Hate Crime Laws - Essay Sample

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Harvey Mudd College
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Hate crime laws are legislations that safeguard a particular group from harassment and violence that is encouraged by biases. The laws are also meant to punish individuals who break the laws cruelly. A hate crime is a brutal act against individuals, property, or associations as a result of the group they belong. Hate crimes are perpetrated against various groups of people and also committed by different people. The crime can either be petty or grave as in the case of rape or murder. As such, when the foundation of an individuals identity is attacked, the person becomes shackled and disempowered and so do the rest of his/ her community members. For that reason, the society becomes disintegrated. A significant number of hate crimes are postulated on the bias in religion or race. Hate crimes that are based on race have been there since civil rights movements in the 1960s. Also, the fastest growing type of hate crime is gay and lesbian hate crimes which are commonly committed by teenagers and youth. A significant proportion of the LGBT people complain of hate crimes committed against them. However, most of these complains are verbal and not physical.

People who do not support the idea of hate crime laws hold that hate crime law have helped to sustain inequality among the communities. The proponents argue that the laws are more protective of the minority group and the legislations provide special treatment and advantage to the said group of people while the rest of the people remain unprotected. Other people who do not agree with the idea of hate crimes argue that the laws inhibit the exercise of the basic idea of democracy regarding the freedom of expression. As such, according to the opponents, hate crime legislations encourage inequality before the law by producing various classes of victims.

A significant number of people are in support of hate crime laws, and they believe that the laws are not bad at all. Such proponents of the law argue that passing the bill on hate crime laws by the Senate would help minimize the cases of hate crime in the society. The proponents of the idea believe that if stricter penalties are given against hate crime, then the crimes would drastically reduce. Such people argue that the perpetrators of such crimes ought to be severely punished as the crimes generate harm both to the individual and the society. Therefore, if hate crime laws are accepted and encouraged then recurrence of such offenses are prevented and minimized (Cope, 233).

Opponents of hate crime laws contend that the laws are unfair. According to the justice system of the United States, everyone ought to be treated equally and identically. However, passing the law against hate crime would bring nothing but inequality in punishment in that offender of two similar crimes would get different sentences. Such sentences would be determined by some attributes of the offender such as disability status, gender or sexual orientation. The disadvantage of such a law is that the weak people in society together with the minority group would take advantage of the extra protection offered by the law.

The advocates of hate crime laws argue that hate crime is a bit consequential compared to other conventional crimes because it affects and insults not only the immediate individual but the entire group. Whenever a criminal behavior is founded upon aspects like the race of the victim, religion, gender or sexual orientation, then the act assumes the attributes of a terrorist action. Both the offender and the victim are total strangers, and the crime is not aimed at only one person but meant to terrorize the whole group. The main advantage of such hate crime laws is that once a perpetrator is punished for offending an individual, the entire group feels safe and protected (Mason, 81).

Some people believe that the legislation of hate crime laws is of no use and therefore not required. As such, the opponents of the law argue that each of the crimes covered by the laws is not legitimate under the prevailing laws of the state. Passing the bill of hate crime would not be necessary as the majority of the people believe that the laws of hate crime are biased. The advantage is that there would be equality in the provision of justice when it comes to punishing the offenders of hate crime laws.

On the other hand, those who champion for hate crime laws strongly hold that the rules are essential and are a requirement. When the law protects a particular minority group such as the LGBT makes the public aware that the group is helpless (Redman, 17). The general public, therefore, understands that the group has been oppressed and hence is in need of protection. A significant number of victims have once or twice been criticized or assaulted by people not known to them because of their sexual orientation, ability or even gender identity. As such, it would be an advantage to the security of not only the lesbians and gay people but also the heterosexuals as well as bisexuals.

Advocates of hate crime laws have it that such laws would not bring any good to the society but only favor and give exceptional treatment to a certain group. Such group of special people that are protected by hate crime laws is viewed as the protected class, and therefore the laws portray inequality in the society. Having such laws is disadvantageous because they only encourage biases and creation of specific groups that are protected while others remain unprotected.

However, proponents of hate crime laws believe that the crimes do not offer any special treatment to certain individuals like gays or lesbians. It has been noted that having sexual orientation as a safeguarded class preserves all groups not only the LGBT group. The advantage is that if the law against hate crime is to be passed, people of all sexual orientation whether heterosexual or bisexual would feel protected. Moreover, laws against hate crime would enhance shaping attitudes that impact behavior and therefore reducing the instances of such crimes.

Hate crime laws should be amended to accommodate both the proponents and opponents of the idea. For instance, to protect those who feel that the laws against hate crime are inclined to protect a particular group of people. Such laws should be modified to mention the protection of everyone. As such, the laws should outline all the details so that they do not appear to favor any select group (Meyer, 120).


As it has been noted that the most significant percentage of hate crimes is as a result of racial bias, hate crime laws against such criminal offenses should be formulated to protect such vulnerable people. Moreover, as much as democracy is concerned, and people should not be upholding the beliefs of others, people should also not commit any violence against such people.

Works Cited

Cope, Bill, Mary Kalantzis, and Gunther Kress. "Bibliographical essay: Developing the theory and practice of genre-based literacy." Cope and Kalantzis (2014): 231-47.

Mason, Gail. "The symbolic purpose of hate crime law: Ideal victims and emotion." Theoretical Criminology 18.1 (2014): 75-92.

Meyer, Doug. "Resisting hate crime discourse: Queer and intersectional challenges to neoliberal hate crime laws." Critical criminology 22.1 (2014): 113-125.

Redman, Peter, and Wendy Maples. Good essay writing: a social sciences guide. Sage, 2017.

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