Hate Crime

 

What is it?

Noun, an illegal act.

A hate crime is a harmful or intimidating act, usually violent, committed against a person or group. Victims of hate crimes are targeted based on aspects of their identity, not because of something they have done.

Why should you know?

Hate crimes are usually motivated by an individual or group’s intolerance towards a person’s origin, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.

Hate crimes are often inspired and catalyzed by bigoted views. Institutionalized practices and hierarchical structures that encourage feelings of superiority or absolute truth have the capability to produce individuals or groups with strong feelings against others. Often, hate crimes are committed when someone holds strong religious or moral beliefs that oppose those of another.

Why now?

Hate crimes are, unfortunately, on the rise. Hate crimes have been occurring for years, and are most often targeted towards people of “abnormal” sexual orientation, race, or religion. The Orlando night-club shooting, for example, was a hate crime based on sexual orientation.

When public figures lower standards for acceptable behavior or discourage tolerance, people often feel as though it is acceptable to outwardly express their hatred for other groups. Violence often occurs when an individual’s disapproving beliefs are affirmed by a group or an individual in powers, and they may feel as though it is their duty to eliminate their problem by injuring or even killing an innocent victim that fits their criteria.

Since tensions between westernized countries and Middle-eastern nations have risen, Islamic fundamentalists have been stereotyped as perpetrators of hate crimes. In the United States, travel-bans and negative discourse surrounding the Islamic religion has spiked an increase in hate crimes directed towards Muslims.

 

For example:

Since Trump’s inauguration, there has been an increase in hate crimes towards Muslims.

A young man committed a hate crime when he open-fired in Pulse nightclub.

The Bowling Green Massacre wasn’t a hate crime. In fact, it wasn’t an event at all.

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