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An Introduction To Hate Crime

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A powerpoint which explains basic issues in Bias and Hate Crime.

A powerpoint which explains basic issues in Bias and Hate Crime.


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  • 1. An Introduction to Hate Crime Hate and Bias Crimes Nature of these Crimes Important Cases Contact Hypothesis Consequences
  • 2. Shanika Williams She was happy to have found a nice house to rent in Holiday, Florida. It was in a good family neighborhood, perfect for her children, who were nine, six, and four years old. Shortly before they were to move into the house, however, someone broke in and scrawled messages on the freshly painted walls. Among the messages were “KKK” and “White Power Rules.” Although she was upset, Williams, who is African American, declared that she was determined that these acts would not send her running away (see Samolinksi, 2001).
  • 3. Trev Broudy On September 2, 2002, Trev Broudy was hugging a  friend goodbye on a quiet street in West Hollywood. Suddenly, two men began attacking them with a bat and a metal pipe. Broudy was beaten severely enough that he remained in a coma for nine days; his friend, who was able to escape into his parked car, was injured as well. An hour later in the same neighborhood, another man was beaten and suffered severe bruising. And a couple of weeks afterward, a fourth man was also attacked by two men wielding a bat and a pipe. All the victims were gay (Edds, 2002). Two men were later arrested for the beatings.
  • 4. Kenneth Luker In January 2001, Kenneth Luker and two friends  drove a backhoe and lawnmower over the grounds of two Jewish cemeteries in New Jersey, toppling and damaging numerous headstones. Luker was subsequently caught and sentenced to prison for nine months. Four months after being paroled, he again vandalized the same cemeteries, toppling forty gravestones and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage. This time, he was sentenced for up to five years.
  • 5. Hate Crimes Books and articles about hate crimes often start  with the stories of Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered in 1998, and James Byrd, Jr., the black father of three who was dragged to death behind a pickup truck in Texas that same year. Horrible as those two cases were, however, they  represent only a tiny fraction of the hate crimes that occurred in 1998; the stories of the other victims are rarely heard.
  • 6. Hate Crimes are Everywhere Hate crimes happen in small towns and large  cities. They happen in every state: north, south, east, and west. They involve everything from simple graffiti to  brutal murders. They may be called hate crimes, bias crimes,  civil rights crimes, or ethnic intimidation.
  • 7. Victims Hate crimes are crimes committed  because of the race, religion, sexual orientation, or other group membership of the victim. The precise groups that are included in  the definition of hate crime vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
  • 8. Increasing Levels of Hate Crimes? In recent decades, our society has  witnessed a significant increase in the occurrence of hate crimes. One of the main concerns related to this  unforeseen growth of hate crimes is that the brutality and nature of these crimes has intensified immensely.
  • 9. Hate crimes are frequently Attacks Over the past few years, the number of  attacks against people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin has increased at an alarming rate. The increase in anti-Semitic violence  in the 1990s is instructive of this trend.
  • 10. Benjamin Smith Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, who went on a deadly killing spree in the Midwest that targeted minorities, is one of the most recent hate- motivated criminals whose acts have prompted federal and local action. (AP Photo)
  • 11. A New Idea Although bigotry is probably as old as  humanity, the term quot;hate crimequot; is a new one, as is the idea of special treatment of these offenses. The first hate crime law was passed around  1980, and two decades later, 43 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government had all enacted some form of hate crime legislation (Anti-Defamation League [ADL], 2001). The phrase has entered the popular vernacular,  and it is used frequently by the media.
  • 12. Tracking Hate or Bias Crimes In 1980 there were a total of 489 reports of  anti-Semitic vandalism, harassment, threats, and assaults… But… It is important to note that President George  H.W. Bush signed legislation to have the FBI collect Hate Crime data through the Uniform Crime Report in 1990.
  • 13. Past Trends In 1991 there were over 1, 879 reports  of anti-Semitic violence. By 1993, the figure was well over 2,000  incidents.
