Racism and Hate Crime
Blacks were introduced to American soil during the 17th and 18th centuries via the triangular trade route, and were immediately introduced to their new world-slavery. Our government legitimized slavery and it continued for a few hundred years, taking a civil war and sixteen presidents before it was abolished. The term “hate crime” entered our vocabulary in the 1980’s, when emerging hate groups like the Skinheads, launched a wave of bias-related crime. To this day, there is still much hatred between blacks and whites despite emancipation, desegregation, and integration; some would argue that the condition of African Americans in the United States is still one of a subservient nature.
Racism is defined by the Webster Dictionary as the assumption that the characteristics and abilities of an individual are determined by race and that one race is biologically superior to another. Federal law defines a hate crime as whenever a victim is attacked on the basis of his or her race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender; hate offenses are directed against members of a particular group simply because of their membership in that group. Webster also defines prejudice as, injury or damage resulting from some judgement or action of another in disregard of one’s rights.
Hate crimes represent one extreme on the continuum of prejudice and bigotry. Whether it is for economic or psychological reasons, there are countless individuals who feel resentful toward those of a certain group. They have suffered some loss in self-esteem or...