Hate Crimes

There is no consensus on the definition of hate crimes. However, all definitions share a common theme: At their core is the symbolic status of the hate crime victim. A crime is perpetrated because the victim represents a symbolic status that the perpetrator finds offensive. These symbolic statuses are extremely diverse in nature and may include racial or ethnic considerations (e.g., African Americans), religions (e.g., Muslims), sexual orientations (e.g., homosexuals), political affiliations (e.g., liberal), nationalities (e.g., Israeli), or even physical abnormalities (e.g., the handicapped). The killing of an African American by neo-Nazi skinheads in urban America is one example. Gay bashing in England and religious riots in India are other examples. Gang rapes in Afghanistan are still another. Hate crimes are part of the human ...

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