  • 14. More Recent Statistics The number of Hate Crimes in 2000 were over  8,063. By 2001, the figure continued to climb to 9,720.  More recent figures are still being calculated by  the FBI and reported figures for 2002 are speculative… – in the first six months of 2002, the term hate crime appeared 940 times in major newspapers alone.
  • 15. Reporting A total of 11,987 law enforcement agencies in  49 states and the District of Columbia collectively reported 9,730 bias-motivated incidents during 2001. The majority of these were single-bias  incidents, meaning that all offenses involved in the incident resulted from the same bias motivation.
  • 16. Multiple-Bias Incidents Multiple-bias incidents  are those in which two or more offenses were committed as a result of two or more bias motivations. For 2001, participating  agencies reported 9,721 single-bias and 9 multiple-bias incidents.
  • 17. Hate Crimes Targeting Muslims In the year 2000, there were 28 hate  crimes against Muslims in the United States. One year later in 2001, there were over  500 hate crimes against Muslims! Clearly 9/11 had an impact… 
  • 18. Charting Hate Crime
  • 19. Trends and Reports Underreporting????  Since most of our figures are based on  individual reports, the Southern Poverty Law Center claims that the actual number of hate motivated attacks are actually much higher.
  • 20. Not a Separate Crime Hate crimes are not separate, distinct crimes  but rather traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias. It is, therefore, unnecessary for law  enforcement to create a new crime category in an effort to capture hate crime data. Hate crime data are collected by capturing  additional information about offenses already being reported.
  • 21. Limitations in the Study of Hate Crimes Hate crimes are violent acts against people,  property, or organizations because of the group to which they belong or identify with. The beginnings of the study of hate crimes can  only be traced back to the 1990s, so until recently there has not been a lot of information on the nature or repercussions of hate crimes.
  • 22. Federal Definition of a Hate Crime Hate crime data collected by the FBI include  criminal offenses committed against persons, property, or society that are motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual-orientation, or ethnicity/ national-origin. In addition to the offense classification and bias  identification, a hate crime report provides information about each hate crime incident including the type and number of victims, the location of the incident, the number of suspected offenders, and the suspected offender’s race.
  • 23. Recent Debates on Hate Crime Legislation See handouts from the National Gay and  Lesbian Task Force – THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ENHANCEMENT ACT: THE APPROPRIATE NEXT STEP IN FEDERAL HATE CRIMES LAW – THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ENHANCEMENT ACT: AN IMPORTANT STEP IN COMBATING HATE VIOLENCE – HATE CRIMES AGAINST GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER AMERICANS
  • 24. Ohio’s Ethnic Intimidation Law The Ohio Ethnic Intimidation Law, for example,  reads that: – (A) No person shall [commit the crime of aggravated menacing, menacing, – criminal damaging or endangering, criminal mischief or telephone harassment]. – by reason of the race, color, religion, or national origin of another person or groups of persons.
  • 25. Penalty Enhancement – (B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of ethnic intimidation. Ethnic intimidation is an offense of the next higher degree than the offense the commission of which is a necessary element of ethnic intimidation (Ohio Rev. Code Ann.-- 2927.12).
  • 26. What is Penalty Enhancement In 1981 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)  introduced model hate crime legislation, which included penalty enhancements (Anti- Defamation League, 1991). Hate crime laws utilizing penalty enhancements usually involve two components. – The first is a list of predicate offenses, which must be violated to be eligible for enhancement, e.g., an assault. – The second is that the victim must have been selected because of characteristics which match a
  • 27. Protected Statuses – Common protected statuses include race, religion, nationality, and the particular focus of this paper, sexual orientation. – There are various forms that an enhancement may take. One option involves upgrading the potential punishment for an offense one level. – Protected Status is controversial… who should be covered?
