Hate based on race, religion, and sexual orientation exists within any culturally rich society. When this type of hate fuels a person into taking violent actions upon those they hate, it is called a hate crime; a topic which the American public is seriously concerned about. It has been a widely discussed subject on the media, and often debates of whether or not a crime should be attributed with hate are the center for discussion. Does hate crime imply in any case when a person is convicted for inflicting damage on someone “different”? It is often difficult to set a benchmark for measuring the sufficiency of hate as a cause to label it in front of a crime. The term can be conveniently stretched and squeezed by people with different ideas and biases. The four white policemen who brutally beat Rodney King Jr., a black man, half to death for merely speeding is determined by the court’s judgment, as officers performing their duty.
Hate, to those particular jurors and judge, was not a valid concern. To them, the beating was not due to the officers¡¦ resentment for a black man, but because they were simply disciplining an offender of the law. To the minority groups, the court¡¦s ruling was outrageous. From their point of view, the savage beating was unnecessary and hate was obviously the factor that induces the four cops to perform such a nasty feat. Because people have varying views and opinions, the application of the term “hate crime” is not always relevant. Can we assume the murder of Nicole Simpson by OJ Simpson a hate crime since it involves a black man killing a white woman or are there more in-depth twists to the case? People who are willing to do a little thinking, do not just look at the difference between the victim and the convicted and draw conclusions of whether or not the crime is hate-related, they examine all the other psychological elements also. The most common way of judgment is to ponder: if the victim was of a different race, religion, or sexual orientation, would the same injurious action still have taken place? In order to picture the virtual scenario, we would need to think critically and be able to delineate out hate and to do that, we need to understand why people hate.
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No one is born to be prejudice. It is the society people grow up in that teaches them to be that way. Even while watching a seemingly harmless cartoon, we are taught unconsciously to despise those who are different. The good guys are always a group of the same kind, physically appealing, and very American while the bad guys are always bizarre and resemble people from a distant culture we don¡¦t recognize. From a very young, we develop stereotypes; a direct effect on the workings of society. Popular generalizations such as Black people eating up social security money and Asians trying to buy America are passed around. Yet, in reality, statistics show that much more Whites are on social security than are blacks and only the Japanese Corporations are doing the purchasing, not Asians, particularly Asian Americans who have nothing to do with them besides being Asian.
Ironically, society tries to undo our prejudice through education when we enter school. But the prejudice is brought back to us when we meet students who are prejudice, whether we become their friends or their victims of discrimination. Being prejudice teaches a person to be prejudice. How a person views something related to racism and hatred, directly reflects on how society has raised them. The American people do not see the bombing of Iraq and Yugoslavia as a hate crime, because we are told what we want to believe, that we are good and they are evil, and there would be no wrong in flexing our superior muscle. But to the Iraqis and Yugoslavians, who lost thousands of lives, the United States is but a racist nation that kills “non-American” people like killing ants. For if the Iraqis and Yugoslavians were Americans, preferably white, would the U.S value their lives differently? It is ultimately in a person¡¦s perception, which concludes what is and what is not a hate crime.