A hate crime is a crime which is perpetuated against an individual based on his or her membership to a certain group of people in the society. Hate crimes may include things like assault, murder, harassment and injuries. The grounds under which hate crimes may be committed include race, ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, political association, religion and one’s social status.
Hate crime has got its history in the times of Nazism in which many Jews were exterminated in what has been explained by many international relations analysts as the worst genocide ever. After the World War II, hate crimes continued to persist, with the United States having the greatest number of cases of reported hate crimes mostly due to its diverse culture.
The typical individual who commits hate crimes is usually motivated by prejudice and bias against a certain group of people depending on their characteristics which I have mentioned above. The individual is usually guided by innate hatred towards the victims, based on what he or she has learned or how he has been socialized to perceive the victims.
Such an individual who commits hate crimes is usually different from the victims, especially in terms of colour, race, ethnicity and religion. The person is motivated by his or her prejudicial perception of the victims to commit the crimes against them. The perpetrator is also motivated by jealousy, ill intent, malice, jeopardy and the spirit of Nazism, which makes people have the feeling of wanting to eliminate those who are different from them.
In the United States where the rates of hate crimes are high, the targets of hate crimes are the Black Americans followed by Hispanic Americans. This is because of racism, which portrays the Black Americans and Hispanic Americans as the minority. The hate crimes take the forms of violence, murder, harassment as well as discrimination in employment and leadership. In the United States, hate crimes also take the form of domestic violence mostly involving Black American woman married to husbands of the white race (Myrdal 17).
One of the key causes of hate crimes is discrimination. Most of the crimes involve elements of hatred based on ones characteristics. Prejudice is also another key cause of these crimes and it makes the perpetrators view their targets as incomplete humans, who do not deserve any space in their territory. These causes are however not based on facts, but on mere hatred without any factual basis (Foucault 43).
One effect of hate crime is a feeling of lowered self-esteem among the victims, which interferes with their psychological stability thus exposing them to the risks of suffering from mental disorders like depression. Hate crime also makes the victims vulnerable to social and political risks like discrimination based on social class and political violence which target specific groups.
Hate crimes may be reduced by integrating the education systems, so that all students would get an opportunity to study together irrespective of their socio-cultural, economic, racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds. This would enable them to learn to stay with people who are different from them from childhood.
The rationale behind this argument is that the socialization process plays a very crucial role in shaping the children’s perception of others. If the children begin to study with others who are from different backgrounds from early age, then they will learn to appreciate them instead of hating them. The gap between the rich and the poor also needs to be addressed, so as to minimise discrimination based on social class.
Foucault. Discipline and punishment: The birth of the prison. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979:43.Print.
Myrdal. An American dilemma: The Negro problem and modern democracy. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1996:17.Print.