  • 28. Debates over Protected Statuses During debates in the Kentucky Legislature  in 1998 discussion ranged over ninety proposed amendments to an Omnibus Crime Measure, one of which focused on a hate crime in the bill. Republican Senator Tim Philpot, a lawyer  from Lexington, who opposed all hate crime proposals, singled out protecting individuals based on sexual orientation because “The real problem of violence in the gay community is they are hurting each
  • 29. Practical Example of P.E. Typically, an individual who commits  telephone harassment, a first degree misdemeanor in Ohio, could face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine; however, if the victim was chosen because  they were Jewish -- a protected status of ethnicity -- the offender could be punished according to the sentencing guidelines for the next highest level of offenses and thus faces a sentence ranging from 18 months to five years and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • 30. Consistency? Other options for  Penalty Enhancement may include a more arbitrary enhancement such as doubling (Vermont) or tripling (Florida) the potential sentence.
  • 31. What is a Hate Crime? Although hate crime is not a specific  form of crime; hate crimes are unique. Hate crimes are different. Recent research strongly suggests that  hate crimes reported to the police have certain characteristics that distinguish them from other types of criminal offenses.
  • 32. Characteristics of Hate Crimes 1. Severity of attack--most hate crimes are violent assaults. Nature of attack--hatred is illustrated when l force is exercised beyond what may be necessary to subdue victims, make them comply, disarm them, or take goods from them. 3/4 of all hate crime attacks involve some physical injury.
  • 33. Warning the next slide is graphic It is alright to avert your eyes…
  • 34. Hate Crimes are Vicious I show you that slide to demonstrate the  anger and hostility that accompany violent hate assaults
  • 35. Characteristics of Hate Crimes II Randomness--hate crimes appear to be  irrational crimes perpetuated at random on total strangers (85% of HC are committed by strangers) victims rarely provoke their attackers directly. Perpetuated by multiple offenders--unlike  most violent crimes, hate crimes are usually committed by groups of people.
  • 36. Dunbar Study 1996 Statistics gathered in a study conducted at the University of California in 1996 by Dr. Edward Dunbar concluded that: • 30% of hate crimes are committed against property (robbing, destroying, stealing, vandalizing, burning) • while 70% of hate crimes are committed against an individual
  • 37. Why we call them ‘Hate’ crimes These attacks on individuals have raises serious  issues because these attacks leave not only physical scars, but emotional ones as well, disrupting the victim’s entire identity. Studies have also shown that most hate crimes are  carried out by members of society who normally obey laws, and who see little wrong with their actions.
  • 38. USA is Not Alone How widespread is hatred and bias? Here are a few events featured in world news headlines: Australia has raided several homes in hopes of finding the radical Muslims  responsible for a deadly bombing in Bali. Canada has warned Canadian citizens who were born in the Middle-East to use  caution when traveling to the U.S., in case they are persecuted under new U.S. anti- terrorism laws. Explosions erupted in Soweto, South Africa, apparently caused by a right-wing  group attempting to destabilize the government. Two Islamic militants were sentenced to life in prison in France for their role in  1995 subway bombings. Leader of the Chechen rebellion was arrested in Denmark on charges he helped plan  a siege of a theater in Moscow in which 119 hostages died.
  • 39. More International Examples The Irish Republican Army broke off negotiations with an international body charged with attempting disarmament in Northern Ireland. An Israeli coalition government collapsed, endangering the possibility of peace talks with the Palestinians. White farmers who were evicted from their farms in Zimbabwe have been forbidden to take their farm equipment with them as they attempt to relocate to Zambia. Debate continues in Nigeria over whether a woman convicted of having sex outside of marriage will be stoned to death.
  • 40. The U.S. is not an Island In the 1990’s, at approximately the same time  as the United States was experiencing an increase in hate group membership and in political conservatism in general, a parallel movement was occurring in Europe. In both areas, nationalism increased  dramatically, and the radical right gained new footholds.
