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Hate Crimes This Essay Is About What Hate Crimes Are, How Often They Happen, And What We Can Do To Help Prevent Them

779 words - 3 pages

Hate CrimesA hate crime is an act of violence, a threat, harassment, or property damage motivated by bigotry and prejudice against the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of another group or individual. These acts are not only against the victim(s), but also the particular group as a whole. Hate crimes are very common and often times it is hard to tell whether or not the crime is motivated by hate. I chose this topic because I was watching a TV show call Criminal that told true stories of hate crimes. The one that got me interested was "Punks vs. Preps," there had been an ongoing feud between the two groups, which ended in a teen losing his life. This episode showed one of the many cases of hate crimes that have plagued our nation. Watching it caused me to grow curious about how often these terrible events happened, as well as, what is being done to prevent future breakouts of hate crimes.Many people assume that hate crime offenders are hate-filled Nazi's or "skinheads". But research by a clinical psychologist at the University of California shows that out of 1,459 cases in the span of a year less than 5 percent were members of a hate group (http://www.hatecrime.org). Most hate crimes are carried out by, seemingly, law-abiding young people who do not think their actions are wrong. Sometimes drugs and alcohol help initiate these crimes, but the main factor appears to be personal prejudice. Personal prejudice is what blinds a person from seeing the wrong in what they are doing. Most times this prejudice comes from an environment that sees differences as threats. The worst hate crimes are often committed by people with a history of antisocial behavior. One of these examples took place in June of 1998 in Jasper, Texas. Three men, with jail records, offered a ride to a black man with a limp. After beating him to death, they dragged him behind their truck until his body was partially dismembered (http://hatecrime.org).According to the FBI, about thirty percent of all hate crimes in 1996 were crimes against property. They involved robbing, vandalizing, destroying, stealing, and/or arson. Approximately seventy percent involve an attack against a person. This can range from simple assault (without a weapon) to aggravated assault, rape, and murder. This type of attack has two...

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