The Socio-Emotional Effects of Hate crimes in Communities and on Human Beings
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The Socio-Emotional Effects of Hate crimes in Communities and on Human Beings Introduction Hate crimes are criminal actions intended to harm or intimidate people because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or other minority group status. They are also referred to as bias crimes. Hate crimes have existed from the beginning of time, severely affecting communities and people without our knowledge. Since the 1980's researchers have tried to explain the social and mental effects of hate crimes on human beings as a whole. In order to eliminate these horrific acts of hate the United States needs to pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Sociology A hate crime is a crime that intentionally offends the victim on an emotional level, for the victim is picked out solely for whom he/she is. The purveyors of hate use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence, and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims, leaving them vulnerable to more attacks and feeling helpless, suspicious, and fearful. Others may become more frustrated and angry if they believe the local government and other groups in the community will not protect them. When perpetrators of hate are not prosecuted as criminals and their acts not publicly condemned, their crimes can weaken even those communities with the healthiest race relations. In 1996, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) received reports of 10,706 hate crimes from state and local law enforcement agencies, involving 11,039 victims, and 10,021 known perpetrators.
Herek observed among hate crime survivors may have resulted from a heightened sense of personal danger and vulnerability that becomes associated with their identity as a gay man or lesbian. Previous research has shown that all crime victims are likely to feel more vulnerable after their experience and to perceive the world as more dangerous, unpredictable, and hostile. The present data suggest that hate crime victims, in addition, often link this sense of vulnerability and powerlessness to their gay or lesbian identity. This association can be psychologically harmful because sexual orientation is such an important part of the self-concept. In addition, it is reasonable to expect that victims of hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, religion, or another comparable characteristic may also experience heightened psychological distress because the incident represents a serious attack on a fundamental aspect of the victim's personal identity. The effects that hate crime victims experience are due solely on the fact that each status (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) is associated with different kinds of life experiences for the individual and historical experiences for the affected community. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation appear to have more serious psychological effects on lesbians and gay men than do other crimes. Political Science The hate crimes described above in a sociological and psychological aspect shocked the nation and created a public uproar that forced lawmakers to create a federal legislation to combat these socio-emotional problems.
Lawmakers have passed legislation to encourage data collection and attach enhanced penalties to hate crimes at both state and federal levels. President Bill Clinton sponsored a White House Conference on Hate Crimes in 1997, at which he announced numerous initiatives, including his support for expanded coverage of hate crimes in federal legislation. In order for the federal government to take stand against hate crimes in the United States, the Hate Crime Prevention Act is a must. Changes in hate crime legislation, whether viewed favorably or negatively are simmering. With the passing of the Hate Crime Prevention Act, legislation and the federal government gives itself the right to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. The HCPA is the only way to guarantee equal treatment for all. Conclusion In the words of ex Vice President Al Gore, "We must send a clear and strong message to all who would commit crimes of hate: it is wrong, it is illegal, and we will catch you and punish you to the force of our laws." A crime is a crime, no matter what motivated the incident. All crimes should be punished accordingly and with the same degree whether the crime was committed because of gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other bias. Any crime committed against another human being is a hate crime. People know this is persistent and serious and causes socio-emotional affects on human beings. These violent crimes happen in communities, schools, and work places. No area is immune. The Socio-Emotional Effects of Hate crimes in Communities and on Human Beings Kelsey Brodie Kelly Champion M.S.
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