Throughout U.S history, hate crimes have been known as a crime that someone is motivated to commit based on their bias. For instance, some are based on a person’s race, gender, religion or ethnic background. Although the United States has passed laws to lower the numbers of crimes committed each year and to stop them, hate crimes is still an issue in the system today.
In the past, hate crimes emerged all over the world, not only in the United States during the late 1970’s, many crimes were motivated by race this was due to the fact that many African Americans were still being treated as second class citizens, and being discriminated against their society. It was not only African Americans who faced these problems, but many other races were having hate crimes perpetrated towards them. Therefore, the number of crimes committed by hatred were shown on a survey by the FBI, the number of hate crimes each year has increased since the attack on the twin towers. For instance, “in 2016 statistics by the FBI, 57.5 percent were motivated by race and ancestry bias, 21.0 percent were motivated by religious bias, and 17.7 by sexual orientation. The number of hate crimes based on race was the highest crime, at 57.5%, by 2018 race based crimes increased by 2.1% (“Hate Crime Statistics” 2019)”. Even though, hate crimes were committed before the 9/11, there was not much attention towards hate crimes until after that day, but the U.S. was not the only during this period dealing with these types of crimes in the system. In fact, Australia had passed a numerous amount of laws to stop people from committing violent crimes. The country banned anyone from inciting hatred toward a particular racial, ethnic and religious group, however they also relyed on existing discrimination laws (Jenness 2018).
As a result of hate crimes occurring in our country, the United States created punishment under criminal laws hoping it would reduce the number of crimes throughout the nation. “Criminal law, regulates the apprehension, charging and trial of suspected persons, and fixes penalties and modes of treatment applicable to convicted offenders (Jescheck & Norton 2019)”. This caused many Americans to argue that hate crimes are different from other types of violent crimes, because they threaten the safety of a group of people. Not long after, the United States began passing laws and penalties for bias motivated crimes throughout the U.S. challenging the constitution. Moreover, they are a numerous number of laws meant to help prevent crimes being committed against a group of people. For example, the first law enacted by President Lyndon Johnson was, “The Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights and Criminal Interference with Right to Fair Housing,” it a crime to use, or threatened to use force to interfere with housing rights because of the victim’s race, color, religion, sec or national origin. “Conspiracy Against Rights, 18 U.S.C. & 241, this law makes it unconstitutional for more than one person to conspire to injure, threaten or intimidate a person in any state (Hate Crime Laws)”. In addition to this law, there is “Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights” this law enforces that threatening to force to willful interfere with a person’s participation in a federal protected activity due to a person’s race, color or religion. “Damage to Religious Property, Church Arson Prevention Act, prohibits the intentional defacement, damage, or destruction of religious property because of the religious nature of the property, where crimes are being committed because of race, color, and ethnic character of the people associated with the property (Hate Crime Laws)”. Following this law, is the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” which was signed in 2009 by the United States former President Obama, it expanded hate crimes into violent crimes that were motivated by disability, gender, and sexual orientation (“Hate Crime Laws”). By extension, the act makes it a federal crime to injure anyone using a dangerous weapon, such as a gun, due to their race, color, or religion.
Even though, the United States Government has passed a variety of laws in order to stop the number of hate crimes from being committed against citizens of America. The number of hate crimes in America have increased in 2019 since 2018, for instance in “2018 there were four thousand and forty seven crimes committed based on Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry, one thousand four hundred and nineteen for religion, one thousand one hundred ninety six on sexual orientation and forty seven based on gender (Hate Crime Statistics)”. Some recent examples of hate crimes, October 17, 2018, a man in Texas burned down the Victoria Islamic Center he committed a hate crime based on the groups religious beliefs. Following this was a religious and national origin hate crime, on January 25, 2019 Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright, and Patrick Stein were arrested for conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in order to violate the housing rights act. These men intended to blow up the apartment of a Somali Muslim immigrant who lived in that apartment. On January 29, 2019, in Pennsylvania Robert Bowers was charged with 44 federal courts, as he committed a hate crime based on one’s religion.
The shooting occurred on October 27, Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue with a numerous amount of firepower, ultimately killing eleven worshippers, and injuring two other members of the congregations and five law enforcement officers. The next crime committed was on March 27, 2019 in Virginia, this crime was based on race, color and national origin of a person. James Alex Fields, participated in a white nationalist rally held in Charlotttesvill, James admitted that he drove into downtown where a racially and ethnically diverse crowd had gathered, and in addition to these actions he had expressed his opinon on social media about white supremacist views. On March 28, 2019 in Dallas a man plead guilty to kidnapping men because of their sexual orientation, Atkinson used social media to place gay men in areas where robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping were happening. He also withdrawed money form his victims accounts and witnessed the assualt of a victim who was called gay. Atkinson committed a variety of hate crimes all because of the sexual orientation men would identify as.
As seen above many of the crimes were committed based on race, sexual orientation, and religion however on October 31, 2019 a Louisiana family members were sentenced for violating the civil rights of women with disabilities. Terry Knope, Raylaine Knope, Bridget Knope, and Jody Lambert violated the federal housing rights of women with disabilities, and obtaining forced labor, the family displayed the crimes through force, threats of force, physical restraint, verbal and psychological abuse. These four human beings placed the victim in a backyard cage, forcing her to perform housework for food and water, while they kept the federal disability benefits for themselves. “The last recent case happened in Mississippi on November 7, 2019 when a man Graham Williamson and Louie Revette, these two people lit a fire near the homes of many African-American in the Key Hills (Hate Crime Case Examples)”. The actions of these men threatened many african american lives ultimately committing a crime based on their background and race color.