Hate Crime Laws: Culture Defines People

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Being a proud American is not wrong but also being a proud American while not forgetting your background whether it being Hispanic, Latino, or any other ethnic group is just as important as is your sexualty and gender orientation. This comes with being proud of who you are all the while not forgetting you are also an American. Many argue that it is their freedom to express negative opinions against these groups as they consider them to be “unAmerican”, which is not true.

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Being American means taking pride in living in the country all the while never forgetting your ancestry.Having cultural pride is of great importance. Different cultures across the nation and world wide define different ethnic groups and races across the board. Culture, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time (Virkus). Culture defines people and is something which no one should be ashamed of expressing nor should they feel as they need to mellow down nor should they feel as if they need to cut it out of their lives just to fit into the world around them.

For Hispanics, speaking Spanish, listening to Spanish music, at least for Central Americas, such as my family, celebrating Christmas on the 24th, eating distinct foods from the different countries of origin, and having a sense of community amongst each other is so very important. We, as Hispanics, tend to feel the need to dilute our ethnic background, especially us first generation Americans, to prove to other Americans that we are in fact American. This need to dilute ourselves is toxic and can negatively impact the future of Latinos/Hispanics. More specifically the children of the “first generations”. They could lose an important part of their cultural makeup as well as the inability to communicate with their elders which more likely than not may not be able to speak English as well as they speak Spanish. This takes us to the English-Only movement. The English-Only movement is inherently racist. Making laws, rules, and regulations to force immigrants to speak only English in public and in the workplace will make it harder for naturalized and non-naturalized persons to feel welcome. This movement was put together by those who feel as if immigrants need to “go back home” or need to “go back to where they came from”, refusing to understand that no one wants to leave their home unless it saves lives of their family or they are trying to seek a better life in hopes to achieve the American Dream.

After all, that is what America is for, right?A concept which is hard for White Americans to fully comprehend is grouping Hispanics as “Mexican” is rude. Many White Americans have used the word “Mexican” as a slur. This hurts those who are in fact Mexican. The usage of these ‘slur’ causes Mexican-Americans to want to appear more white and less hispanic, which, again, is toxic and may cause them to forget a significant part of them as mentioned in the third paragraph. For the older generations, such as Baby Boomers, being a part of the LGBTQ+ Community may be considered “un american”. For the past decade those of us in the community have started to show our faces in public holding our significant others hand despite the scrutiny which may follow it and doing our best to not let go.

The rise of the current Presidential Administration headed by the 45th President of the United States of America Donald Trump, has given these older generations the opportunity to voice their negative opinions of the marginalized groups thorough law and less order. Since President Trump’s rise to power hate crimes of these marginalized groups have skyrocketed and only keep rising in numbers. Not only hate crimes but also hate laws which are hidden as religious freedom laws are being strengthened and growing in numbers. Laws such as HB2, or House Bill 2, which is keeping Transgendered people from being able to legally enter a bathroom where they feel comfortable in or the court case, which has made it up to the supreme court, Master Cake Shop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commision where a baker at Master Cake Shop refused to bake a same sex couple a cake for their wedding on the bases that it is against his religious beliefs and he feels he is protected by the First Amendment stating Freedom of speech and religion. Even though Jack C. Phillips is protected by the First Amendment, the only reason why he refused to bake the cake is due to his personal belief that marriage should only be between a man and woman.

What these laws are doing is suppressing LGBTQ+ culture through discrimination in an attempt to keep LGBTQ+ people from expressing themselves even though they have the right to do so. These laws were never introduced until after Marriage Equality was finalized across all 50 states.Something which twenty years ago it would have been dangerous to do so, yet, we as America, have failed to protect our own fellow Americans because it is believed to be wrong, unnatural, and perverted to love someone of the same sex as yourself. These laws are a act of hate and a way for the GOP to feel more in control of American Peoples lives. These laws are mainly directed towards LGBTQ+ groups but they do not stop there. Trump’s actions such as terminating DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and TPS, or Temporary Protected Status. Both of which protect immigrants from Latin America whom fled war and poverty stricken countries in hopes for a better life for themselves and their children. The termination of these programs put many at risk for mass deportation which is expensive and can put these people in danger if forced to go back.

In El Salvador, MS-13, a gang consisting mainly of Central Americans, have taken the lives of Central American-Americans for either failing to stay in America or from pure jealousy that they were able to have a better life in America. The termination of DACA and TPS may cause first generation Americans to want to further dilute their Hispanic/Latino identity in hopes to appear more white as a way to avoid backlash and hateful comments and crimes from their white peers. Not only do Hispanics/Latinos have to fight their way to prove to others that they are American but so do Muslims. After 9/11 Muslims have had to prove that are nothing like those at fault of the terrorism which accord in 2003 – present time. Mosques, a place of worship for Muslims, have been burned down simply because it was a Muslim Place of worship.

Although, it can be argued that these hate crimes are not an act of hate but an act of fear; this can be debunked though getting to know and understand what Islam truly stands for. Simply being educated by the world around us can help alleviate fear and help acquire knowledge and understanding; but, because of fear many Muslims are selected for “random searches” by TSA at airports, they had to fight the Muslim ban from airplanes, and even trying to seek refuge such as the Syrian refugee crisis currently at hand.

We are turning away people in need because of fear of the unknown. We are committing hate crimes on a innocent people majority based on the guilty few. Being a proud American does not automatically make you a racist, uneducated, bigot. Being proud of your culture, religion, and sexualty does not make you any less American. What makes you less American is allowing your fear, hate, and complete disregard of the different world views around you blind you. Having pride in yourself and doing your absolute best to better understand others is the most American concept that has been long forgotten. America was founded on freedom for everyone not just a select few.

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Hate Crime Laws: Culture defines people. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/hate-crime-laws-culture-defines-people/