Hate crimes usually occur when a person is targeted because of their skin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, or gender identity. “Hate crimes” generally refers to a criminal act that is motivated by hate by one or more conditions involving physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, and offensive graffiti or letters. Concern about hate crimes has increased among policymakers in the recent years, but this type of crime is not new it has happened in the past multiple times. Examples of the past include the Roman persecution of Christians, the Nazi’s “Final Solution” of the Jews, and recently the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and genocide in Rwanda. Hate crimes have made and even defined history throughout the world.
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The first Klan was founded in 1865 by Tennessee Confederate army veterans and its purpose was to restore supremacy to the south after the civil war. The Klan would resort to assaulting and even murdering freedmen and white Republicans. In 1915 the second Klan was formed and it grew rapidly in a period of postwar social tensions when the north was attracting numerous amounts of immigrants from southern and Eastern Europe and the Great Migration of southern blacks and whites. During the Klan’s reign they would preach about racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Communism, and anti-Semitism. During this time a lot of the local groups were performing lynchings, and attacks on private households and carried out other violent activities which had a tradition of being lawless. The name Ku Klux Klan has been used by many other groups that are opposing the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. It is actually estimated that the group now has a 150 chapters and the U.S. Government classifies them as hate groups, with operations within small local towns.
A lot of those that oppose hate crime laws, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found that hate crime laws criminalize speech or symbolic speech conflict with free speech rights because they isolate based on their content. Some have even argued that crime laws will disrupt laws and further divide society. There are also those who oppose laws on hate crimes because of the power that legislative gives to the prison industrial complex. There is no evidence that suggests that hate crime laws would even have an effect on hate crimes. In many cases, it is hard to prove that the crime was motivated on hate. Since 41 states already have hate crime laws, introducing more federal laws to this area of law can result in double prosecution in many instances.