Hate Crime Laws: a Vast and
A speech by Jordan Tichenor
• Hate crime laws are a hypocritical system that
not only further the idea that people needed
to be treated differently based on
ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation, but they
also turn thoughts into crimes by convicting a
person not only for the crime they committed,
but also for their motivations for the crime.
• For this reason, hate crime laws should be
• Hate crime laws come from the 1964 Federal Civil
Rights Law, which permits federal prosecution of
anyone who "willingly injures, intimidates or
interferes with another person, or attempts to do
so, by force because of the other person's race,
color, religion or national origin,” if the victim's
attempt to engage in one of six types of federally
protected activities, such as attending school,
patronizing a public place/facility, applying for
employment, acting as a juror in a state court or
voting was impeded.
Quick History, pt. 2
• In 2008, President Obama signed the Mathew
Shepard Act, which which expanded existing
United States federal hate crime law to
include crimes motivated by a victim's actual
or perceived gender, sexual orientation,
gender identity, or disability, and which
dropped the prerequisite that the victim be
engaging in a federally protected activity.
Federal mandated inequality
• An article that appeared on salon.com probably
said it best, specifically in regards to hate crime
laws and the LGBT community.
• “There will always be people who act with
extreme violence, for whatever reason. If some
of these people are truly motivated by bias alone,
the way to fight this violence is to banish the bias
from our laws. For how can we expect to
confront bias crimes, supposedly predicated on
anti-gay sentiment, if the legal framework of our
society actually supports their biases?”
• The general idea is that hate crime laws violate
the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution in
that “they give greater protection to a victim who
is assaulted because of his/her race, color,
religion, or national origin than to another person
who is assaulted for the same reason.”
• If a person murders someone because they are
angry at them, it’s a crime. If a white person
murders a black person because of their
ethnicity, it becomes a hate crime.
• However, the truth is the murderer could have
been motivated by any number of things. Money,
jealousy…he could even be a psychopath with no
motivation. There are a thousand reasons he
could have murdered them, and none of those
would change how his crime was treated.
• BUT, because it happened to be an issue of race,
his crime WOULD be treated differently
• If we, as a society, truly believe in equality, does
it makes sense to have laws based on the
inherent differences in people?
• Hate crimes are based on people having a bias
against one another, and therefore not only
judges people based on their differences, but
judges them for their thoughts.
• Columnist Richard Cohen wrote for The
Washington Post on Oct. 19, 2010, that
“(speaking of a murder that was deemed a hate
crime) Their victim was dead -- the ultimate
crime. Should his killers get life for his death --
and another five years for what they thought of
• It is hard to determine motive in any crime,
and usually the exact motive does not matter.
The crime is committed, and if the person can
be proven guilty of committing that crime,
they are punished.
• However, hate crime laws are the only
instance in which intention changes the
nature of the crime
But if it decreases discrimination, does
• Hate crimes laws were created to lower the
amount of discrimination, but have the
amount of hate crimes gone down?
• In 1995, the Criminal Justice Information
Services Division judged that there were
10,469 hate crimes that year.
• In 2008, there were 9,691.
• For all these reasons, hate crimes should be
abolished, so that this society as a whole will stop
differentiating crimes based on the victim’s
ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation/etc, and so
that thoughts, motivations, and expressions can
not be something monitored by law.
• In essence, a society which allows free speech
and strives for total equality should shun hate
crime laws, as it destroys the idea of both.