Hate Crime in the United States
President Obama assented into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which ushered in a new era in the protection of minorities from hate crimes. In the United States, recent events have demonstrated the extent to which the regulation has worked in safeguarding the dignity of all citizens. There has been a tremendous increase in the incidence of hate crimes in major cities all over the nation. In effect, the affected groups continue to suffer problems in accessing health equity. Prevention of mental and physical illnesses that arise from this abuse is challenging. Given the notable lack of positive effect, from a health perspective, the policy is in dire need of adjustment to establish useful crime-reporting procedures and prosecution of the perpetrators. Indisputably, when adjusted, victims will enjoy equitable healthcare as well as be in a position of preventing the emergence of ailments.
While the United States is a global giant with a reputation for being the epitome of the free world, statistics regarding the prevalence of hate crimes are appalling. One would be forgiven for imagining that such acts are only present in developing and traditional nations. However, as the United States demonstrates, this issue is so prevalent that stakeholders in the legal and political systems have labeled it a regrettable disaster. In ordinary circumstances, this type of criminal behavior invokes the practice of violence targeting other people based on prejudice concerning ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion among others. The policy under evaluation in this report regards the control and reduction of hate crimes in the United States to promote the health of the victims of hate crimes.
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From as early as 1968, the Congress enacted anti-hate legislation in which it became a criminal offense to apply force or threaten its use and intentionally interfere with a person for reasons of race, religion, color, and nationality. Further, Congress approved the Church Arson Prevention Act in 1996 to bar people from defacing, damaging and destroying religious property (Farivar, 2018). Accordingly, the law prohibits people from limiting others’ expression of their religious beliefs through worship and other practices. Then, Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act became law under President Barack Obama in 2009 (Farivar, 2018). The new policy introduced aspects of gender and identity, disability, and sexual orientation.
There is an increase in incidences of hate crimes across major U.S. cities. According to Farivar (2019), such cities as Chicago witnessed a sporadic increment in the number of hate crimes. The recent increase is only a part of the fifth year continuous rise in these incidences. Among the most affected groups include Jews and African Americans who due to their minority status often bear the brunt of the attacks.
As an illustration of the extent to which the problem continues to be evasive, California State University’s Center for Hate and Extremism noted that nine in ten largest cities in America had nine hundred and twenty-one incidences, which is a fourteen percent increase from 2017 (Farivar, 2019). Houston witnessed the highest growth at 173%. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles had 26%, 6%, and 13% increase in the rate of hate crimes. The data further indicated that gays, blacks, and Jews suffered the most attacks in Chicago. Arguably, this is a worrying trend given the fact that it is expected that the nation should be moving towards an era of tolerance and cohesiveness. It is indisputable that this situation posits a critical concern for the entirety of the United States.
Hate crimes are political issues. As Rushin and Edwards (2018) determined, the ascension of President Donald Trump into the White House fueled the ever-rising hate crimes. Notably, the U.S. president is famous for his highly controversial tweets. As if that is not all, the president’s campaigns before the elections were rife with sentiments directed against minorities. While many might argue that the speeches were merely rhetorical, Rushin and Edwards (2018) established that they significantly contributed to the surge in hate crimes. In supporting this claim, the study noted that the counties and states with most Trump supporters went on to record the highest increase in these crimes. While President Trump’s campaign motto fueled prejudice against minorities, his election solidified the prevalence of bias towards these people. In effect, therefore, the political leadership contributes to hate crime either knowingly or unknowingly.
The commission of hate crimes differs by race. White Americans commit more crimes of hate than any other ethnic group (Cheng, Ickes & Kenworthy, 2013). Besides, these crimes often target blacks. However, that is not to say that blacks are innocent as far as hate crimes go. Instead, they also commit hate crimes against the whites. On the other hand, Asians and AIANs target members of their racial groups when they engage in hate crime as opposed to those from different ethnicities. Accordingly, the Asians and AIANS identify more with the other groups than theirs.
Additionally, anti-religious hate criminal incidences target people with Jewish affiliations. Similarly, anti-Islamic hate is on a worrying rise following the devastating 9/11 terrorist (Cheng et al., 2013). In the United States, there is an unbecoming tendency by many people to affiliate the Islam religion with crime and terrorism. The recent terror attacks and the emergence of militia groups in Muslim nations have only worsened things for this minority group living in the United States.
It is also notable that male homosexuals are the most targeted when it comes to anti-sexual hate crimes. Usually, men suffer the worst hate when they are gay. Ironically, the perpetrators of these atrocities are often male with a strong masculine ideology (Cheng et al., 2013). In effect, they cannot tolerate the idea of men engaging in sexual activities with fellow men. Worse still, this category experiences the severest of violence with victims often suffering aggravated physical assault among other attacks.
As a result of the adverse implications of then hate crimes, policies are crucial. Levy and Levy (2017) found that the implementation of policies is critical for promoting the wellbeing of gays and lesbians in the United States. Accordingly, these laws restrict and reduce the opportunities the people might have to propagate hate crimes against those whose sexual orientation is not agreeable to them. That means that when employment and hate crime regulations are introduced, the people who usually suffer the effects thereof are safe from the discrimination that might occur.
