Imagine you are a family member of a man who was chained up to the back of a pickup truck and drug along a gravel road for two miles until he was dead. Then imagine how you would feel after you found out that this happened just because he was a black man. Things like this sicken me. I believe that the people that are responsible for these horrific crimes should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
That is why I strongly support Hate Crime Laws. Now, before I dive into this very controversial subject, I should probably define what hate crime laws are so you will have a better understanding of what I am talking about. As I have understood it, hate crime laws are laws that protect certain minorities or groups from bias-motivated violence and harassment and also more harshly punish people that commit these crimes against them. As I started to do my research on hate crime laws I began to notice that there are many experts that are on my side of this issue, and very few experts that oppose hate crime legislation. According to Issues and Controversies on File, some experts that do not support hate crime laws believe that these laws “perpetuate inequality among U. S.
citizens”. They say that hate crime laws “single out” or pick the minorities that get the special privileges while other groups don’t get any protection. The way they see it is, “why should it be any more of a crime to attack a gay person, they ask, than a heterosexual person?”(506). Other experts that oppose hate crime laws such as Don Feder, believe that these laws deny another basic concept of democracy (equality before law) by creating different classes of victims”(3). Feder says that “anti-bias laws punish ideas.
” He believes that these ideas should be protected by the constitution. These are the reasons that Don Feder and very few other experts are against the new hate crime laws (1). While reading through Issues and Controversies on file I also found out that some of the “policymakers” believe that all crimes are committed with some form of hate in mind. They say that if this is true then hate crime laws are “therefore redundant and unnecessary. ” These people believe that all crimes are already fully punishable “regardless of why they were committed”(506). In response to these comments, I can see where some of these people are coming from.
For instance, many of these experts that I read about said that it is just the minorities that get the protection from bias-motivated crimes. This is really not completely true. In Elena Grigera’s article she says that “it is important to keep in mind that, while hate crime legislation is often viewed as a vehicle of protection for such minority groups as blacks and Jews, such laws also protect the white majority from bias-motivated violence”(2). These people seem to think that it is just the minorities that can become victims of these hate crimes, but in reality that is not the case at all.
A white heterosexual male can just as easily become a victim of a hate crime as a black heterosexual male can. For example in the Wisconsin v. Mitchell case in 1993 a group of “black youths severely beat a schoolboy” because he was white. “The youths received enhanced prison sentences” under the state hate crime laws (Hate-Crime 512). This is only one of the many reasons why these hate crime laws are so badly needed, so everyone can be protected not just the minorities.
Another argument that has been brought up in this very controversial issue is whether or not the new hate crime laws are constitutional or not. I believe that for the people that oppose hate crime laws this is their best argument. These people say that the laws violate the first amendment. “In order to prove that a crime was motivated by hate, some analysts point out, prosecutors often rely on testimony to the effect that the defendant expressed bigoted views during or before the crime.” For instance if an “assailant” yells racial slurs at a person while assaulting someone then .