The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

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.

The Homeless

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.

On Campus


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 Groups


Other Resources

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