It is also crucial to establish that hate crimes pose devastating health implications. In cases where violence is involved, people get hurt. The American Psychological Association established that many people suffer from discrimination at health facilities due to the high rate of hate crimes (Johnson, 2017). Then, others develop stress, anxiety, and depression disorders. In extreme cases, victims commit suicide due to the trauma. Thus, the policy is relevant in promoting public health through equity, quality, and prevention of the adverse effects.
The summary report adopts a quantitative design in examining the implications of the policy problem. It also has results and a discussion thereof. Measures used in this case are the effect of the policy in curbing hate crime as well as the healthcare outcomes of the general population.
The study adopted a quantitative design. In this regard, the evaluation of the policy concerned with the determination of reported incidences in the wake of the law. Precisely, have the rules promoted social equity through reduction of hate crimes against minority groups? According to this method, the expected outcomes were the rate of incidences in hate crime, health concerns such as diseases, and data from the criminal justice department. Besides, the data used in this evaluation was gathered from reliable sources which made its application and relevance critical for this study. However, the most fundamental questions were the determination of the public health consequences of the policies if any and their implication on the society. It was expected that the implementation of the policies would reduce the incidence rate in hate crime-related health issues affecting people from minority groups.
Despite the significance of the policy, there is little to show for its enactment. With many American states implementing the anti-hate policy, the result has been anything but commendable. It is notable that statistical findings have shown an increase in the incidence of hate criminal offenses over the years. According to a report by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, the perpetrators of these illegal activities are more motivated by their prejudice of other people’s race than any other factor (FBI, 2016). That implies that people whose races are considered inferior or inadequate are prone to hate crime just because of the color of their skin and ethnicity.
Notably, even with the policy, anti-religious hate crimes are on the rise in the United States. From 2015 data gathered by UCR, religion is the second most controversial phenomenon precipitating hate crimes. 21.4% of single-bias incidents were noted to emerge from religious concerns (FBI, 2016). Besides, other individual aspects like sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability motivate hate. If anything, the fact that these crimes continue to occur in a nation that has policies that punish such acts highlight an egregious failure of the law to protect the minority social groups. It would seem that so long as one comes from a group considered as minor, then the chances of suffering hate crimes are substantial.
Regarding the health implications, there is little dispute as to the relationship between the incidence and health impact. At the center of hate crime is an immense disdain directed at given social groups. In effect, when this continues to be the case, the victims suffer emotional breakdown occasioned by the stress and depression. In cases where the criminal offense occurs in a health facility, the target individuals experience poor services that are not equitable to other people. Therefore, health equity, quality, and prevention of diseases is untenable with the policy.
Discussions and Conclusions
Given the laxity of the anti-hate crime policy, the regrettable racist attacks continue to rise in the United States. As a result, victims are in the least benefitting from the law. Although it was a case of good intent, its failure to resolve the health disparities implies challenges within the implementation of the policy. Even though it is a criminal offense to commit hate, there is a thin line between what is legally a crime and what is an expression of personal feelings.
Typically, over half of the hate crimes go unreported. The reasons for this case vary. In some situations, the perpetrators of these acts are close to the victim. It could be friends and relatives which makes reporting more difficult than when strangers are involved. As a result, these people continue suffering the adverse effects on health that such hate may cause.
Moreover, the results indicate that even with the policy, the prosecution of hate crimes is substantially low. Most U.S. states have different legal frameworks which exempt some forms or define them differently. The policy’s failure to apply uniformly across the U.S. does little in promoting the health outcomes of this critical group of society.
In summation, it is fundamental to point out that despite the United States having deliberate efforts aimed at restoring the nation’s equity especially in the health sector for all, the policy on hate crimes has failed. Today, more than ever, the incidence rate of hate crimes is high and continues to increase. Given that the targets are minority members of the society across sexual, religious, racial, and gender aspects, it is notable that the health status of these people has hardly improved. With little improvement, the victims are affected by the poor services at health facilities, violent attitude towards them, and intentional denial of opportunities based on their orientation. Impacts such as mental and physical health disorders are part of the life of the affected people. Measures are crucial to improve the applicability of the laws. Stringent provisions are necessary to enhance the validity and significance of the policy. Reporting procedures must be introduced to promote the health outcomes of the people through legal protection.
- Cheng, W., Ickes, W., & Kenworthy, J. (2013). The phenomenon of hate crimes in the United States. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(4), 761-794. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12004
- Farivar, M. (2018). The US hate crime laws explained. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/us-hate-crime-laws-explained/4634218.html
- Farivar, M. (2019). Hate crimes in major US cities rise for the fifth year in a row, data show. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/hate-crimes-in-major-us-cities-rise-for-fifth-year-in-a-row-data-show/4767616.html
- FBI. (2016). Incidents and offenses. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/topic-pages/incidentsandoffenses_final
- Johnson, S. (2017). Experts: Hate crimes are a public health issue. Retrieved from https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20170822/NEWS/170829972/experts-hate-crimes-are-a-public-health-issue
- Levy, B., & Levy, D. (2017). When love meets hate: The relationship between state policies on gay and lesbian rights and hate crime incidence. Social Science Research, 61, 142-159. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.06.008
Rushin, S., & Edwards, G. (2018). The effect of President Trump’s election on hate crimes. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3102652
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Hate Crime in the United States. (2021, May 14). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/hate-crime-in-the-united-states/
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