Hate Crimes Polluting America Essay, Research Paper
Putting an End to Hate Crimes
“Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness…. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest me among them (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime, and cruelty too.”(Isay, 3)
Long ago it was declared by the republic of this nation that all men are created equal. By this statement, our founding fathers agreed upon the fact that no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, sex or disability, as a citizen of the United States of America one has the same rights as the next man. Although it was recognized in the past and action was taken, prejudices still exist in today’s society. As time progresses, American’s seem to find a new fault in their common man so that they may have some hostility and blame the problems of the nation upon them. Today it is suffice to say that many citizens have overlooked the aspect of race, sex and religion, and instead hold animosity against those who retain a separate sexual orientation then themselves. People of the homosexual, bisexual, and transgender sexual preferences are now the nations prime target in the fear and anguish against those who are different. This primary topic, which falls under the key issue of Civil Rights, must be dealt with accordingly for there to be any chance of the nation to have complete peace.
To what degree is this childish hate against homosexuals that the majority of society holds deep? The hate begins at a very simple stage, as does any prejudice, which
may come about in the nation. Initially people, due to their underlining ignorance, will grasp a prejudice against someone due to the fact that they are different because people generally are afraid of that which they do not comprehend, in this case being different sexual orientations. When this fear reaches a certain degree, people may act upon it to do justice for their hateful feelings. In turn, hate crimes have begun over the last decade to thrive in the United States and other countries around the world.
The current law in the United States “permits federal prosecution of a hate crime only if the crime was motivated by bias based on race, religion, national orientation, or color, and the assailant intended to prevent the victim from exercising a federal protected right.”(HRC) In 1999, this law was amended with The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). The HCPA was established to “amend the current federal law to include real or perceived sexual orientation, gender, and disability so the FBI would be able to investigate and prosecute violent hate crimes against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.”(HRC) As is shown, the government has taken some action in ending discrimination in the nation, although violent acts of hatred against homosexuals is continuing to take place.
In 1993 a gay man was beaten to death after coming out in the United States Navy. Apparently, fellow Navy recruits beat the man after finding out that he was an alleged homosexual. Mourners say that the man was lynched, having a bashed skull, eight broken ribs and violated private areas. The mother of the victim stated that the only way that she could properly identify the body was by the distinguishing tattoos located on the man’s forearms. The victim’s family believes that the government’s 50-year-old ban
on homosexuals in the military did not aid the situation. After the victim “came out” he was discharged form the Navy, about to make his way home, before the incident.(Bruning)
Due incidents such as the previous taking place within the nation, the government established the HCPA in hopes that it would drastically reduce the number of hate crimes. “In 1998, there was a 14.3 percent increase in reported hate crimes against gays and lesbians according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Program, making them the third highest category reported to the FBI.”(HRC) Let it be reminded that the increase was reported before the establishment of the HCPA, although it is also reported that a decrease in the number of hate crimes has occurred between the time periods of 1998 and 1999. Although it continues throughout the years to seem as though hate crimes are diminishing, they will never completely be gone until citizens of this nation take more responsibility for their actions.
Thus the many citizens of this nation must take responsibility for what is happening around them; they must take a stand against the hate and prejudices in the country. Many people are standing back watching these incidences ensue everyday without actually attempting to do something about them. This is due to the circulating thought that these people seem to obtain that they as one person can not make a difference, when in all truth they can make more of a difference then they may ever imagine. Take for example the case in Florida during the past presidential election a few months back. A few weeks before the debate in Florida arose, a separate controversy occurred in the vary state that the subsiding one is located in. A young African American
man by the name of Luckson Lambert began to publicly denounce presidential candidate, George W. Bush, after his brother who is governor of Florida, Jeb Bush angered Lambert “by declaring an end to racial set-asides meant to help women and minorities overcome disadvantages in getting jobs and education.” Lambert, along with other African American residents of Florida, declared that they were going to oppose voting for Bush in the election.(Royse) This case in point is so vital because of its proof that one man, in this case Lambert, rose against the hate and prejudice that he felt was being bestowed against him and at the same time led others into following from his example.
Everyone, every single citizen of this nation, must rise above the hate that many hold within their hearts and find a common ground to focus on instead of differences. Crimes, hate crimes, are not reducing fast enough. The facts are presented, people are being hurt and even killed daily; this alone should be incentive enough to take a stand. Every person in the country is different from the next, people must accept that and move on and build a greater nation.
Bruning, Fred. “The New U.S. Enemy Within: Homosexuals.” MacLean’s. 15 February
HRC. “The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999 H.R. 1082/S. 622.”
Isay, Richard A. Being Homosexual: gay men and their development. Northvale, New
Royse, David. “Affirmative Action Could Sway Some In Florida Campaign.” Associated
Press. 30 October 2000 http://mtv.com/sendme.tin?page=/mtv/news/chooseorlose/index.html
“High Court Denies Appeal Of Student Suspended For Displaying Confederate Flag.”
Reuters. 30 October 2000