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Violence Against Minorities the US
After events in Orlando Florida the conversation is once again on hate crimes in America. People, including myself, want to know why these heinous acts are committed, who is committing them, and who is ultimately affected by them. Violence has reached new highs in the U.S. causing new lows for community’s who lose their love ones, friends, and families. The only way to stop new crimes is to learn about them in order to prevent or stop the fatality’s before it is too late.
In order to understand a hate crime we must start from the beginning; what is a hate crime? Ultimately that is what violence toward a minority group is, a hate crime. Textbook definition tells us, hate crimes is intent to intimidate individual victims, members of victims’ community, other members or separate communities historically victimized by hate, these crimes are illegal in the U.S., although not as reported as other crimes. The most affected are minorities usually by groups like the KKK, anti-immigration groups who claim to warn people about the impact of illegal immigration, have in fanned debate by invoking dehumanizing, racist stereotypes and bigotry often sprouting invasion by immigrants will bring disease and violence, and corrupt Gov. Officials i.e. the police who have since January of 2016 had 564 people die in their custody.
The U.S. and its citizens need to learn how to fix the root of our problem while systematically creating and passing laws to protect those who our targeted and punish those responsible for bring harm and fear to the victims. Passing laws that give minorities rights and imposing higher gun reform is the first step in the right direction. We need to also allow more research to be done for these crimes. Currently the CDC is forbidden from doing research by the GOP on Gun Violence in America, dismantling the death grip of the senate by the GOP is also a step forward to a safer future.
When I began my research I began looking up articles online, the first one that popped up told was in 2007; 51% or reported hate crimes were race based, 18.4% were based on religion, 16.6% on sexual orientation, and 13.3% on ethnicity. Comparatively to a 2014 survey by the same source the; HCSA (Hate Crime Statistics Act) bureau of the FBI, 48.5% were based on race, 20.8% on sexual orientation, 17.4% by religious bias, 11.1% ethnicity, and 8% or gender/gender-identity. So in theory race based crimes have gone down but crimes against people of other religion, sexuality, ethnicity, and gender have risen in only 7 years.
Although racial bias has gone down it does not mean it is gone, with it still being over half the reported crimes. The statistics also show us which race is still being targeted the most. In the 2007 HCSA report it says; 69% of race based hate crimes were committed against African Americans, 19% were committed against whites, 4.9% against Asian/pacific islander. Compared to the same HCSA report but from 2014 it says; 66.4% motivated against African Americans, 21.4% against whites, 4.6% Asian/Pacific Islanders, 4.3% on Native Americans/ Alaskans Natives. The report also showed that back in 2007 for 4 years in a row the highest rise was on Hispanic Americans and a rise in 6% on gay men and women.
In an interview with Bernard Melekin, Director for the U.S. Dept. of Justice offices of community orientated Policing services (COPS) he talks about the role police play in the handling and treatment of hate crimes in the U.S., he says talked about community policing and what it means and deemed it a “a practice to the deliveries of police services that includes building relationships in solving the problems of the people that you serve”. He promptly added that a good example of community policing practice is when “building relationships with people of the community to help recognize it’s a part of their job to build relationships”. He explains to us just how community policing can help people address hate crimes by adding “ our job is to provide a venue where people can come together, to recognize to hate some or someone that you’ve had face to face contact with and put a human face to the police”.
Most people understand it’s hard to report a hate crime and as hard to collect data on that crime, when asked why Melekin answered “In order for an officer to classify something as a hate crime they must be able to identify the motive of the suspect and without it there is no classification”. Many discredit hate crime classification which in turn he told us why it’s so important to have a crime classified as a hate crime, “These crimes should always be looked at as a symptom of community’s health and not simply for its own sake”. He also offered an explanation on just how community policing serve victims’, “ the worst part of being a victim of assault on your essence, is being made to feel like things, like objects, like they don’t count, policing helps restore humanity and puts victims’ back into the fabric of their community’.
The last message that Melekin had to say was to the police department leaders of the U.S., “Police need to be put on a bigger city effort finding comment places of interaction and whether that is community gatherings, some neighborhood, places outside of crises, and to always take hate crimes seriously’. The interview helped give a lot of insight on how the police feel on hate crimes and their feeling on the importance of recognizing and classifying hate crimes.
During research it was surprising to see that while our society claims we are a more open and receiving society we need to work on and the stop the long history or crime and violence against minority groups from the color of ones skin to whom they choose to have in their bed at night. The only real way to stop the process is to call ourselves out on bias and put legislature for protective right on track as well as gun and police reform. No more events like Orlando or the deaths of kids like Mike Brown need to happen. We as a country need to step up to bigotry and racism and no longer turn a blind eye to brutality or institutional racism. There is white privilege and there is a wage gap and there is a way to stop violence.
© 2016 Nikki Bradstorm