acts of violence against America itself.”

In recent studies performed under the supervision of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, results have shown that the majority of hate crime offenders are young white males (5). A majority of the crimes that they take part in are motivated toward a person of another race. Studies have shown that most hate crime is performed by individual citizens rather than by organized hate groups. Most of these citizens are believers of racial and ethnic stereotypes and act on spur-of- the-moment impulses (x). Although these perpetrators are not members of an organized hate group, almost half confessed to joining a bias-motivated confrontation (21). The American Psychological Association’s research finds that “most hate crimes

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