Hate Crimes Book Review – Part 1

Specific hate crimes are usually tied to gender, race, ethnicity, religion, poverty, politics, sexual orientation, Anti-Semitism, environmental protection, and several other social conditions. The book touches on each of these issues and provides controversial and contradictory information so that the reader can have different points of view. Therefore, one can make their own decision and can start critically thinking about the various issues.

The author places importance on not only reasons for hate crimes but possible solutions such as expanding the current laws to include many types of hate crimes. In addition, the writer brings out the flip side of each argument by showing the opposing view point. For example, in the first chapter he stresses how serious hate crimes are in the world today. Then, in a later chapter he states these crimes may not be that serious and are over exaggerated. The writer explains that the Uniform Crime Reporting System (UCR) was formed to collect data against hate crimes. However, many enforcement agencies don't use the UCR. This makes it extremely difficult to get true statistics on these crimes. The author in this book has to base his arguments on many different methods since there is a lack of statistics. The book Hate Crimes was brought together by combining different types of research such as newspapers, periodicals, other books, government documents, and publications of organizations.

One of the author's main debates is whether stricter laws should be enacted against hate crimes. By enforcing stricter laws against hate crimes, minority populations would be more protected. As a result, less people would be victimized. On the contrary, enforcing these laws would be unconstitutional because it goes against our freedom of speech. The author points out that people can have prejudice thoughts and speak their mind. That is part of our First Amendment. Thinking, believing, and even hating is not something government can punish. Yet, on the other hand, people may believe that the expression of hateful and prejudice ideas causes harm to others even if there is no criminal misconduct.

Stricter hate crime laws may actually increase prejudice rather than reduce it. This happens because a person won't change their bigoted ways after being convicted of a hate crime. Many times that person is now viewed as a hero or martyr among their peers. Now, others will follow suit and show hatred against other groups to increase their standing among their friends. So this vicious cycle continues and produces more hate crimes rather than eliminate them. More importantly, sending people to jail without reform doesn't create positive change. Jails are the most prejudice places in our society.

Another main contention is about the extent of hate crimes and violence against women. Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994 to protect women from violence. Since men are typically stronger, women are more vulnerable and needed this act to protect them. The author then showed that the VAWA Act was anti-male. Some women made false claims but were atomically believed. Many feminists tried to play on people's emotions and allege violence when in many instances it didn't occur. The worst injustice is that millions of dollars were given to VAWA to help provide free legal assistance to victims but accused men could not receive assistance. Our Constitution is based on innocence until proven guilty. Men did not receive this right.