Hate Crimes:The Sociological Aspects Paper

Society consists of many different sociological groups. These groups involve people of various races, religions, sexual preferences, etc. But what happens when these groups or even individuals develop an extreme anger or frustration towards each other? The answer to that question, unfortunately, is hatred.

Hate groups are being formed everyday and continue to be a huge problem in our society. These groups are formed mostly during times of economic struggle or even social change. One troupe will strongly believe that the reason for a social, economic, or even personal problem is solely the fault of another racial, religious, or other group. Groups are not the only problem in this society. Individuals also develop hatred and may commit heinous deviant acts towards one another, or even sometimes towards another group.

The most common forms of crime in our society are due to hatred. A study conducted in 1996 researched forty-nine states and the District of Columbia and reported that 8,759 crimes were actually recorded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All of these 8,759 dealt with bias-motivated criminal offenses. The appropriate name of these deviant acts is called hate crimes. Hate crimes are defined as a crime motivated by hatred, prejudice, or intolerance of somebody’s race, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation, disability, and/or sexual orientation.

Hate crimes are committed all over the world and before the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998 they were categorized with other crimes such as homicide, assault, rape, robbery, and arson. This act, passed in 1998, allowed federal authorities to investigate activities such as attending school, voting, and/or crossing state borders. The act also made categories of hate crimes more well known and in-depth (dealing with federal agents and other policing organizations, as well as the public). These categories would be, for example, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. Thousands of crimes are committed all the time due to the fact that someone is ‘different’ from someone else.

One of the most commonly known hate groups is the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist organization that wreaked havoc in the south of the United States after the Civil War. This group was organizes in Pulaski, Tennessee on December 24, 1865 by six confederate army officers. The group began as just a prank towards society, but soon developed into much more. They believed that ‘white power’ was the almighty race and all other races were nothing. The KKK generally targeted African Americans, due to their strong belief that “God hates Blacks!” Their goal was to prevent African Americans from voting, and ‘being free’ in society.

When people would revolt or ignore warning of the KKK, the organization would harass, mutilate, and even murder their enemies. In some cases the KKK would burn a cross on someone’s property symbolizing that one, if not all, of the members of that household would be the next murdered on the Ku Klux Klan’s list.

The most recent hate crime committed dealing with the KKK was in June of 1998 in Jasper, Texas. John King, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan was driving with two other men one night when he saw a black man walking with what seemed to be a limp. This man, James Byrd, was returning home from his niece’s engagement party when three King and the two other men offered to drive him home. Byrd agreed and the three men began the drive in King’s truck. All of a sudden the truck stopped and the men began to viciously beat Byrd until he was unconscious. Byrd was then chained by the ankles to the back of the pick up truck and dragged for nearly three miles until his body was mutilated by the pavement. The law has tried many times to stop the Ku Klux Klan from committing any more deviant acts and has virtually succeeded. Fortunately it is very rare to see any more Klan related activity nowadays.

The Klan is only one example of deviant groups in our society. Many other groups harass, mutilate, and kill only for the pleasure of gaining more ‘power’ or to ‘rid the world of its social minorities’. Murder is committed everyday due to ones race, religion, gender, etc. Thousands of these examples include:

1. The Holocaust- slaughter of over six million Jews and others due to religion, race, etc.
2. Murder of Matthew Shepard- murder of a homosexual college student that was beaten and chained to a fence, left in the cold to die. Due only to his sexual preference.
3. Severe beating of Korean woman- In May 1997 a 62-year-old Korean American woman was attacked in San Francisco and suffered a broken hip. The man she was attacked by assumed she was Chinese.
4. Labor Camps of Japanese- Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Japanese men and women were put into slave camps just because they were Japanese.
5. Homosexual Victims- Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender victims of a crime are far more likely to receive more physical and psychological damage to their body than any other victims of abuse. Beaten more severely only because they have a different sexual preference.

The previous examples are only some of the thousands of hate crimes committed all over the world. In order to diminish these horrible acts in our society, law enforcement officers, leaders, and the community must work together and try to prevent it. If we don’t begin to stop these crimes, who will?

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