Hate Crimes in the United States
The killings of James Byrd and Matthew Shepard, among other senseless acts of hatred, remind Americans that violence based on racial and other prejudices still occurs. Other brutal examples include a spree of hate-motivated shootings over the 1999 July 4th weekend in Illinois and Indiana, the murder of two gay men in California, and arson attacks on Sacramento synagogues. In August of 1999, a man with ties to white supremacist organizations is alleged to have opened fire at a Jewish daycare center in Los Angeles and murdered a Filipino-American postal worker. And on July 4, 2000, J.R. Warren, a 26-year old African American, gay man was attacked by two 17-year old boys who savagely beat him and then drove back and forth over him until he was dead. This is only a partial list.
Some additional examples of the magnitude of the hate violence problem in America:
- According to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics Report, there were a total of 8152 hate crimes reported around the country. 4368 (53.6%) were racial bias motivated; 1483 (18.2%) were religious bias motivated; sexual orientation bias accounted for 1330 (16.3%); ethnicity/national origin bias was the cause of 927 (11.4%); disability bias was connected with 36 (0.4%); and the remaining 8 incidents (0.1%) were the result of multiple biases.
- In January 2009, three men reportedly harassed several African Americans and a Hispanic man because of their political support for Obama and physically attacked three others. The final victim was mistaken for an African American and spent several weeks in a coma after being hit by their car.
- In May 2009, a Pennsylvania jury acquitted two teenagers of serious charges, including ethnic intimidation, in the July 2008 fatal beating of Luiz Ramirez, a 25 year-old Mexican immigrant, in Shenandoah, Pa. The teenagers were convicted of simple assault and sentenced to up to 23 months in prison. The acquittal on these charges sparked outrage from the civil rights community who pointed to numerous reports that the attack was racially motivated.
Civil rights advocates have identified two important inadequacies in current federal hate crimes laws. First, current law does not protect all victims of hate crimes; they do not cover violence based on sexual orientation, gender or disability. Second, current law contains unnecessary jurisdictional obstacles to prosecuting hate crimes based on race, religion, and national origin.
Assaults on homeless people often fall below the radar of media coverage and public consciousness, but this type of crime is more prevalent than ever in the United States.
- Attacks against Homeless People on the Rise - 6/5/08
- Hate, Violence, and Death on Main Street USA: A Report on Hate Crimes and Violence Against People Experiencing Homelessness 2007 - National Coalition for the Homeless - April 2008
- Report Shows Prevalence of Hate Crimes against Homeless - 5/3/06
- Crime Data from Nation's College Campuses May Not Give Accurate Picture - 02/06/06
- Hate Crime at University of Virginia Under Investigation - 3/18/03
- Will Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Influence the November Election? - 4/23/08
- Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream - Anti-Defamation League - 10/23/07
- Some Anti-Immigration Sentiment Fueled by Hate Groups - 10/31/07
- Report: Hate Violence and Rhetoric on the Rise against Latinos - 5/17/06
- Extremists Declare 'Open Season' on Immigrants: Hispanics Target of Incitement and Violence - Anti-Defamation League - 4/24/06
- Blood on the Border - Southern Poverty Law Center - 04/06/01
Arab Americans, Muslims, and Asian Pacific Americans
In 2001, The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium's annual Audit of Violence Against Asian Pacific Americans reports that 243 incidents against Asian Pacific Americans, generally South Asian Americans mistaken for Muslim and/or Arab Americans, occurred in the three months following 9/11. As of January 2002, the Intergroup Clearinghouse reports that there have been more than 1,700 cases of discrimination against Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, Sikh Americans, and South Asian Americans.
- Hate Crimes and Discrimination against Arab Americans Still up from Pre-9/11 Levels - 12/16/08
- ADL Offers Reward in Apparent Hate Crime - 5/28/03
- New Report Documents Increased Hate Crimes and Intolerance - 3/11/02
- America Responds - Anti-Islamic Violence will not be Tolerated - 1/16/02
- The Enemy is Not Each Other: Civil Rights Leaders Call for Unity - 9/14/01
- Moving to Opportunity Provides Safe Haven for Girls - 12/08/06
- Hatred in the Hallways: Violence and Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students in U.S. Schools - Human Rights Watch - 5/30/01
- Government Report Points to Rise in Hate Groups - 4/21/09
- Number of Hate Groups in the U.S. Increases in 2008 - 3/2/09
- Civil Rights Leaders Respond to White Supremacists - 9/3/02
- More Alike Than Unalike - 11/08/02
- Thousands Rally on Department of Justice - 11/27/07
- Everyday Fears: A Survey of Violent Hate Crimes in Europe and North America - Human Rights First - 6/2/05
- Anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Violence in 2004 (pdf) - National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs - 4/26/05
- Cause for Concern: Hate Crimes in America: 2004 Update - Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund - 9/10/04
- Crimes of hate, conspiracy of silence: Torture and ill-treatment based on sexual identity - Amnesty International - 6/22/01