Tuesday, October 05, 2010

"Hate Crime"

The very principle of "Hate Crime" is misguided and arbitrary.  It places an artificial weight on crimes perpetrated by people of one category against another.  If I get randomly assaulted in a robbery and get severely injured how is it any different than if I'm specifically targeted for being white/WASP/straight/whatever?  If the end result of the crime is the same-- why does the motive behind the crime make any difference?

The only "motive" that should be considered in any "crime" is self-defence.  Why should an African-American shooting another African-American carry a lighter sentence than an African-American shooting a Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, or any other race?  Isn't that in and of itself somewhat racist?  Isn't that saying, "It's bad when you commit crimes against people of your own race, but it's even worse if you commit crimes against other races/minorities/etc.?" 

Why should it matter whether the targets of the crime are of the same or different races than that of the assailants? 

I thought justice was supposed to be blind... shouldn't that include color blindness?   


Voice of Doom and Gloom said...

I agree with you. It seems that hate crime has a racist bias, because it is assumed that white on black crime might be hateful, but the reverse can't be so.

What also irks me about hate crime laws is that you are being punished for your thoughts. If I hated gay people and stood on the street corner and professed my hate I'm protected by the first ammendment. But, if I get in a bar fight with a gay person, now those same hateful thoughts result in greater punishment. The government should not punish for thoughts, opinions, or concepts.

The Phoenix said...

Racism, by definition, is the belief that one race is superior to another. It's a specific form of prejudice. In other words, racism is simply an attitude. It's something internal.

Now discrimination is an act based on prejudices. Discrimination can be based on age, race, religion, etc.

So a crime being labeled a "hate" crime is not necessarily racism, but discrimination. The law separates (discriminates) a certain crime from other crimes based soley on motivation of "hate" towards a particular race, religion, etc.

That being said, I don't understand why a "hate" crime would carry a stiffer penalty that other nearly identical crimes. This would be legislating the right to freedom of thought. Seems unconstitutional to me.

tornwordo said...

Yeah, like you'd ever be on the victim end of that. Spoken like a true WASP LOL. That said, I'm not sure I agree with you. If I'm attacked because someone wants to steal from me doesn't seem the same as if I'm attacked simply for the reality of my existence. The latter seems worse. Of course you'll never have to worry about that.

Perplexio said...

tornwordo: I believe you're missing my point. If the "intent" is the same-- to do harm to someone else. The motivation for that intent should be irrelevant.

I believe the issue is more one of leniency for non-hate related crimes. If two identitical crimes with two identitical outcomes were committed with 2 different motivations (let's say robbery and discrimination) those two crimes should receive the same level of punishment. The non-hate crime shouldn't receive a lighter punishment than the hate related crime.