  • 41. Immigration Internationally and in  the United States, levels and patterns of immigration are tied to the rise of Hate and Bias Crimes See Handout for some  International trends
  • 42. Hate Crime Legislation RAV V. St. Paul  Mitchell V.  Wisconsin Debates in the courts 
  • 43. RAV v. St. Paul Seventeen-year-old Robert Anthony Viktora, who  was white, burned a cross on a black family’s front lawn. He was charged with a variety of offenses, but in  1992 (in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul) the Supreme Court found one of his convictions to be a violation of the first amendment.
  • 44. Mitchell v. Wisconsin Nineteen-year-old Todd Mitchell, who was black,  urged his friends to “go get” a fourteen-year-old white boy who happened to be walking by. The friends beat the boy badly enough to put him in  a coma. Mitchell also faced a variety of charges, but this time, only a year after Viktora’s case, the Supreme Court upheld those convictions (Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 1993).
  • 45. What’s the Difference? What distinguished Viktora’s case from Mitchell’s?  The former involved hate speech, whereas the latter involved hate crime. These terms are often used interchangeably by lay  people and the media, and the distinction may seem unimportant. In reality, however, hate crime and hate speech are  very different from legal, policy, and phenomenological standpoints.
  • 46. Thin Line between Words & Action Certainly, the outcomes  were very different for these two young men. The line between hate  speech and hate crime may sometimes be very thin, however, such as when people make general threats against others.
  • 47. Intent One of the most problematic aspects of hate  crimes is that they are the only crime that requires proof of the offender’s motive. This creates difficulties from the practical side:  Because the legal system does not employ psychics, it is hard to determine what was going through a defendant’s mind. It also creates legal difficulties. One of the  strongest arguments against hate crime laws is that they create thought crimes.
  • 48. Bias Motivation in Chicago
  • 49. Should we call them “Hate Movements?” White racial extremist movements represent arrays of groups, organizations, and individuals that utilize various means to suppress and oppress different people, groups, and organizations on the basis of race, ethnicity, political views, sexual orientation, as well as other reasons (i.e., disagreement).
  • 50. “Hate Groups” exist throughout the Country
  • 51. How Big? All semester we have wondered how many  people are in these organizations. According to various sources there are 10,000  to 20,000 members of hate movements. One strategist for a well known white racial  extremist argued that for every hard core supporter there are 10 passive supporters.
  • 52. How Big? Indeed. Former senator Bayh stated that quot;the reason hate groups have enjoyed something of a revival beginning in the 1980s is simply because Americans are not aware of them or their activities.quot;
  • 53. Fighting Hate Crimes This past electoral season I received a copy of a voter’s  pamphlet. Included within it were brief statements of each party’s platform, and I was surprised, and somewhat amused, to see that one party’s statement of purpose included eradicating hate crimes. Like the other position statements—those supporting  quality public education, good healthcare, and a strong economy—this one makes good campaign fodder. After all, how many voters are going to oppose it? What seems absent, however, is any realistic plan for achieving this goal.
  • 54. What will solve the Problem? As you have probably concluded by now, hate  crimes legislation alone has not and will not eliminate hate crimes. In fact, human nature being as it is, it is  extremely unlikely that hate crimes can be eradicated. But this does not mean that we do nothing… 
  • 55. Legislation Alone? All is not gloom, however. Prejudice and  bias-motivated violence can be reduced. There is scant evidence that such  reduction can be attained through hate crimes laws, but those laws are not the only method of fighting hate.
  • 56. If we learn to hate… “No baby is born with prejudices against other  people.” Each of us learned our biases from family, friends, teachers, and society at large. An optimistic corollary to this is that if  prejudice can be taught, so can tolerance. Several decades of psychological research has  investigated the ways in which tolerance can be encouraged and prejudice reduced.
  • 57. Allport’s Contact Hypothesis (1954) Allport was writing as racial segregation was  both legal and the norm in the United States. He theorized that intergroup hostility could be  decreased if groups were brought into contact with one another. – Simply throwing them together, however, would not be sufficient; in fact, there was some evidence to indicate that prejudice between blacks and whites was greater when the two groups lived in closer proximity to one another.
