The Unites States of America is a multiethnic country where people of different races, cultural background, religion, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, gender, and disability live within similar social, political, and economical sittings; with the such a community setting, incidences of hate crimes occasionally occur.
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Hate crime laws commonly known as bias-motivated crimes laws are enacted in the country’s constitution with the mandate of protecting victims and punishing offenders; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)/FBI and campus security authorities have the mandate of collecting and publishing crime statistics within the country’s boundaries (Jacobs & Kimberly, 1998).
Modern era of hate-crime legislations in the United States were enacted from 1968 with federal statute, 18 U.S. 245, coming into force as one of the Civil Rights Acts.
This paper looks into elements of crime in the United States, it will evaluate targets and/or victims of hate crimes, main causes of hate crime as well as characteristics of hate crime offenders. Individuals who commit hate crimes may not be differentiated from the rest of the people however when watched closely, they have some characteristics that are similar.
Hate crime offenders are people who think or have created the perception that they have been oppressed by the system or the prevailing conditions in their country; they feel that they are suffering because of other people thus when they are coming the hate crimes, they see it as actually reacting to the situation in the effort of making them free (Guinott & Vescio, 2006).
Who are some targets and/or victims of hate crimes?
Hate crime victims cannot be fully said to be against a certain groups or ethnicity in the United States but they occur to different people regardless of their race, ethnicity, tribe or nationality.
When someone is a victim of hate crime, he or has something different than the one committing the crime; incidences that have been proved to be actions of hate crimes proves that the united states has some ethnical and tribal conflicts that when a certain ethnic community, as an individual or community, gets fed up with oppression from the other party, then the resultant is hate crime.
According to hate crime statistics of 2009 by the FBI, crimes in the United States amounted to 6604 where among the offended some characteristics were determined or known by the security body; the known number of offenders were approximately 6225. the statistics went further to classify the identified offenders as 62.4% as offenders with a white orientation, 10.2 % were regarded as people whose race, tribe or nationality could not ascertained, 18.5% were blacks, 7.3% were multiracial people and races and 0.7 were Americans with an Asian/Alaskan Native (Samaha, 2010).
What are some of the causes and effects of these crimes?
The state of the United States American hate crime can be said to have resulted from different causes; the main cause that has remained predominant in the crime scene is the role played by differences in ethnical groups, tribes and nationality of the Americans. There seems to be an unresolved friction among the different races in the United States, for example the blacks feel that they are not getting descent job because of their color and the whites are favored by the same. On the other hand the white feel that the black has come to flood the labor market making their chances of getting jobs low and when they get the jobs they are paid low salaries as supply for labor is high than the demand.
The above two forms of reasoning shows how tension grows among the people and the resultants is likely to be hate crimes among them.
Another factor that brings forth hate crime issues is economic, political, and social environments that the Americans have been exposed to; in current hard economic times, it is continually becoming a challenge for the Americans to meet their financial obligations when they fall due.
The hard economic situation makes them easy to anger and chances that they will cause hate crimes are high; when someone is oppressed by the prevailing condition, he is likely to blame his or her shortcomings to people of the other race, ethnicity, or nationality.
Among different individuals, personal attributes personalities and predispositions as well as psychological stability might make them cause hate crimes intentionally or out of anger, stress or depression. Such occurrences happen without there being forethought but come as a reaction to certain oppression or perceived stress.
During elections, there are high chances that people are divided in the lines of their race, nationality, and ethnic background. When such cases occur, there are always high chances that hate crime will result.
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Hate crimes has negative effects on both the victims and the offender; the victim feels he or she has been discriminated and thus builds the grudge in his heart; when grudge builds, races and ethnics backgrounds are likely to form groupings to appeal against oppression from others; this is one of the main cause of ethnic conflicts. When an offender has been prosecuted for committing a hate crime, the consequences in the form of penalties, and imprisonments have die consequences to the accused (Henry & Pratto, 2010).
What actions can be taken to minimize the occurrence of hate crimes?
One of the challenge that the United States government faces id to enact policies and strategies to minimize and probably fully control the situation of hate crime within their boundaries. To effectively do this, the country has come up with projects legal, social, and political to solve the building tension in the economy.
One of the most advocated actions that peace advocators and some politicians have is to persuade people to live in peaces as well as respect themselves. There is much advocacy for people to respect humanity and keep their differences aside in the efforts of economic and social development of the country.
The main challenge that the approach seems to have brought is enlightenment of some people that they actually are different from others and that is why they are advised to treat others well. With such a created notion, when ethnical tensions or chances of hate crime emerge, they are quick to reconnect with their people and fight other groupings (Altschiller, 2005).
The United States legal fraternity has a role to play in prevention and minimization of hate crimes in the community. Legislations that deal with the best way to handle cases of hate crime should strengthen and enlarged to cover all crimes likely to be classified under hate crimes. When someone has been accused and prove guilty of committing a hate crime, punishment should be heavy enough that it will deter the reoccurrence of such crime and warn communities.
Altschiller, D. (2005). Hate crimes: a reference handbook. Contemporary world issue. New York: ABC-CLIO.
Guinote, A. & Vescio, K.(2006) . The Social Psychology of Power. New Jersey: Guilford Press.
Henry, J. & Pratto, F. (2010). Power and Racism. New York: Wiley.
Jacobs, J. & Kimberly, P. (1998). Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Samaha, J. (2010). Criminal justice .New York: Cengage Learning.