Why Hate Crimes Should be Heavily Punished


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A hate crime, according to the dictionary, is a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence. Hate crimes have been all too common throughout American history, and even in modern times. While the United States is known as the ‘land of the free,’ and prides itself on the freedom of each and every American individual, the intolerance, racism, sexism, and hundreds of other problems that are ever so present in this society have become all too familiar. Shouldn’t racism be a thing of the past? Why does bigotry still exist in America? Why are specific population groups targeted and made victims of verbal or physical abuse, simply for being different? Why has this once beautiful, diverse, patriotic country succumb to a culture of hate?


Hate crimes are not new. All around the world, throughout human existence, some form of hatred has been expressed passively or violently; while it be to an individual, a religious group, or a race. As stated by Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” Similarly, several events throughout history have had the same theme and represent the same concept: hatred.


Hate crimes should be heavily punished for several reasons. To begin, this type of crime is the stepping stone to a future full of resentment and antagonism. Do you want your children, your grandchildren to remember this generation as a time of mistakes? Or a time of improvement? Additionally, simply committing a hate crime is unAmerican. Supporting the United States and its views means to be willing to accept others, no matter how different they are. Especially today, it is important to get to know a person before forcing judgements upon them. Because we live in such a diverse place, everybody has a different story, and different views. As Americans, it is our job to respect those views and to try to be more open and aware to all types of people.


Additionally, people who commit hate crimes are dangerous, and can sometimes even be considered terrorists. For this reason, the punishment of these types of people should match the full weight of the effect of the hate crime committed. Victims of these horrid crimes are not only targeted, but become even more afraid. From the beginning of American history, the United States has been a sanctuary for those seeking freedom and sanctuary from persecution. Today should be no different. People of all ethnicities, sexual identify, and religion should never be subject to attack for their differences.


One may argue, hate crimes are a way of expression in line with the first Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” In other words, Congress cannot take away the basic rights of any American individual, specifically the freedom of speech. However, while the Constitution was made to establish order and protect citizens of the United States, hate crimes go directly against the very foundation of the Constitution. While, yes, these crimes are a form of free speech, the effects it has on the nation is more damaging than helpful. Taking advantage of one’s freedom of speech leads to disaster. Expressing one’s ideas violently will only lead to more division and more violence