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Hate crimes.

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Hate crimes are like messages to members of a certain group that they are unwelcome in a particular neighborhood, community, school, or workplace. Hate crimes are criminal offenses, usually involving violence, intimidation or vandalism, in which the victim is targeted because of race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, sex or political affiliation. Hate crimes can occur at home, at school, at places of worship, at work, on the street - virtually anywhere. A hate crime has many victims as it not only victimizes the immediate victim, but also impacts the larger community by creating fear and insecurity among all members of the group that the victim represents. ...read more.


In 1996, 60%, were promulgated because of race, with close to two-thirds (62%) targeting African Americans. Furthermore, the type of crime committed against this group has not changed much since the 19th century; it still includes bombing and vandalizing churches, burning crosses on home lawns, and murder. Ethnic minorities often become targets of hate crimes because they are perceived to be new to the country even if their families have been here for generations, or simply because they are seen as different from the mainstream population. The most socially acceptable, and probably the most widespread, form of hate crime among teenagers and young adults are those targeting at sexual minorities. ...read more.


In Texas, James Byrd Jr., a black man, was beaten and then dragged to his death behind a pickup truck. Matthew Shepard, a gay college student from Wyoming, was beaten unconscious and then strapped to a fence and left to die. Finally, Billy Jack Gaither, a gay man from Alabama, was beaten to death and then thrown on a pile of burning tires. These horrible crimes gripped the nation and created a public outcry to lawmakers to create a federal legislation to combat this social problem. Hate crimes leave deep scars not only on the victims, but also 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. . ...read more.

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