A cheerful and happy Tuesday to you. I am still not 100 percent, and I have been sorting more of my old school samples for my students and it does always get my soul working, I hate social injustices. I honestly believe that ALL men are created as equal. So I am going to play around with a piece completer with my year 11 history students in 2006.
My students had rather heated discussions with me laying out their ideas. I have always had a rather solid set for the validity of Hate Crime Laws. Never one to discard any viewpoint I had a look at some of the information they had used and found myself looking into the issue further. So I have decided to make it into the unit for the term and see how the students present their views, and as we all believed in equality, I also did a paper following the same rules and my students marking it. Yes, I really do believe that my students had the right to grade me as I graded them. If you are interested I got 76% which was in the middle of the range.
In many countries the laws in place, state that a person can be charged with committing a hate crime if it is deemed that the crime was as a result of hatred. I know that we have fought long and hard to gain the equality and justice we have with our legal systems today. Is this what is adding to the ever-increasing incidences of bullying in our communities? Are our laws actually inflaming the problems? Now I did warn you at the start to not yell at me, so just let me walk you through this reasoning.
A couple of days ago I talked about Rosa Parks and how her actions highlighted the racial problems in the US of A. This led to gradual change whereby every American is afforded the same rights and privileges’ of citizenship. This was a huge step in the right direction. African Americans became more equal than they were but what about the other ethnic groups in America. Native Americans, Jews, Muslims, Hispanic to name just a few, did they get included in this shift in thinking? What of those with different ideologies, religions or sexual orientations? Did this change the thinking to only include those, that at that time, empowered themselves to change their destiny?
To commit a crime against a man because his skin is a different colour then it is deemed as a hate crime. To commit a crime based on the sexual orientation and/or gender identity can be considered a hate crime. And this is as it should be! No enlightened society should ever tolerate a crime that is committed simply because a person is not like you! (My class pointed out to me that most crime is based on hatred. Stop and let us think about that for a moment or two. )
MOST CRIMES ARE COMMITTED BASED IN HATRED.
In Australia, your typical models of a hate crime would comprise the fire-bombing of a synagogue or a mosque or gay-bashings but not a rape, even if it can be identified that hatred was the foundation for the rape. I could find plenty of reports that looked at the level of violence and hate crimes against minority groups (racist violence, homophobic violence in the school system, violence against women with disabilities, violence against lesbians and gay men) but I could not find any figures that show how these reports and studies actually impact in a real way to protect these citizens.
While the laws in America vary from State to State the FBI does actually have data that is easy to find and understand The FBI states that for 2011, that 20.8 % of incidents were motivated by a sexual orientation bias, while 19.8% were motivated by a religious bias. Racial bias incidents encompass the highest percentage of reported hate crimes. There were 6,216 single-bias incidents of which 46.9 % were motivated by a racial bias.
What my researching today showed was that no matter which first world country I Googled they all have some form of law to cover a crime committed by hatred. Very noble! But what of the other crimes?
NOW IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO STOP AND ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT THE ISSUE.
- A gay boy bullied at school takes his own life because of the taunts about his life choices it is treated as a crime of hate.
- A computer geek with acne and two left feet takes his own life because of the taunts he has had to endure since grade school is a tragic event.
- A girl wearing a burqa is bashed up because of her faith, this is a hate crime.
- A girl attacked because she is in the wrong neighbourhood is just an assault.
- The local police station is bombed because a couple of thugs want revenge for perceived wrongs, it is just a bombing.
- The local mosque is firebombed it is a hate crime.
- A ‘white’ man is dragged from his vehicle and beaten into a coma by any minority group it is assault.
- A ‘black’ man is pulled from his car by a group of angry whites and beaten into a coma it is a hate crime.
While the about list are just examples I have based them in similar crimes that I have found in newspapers as I researched this topic. Can we see a pattern here? Crime is crime and the colour of your skin; the God you believe in; your gender; your impairment or your sexual orientation should not be allowed to be the focal point. You have been savaged by a bully and that is the behaviour society should be addressing.
While we divide up the crimes into categories of ‘not so bad’, ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ based on the race, religion, creed, gender or sexual orientation of the victims, as a society we are permitting BULLIES to terrorise us! Each crime should be judged as it is presented in court, and not left up to the media to add prejudices to whatever crime they feel will enhancement their rating that week.
As a society, we should refuse to accept any violent behaviour, be it in the home, workplace, shopping centre, school or in the street. We should petition our government’s to change the laws so that those who are found guilty of a violent crime are punished accordingly. This is the way to ensure that justice is serviced and not just seen to be served. We should demand that the reports and studies are actually converted into authentic laws that work to protect those who are been branded and brutalised by thugs.
In Australia, we have our laws for discrimination under review. Please read these and stay up-to-date on this debate. It is only after these ridiculous bills are passed via parliament and the consequences ripple out, that the citizens of this nation get up in arms. Sorry, it is too late then to get vocal.
As I close I will leave you to ponder this! I found a couple of sites where women had been raped as a punishment for their sexual preference but I could not find a single study or report where this was looked at! It is considered as neither a crime nor a hate crime? I did not include it in my essay due to the age of the students.