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Hate Crimes Public Opinion

Hate Crimes Public Opinion - Daniel Wittels A View of...

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Daniel Wittels A View of Public Opinion on Hate Crimes in the United States As few as fifty years ago the word hate crime didn’t exist; today it is seen as an intolerable problem requiring serious attention. Although we generally envision this situation as appalling, our society has tended to concentrate on other issues before addressing hate crimes. Because few people believe they will be affected by hate crimes, our attention tends to drift to other more general issues that affect a broader spectrum of Americans such as the economy or terrorism. It seems that when Americans feel that good times are occurring, hate crimes and other similar issues are more likely to be focused upon by individuals. Of course, during times of hardship caused by whatever source, our minds wander away from hate crimes. A hate crime is defined by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary as “a crime that violates the victim's civil rights and that is motivated by hostility to the victim's race, religion, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender.” 1 Although we have relegated the importance of hate crimes, the issue leads to very definitive trends in our support for hate crime laws and protection from said crimes. The evidence I have collected also supports the theory that when asked to consider hate crimes and their implications, people overwhelmingly favor harsher sentences for hate crimes no matter whom the crimes are committed against. These two points have shown consistent over the past decade. Though most Americans agree that hate crimes remain a serious problem, the apathy and lack of universality prevents them from becoming a priority.
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