May 4, 2007
Hate Crime Victimization
Hate crimes are violent crimes, hate speech or vandalism, motivated by feelings of hatred
against an identifiable social group. Hostility towards the victims of hate crimes are often
based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, or national origin. Hate
crimes differ from regular crime in that they are not motivated by economic gain. Many
factors may create a climate in which people, motivated by their biases, take criminal
action. Such factors can range anywhere from poor economic conditions to racial
stereotypes portrayed in the media.
In the United States, African-Americans, who constitute the second-largest minority
group, are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than members of any other group.
Other typical victims are whites, Christians, Jews, Muslims, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and
Asian Americans. However, hate crimes are not by definition limited to any social group.
Any individual can be a victim of a hate crime if targeted because of actual or perceived
membership in any identifiable social group.
African Americans are the most common of hate crime victimization because prejudice
still exists throughout the world.
Modern racism still occurs and it is easy for whites,
along with other races, to overlook racism when it does not affect them first hand.