Hate Crimes

Should acts of hate be criminalized? What acts should be considered hate crimes?

Hate Crimes
Yes because...

Crimes motivated by hatred against a racial, ethnic, religious, or other group are deserving of more...

Crimes motivated by hatred against a racial, ethnic, religious, or other group are deserving of more punishment than acts of violence not motivated by such hatred. Added punishment for these crimes has the potential to deter these acts. While some hate crimes may be isolated incidents, many are perpetuated by groups of people (sometimes organizations) whose goal is intimidation. Stronger penalties would destabilize such movements.

No because...

All forms of violent crime, whether they are murders, rapes, or beatings are an expression of hatred toward another human being. To add more punishment to a crime because it represents a particular kind of hate is to unfairly distinguish between different violent acts and trivialize those violent acts that do not appear to be motivated by hate. Such a distinction is also very hard to assess in a trial; there is a danger of unjustly branding someone as bigoted and punishing them excessively, e.g. for their involvement in a bar fight where the victim coincidentally belonged to a minority group.

Hate Crimes
Yes because...

The fear of hate crimes significantly infringes upon the ability of minority groups to live a normal...

The fear of hate crimes significantly infringes upon the ability of minority groups to live a normal life. Their freedom of expression and group association is limited when they fear such expression, or simply being in public, puts their lives at risk. The government has an obligation to protect minority groups from persecution to ensure that they may be full and productive members of society.

No because...

Hate crimes legislation may actually do more to chill free speech and association than the threat of the acts themselves. Such legislation essentially penalizes the thoughts, emotions, or motives behind an act. The act itself, if illegal, would already be worthy of punishment. Such policies set a precedent for punishing individuals who hold beliefs the government, or the majority of people do not believe. The potential exists for such precedents to later be used against the very minority interests the government seeks to protect in the present.

Hate Crimes
Yes because...

Policies opposing hate crimes have the potential to reshape negative societal attitudes, breaking do...

Policies opposing hate crimes have the potential to reshape negative societal attitudes, breaking down stereotypes and building understanding. When a government or society finally commits to a position that says acts of hate are unacceptable, people holding these negative beliefs are urged to reconsider their values

No because...

This view may be overly idealistic. Often people who hold racist views, or are committed to other ideologies of hate, are unwilling or unable to change their views. Moreover, the people who actually commit violent hate crimes may only represent a minority of those with feelings of hatred. Hate crime laws may actually make people who perceive themselves to be in the majority feel threatened, increasing their feelings of hate.

Hate Crimes
Yes because...

International law, including various conventions related to the protection of human rights, would su...

International law, including various conventions related to the protection of human rights, would suggest a need for action by states to better ensure the safety of minority groups.

No because...

There is still substantial disagreement world wide about what constitutes a 'human right'. These differences are often culturally connected. Each state should be left to itself to decide what protections are appropriate for its people.

Hate Crimes
Yes because...

Hate crimes policies, for certain countries (namely the United States and the United Kingdom) are cr...

Hate crimes policies, for certain countries (namely the United States and the United Kingdom) are critical to demonstrating moral consistency with regard to human rights. Some nations routinely criticize other nations for human rights abuses or their failure to curb sectarian violence. To avoid hypocrisy these countries should make every attempt to afford their own minority groups the same protection they would want other governments to provide minorities in their countries.

No because...

Generally speaking the types of hate crimes perpetuated in these countries do not rise to the severity of human rights abuses and sectarian violence observed in the countries routinely criticized. Moreover, these hate crimes are generally individual acts, or the acts of fringe groups and do not represent the view or policies of their respective governments. In the countries routinely accused of major human rights violations there is often government support or tacit acceptance of these acts.



Hate Crimes

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