  • 58. Sherif’s Study (1961) Robber’s Cave Experiment – In this experiment, Sherif and colleagues created intense intergroup antagonism among previously-friendly boys who were attending a summer camp. – Bringing the boys together for enjoyable, non-competitive activities such as a fireworks display not only did not decrease tensions, but actually increased rivalry.
  • 59. In the Robber’s Cave experiment The experimenters arranged for two serious  emergencies to occur (a stuck bus and a broken water supply). – The camp counselors then encouraged the rival groups of boys to work together to overcome these emergencies. – The boys did so, and hostilities between the groups were greatly decreased.
  • 60. Brown 1995 Brown gives a real-life example of the Contact  Hypothesis at work. – In 1993, a huge earthquake occurred in central India. – Tens of thousands of people died, and many more people needed to be rescued. – In the face of this enormous disaster, Hindus and Muslims overcame their mutual animosity and labored together to save their neighbors.
  • 61. Jigsaw Study Aronson and colleagues (1978) also made use of  the Contact Hypothesis in an experiment they entitled the Jigsaw Classroom. Schoolchildren in a recently desegregated  school in Texas were placed into small, racially integrated groups. – Each member of the group was given a unique set of information (akin to a single piece of a puzzle), and the students were told they would all be tested on all of the information at the end.
  • 62. Jigsaw Study Handout Take a look at the  handout Here is how Aronson  and his colleagues organized the study
  • 63. Meaningful Contact Matters  Therefore, in order for students to do well on the test, they had to rely on their classmates. The researchers found that children in the experiment gradually learned to work cooperatively. – They also grew to like one another more and had greater self-esteem. – Minority group children’s grades improved as well.
  • 64. My Experience with the Contact Thesis Recently I attended a conference on diversity.  One of the speakers there, who was African American, talked about a sudden change in the race relations climate. She said that in the previous month, she had  noticed that white strangers who might previously have been hostile or at least indifferent to her because of her race were suddenly quite friendly.
  • 65. “We Americans” One man on an airplane gave an indication of  the reasons for this when he made a comment to her about the need for “we Americans” to fight terrorism. The borders between black and white were no  longer important, but had been replaced by the categories of American and non-American. Of course, this is not to say prejudice had  miraculously disappeared after 9/11. This woman’s experiences would likely have been radically different if she had appeared to be Muslim or Arab.
  • 66. American History X Have you seen American History X?  – Meaningful Contact changed the course of one racist’s history even given his family experience… – Let’s watch…
  • 67. What do we learn from these examples? Hate crime legislation then, could conceivably  reduce biased beliefs by first reducing biased actions. – The problem with this proposition is that there is no evidence that these laws actually do reduce biased actions, and therefore they are unlikely to affect attitudes. – As Allport (1954, p. 470) pointed out, there is a big difference between a law on the books and a law in action.
  • 68. Cultural Norms Another way to try to change attitudes is  through changing perceived cultural norms. – This could be done by using mass media. The largest historical surge in Klan membership was spurred in part by the media, specifically the film Birth of a Nation. – But it is now nearly a century later, and we are surrounded by persuasive messages to a much greater extent than before. – Amidst the daily barrage of propaganda about everything from war to toothpaste, how much attention will we pay to messages promoting tolerance?
  • 69. Media Campaigns Various Media  Campaigns against Hate and Bias Crimes have been run on Television Take a look at the list  on the handout
  • 70. Other Media Campaigns
  • 71. Some More
  • 72. Even Comic Books
  • 73. No One Likes to Be “Lectured” Winkel (1997) briefly reviewed the literature on  reducing prejudice through propaganda campaigns, and concluded that: – Sometimes these campaigns are successful, – Sometimes they are not, – And sometimes they are even counterproductive.
  • 74. Not Everyone Supports Legislative Hate Crime Efforts Some politically conservative and religious groups consider hate crime legislation to be more about preventing speech than preventing crimes
  • 75. Thanks for Listening…