The US government defines a hate crime as, “a criminal act (such as property damage, assault or harassment) motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against a person or group of people based on their sexual orientation, race or religion.”
While the USA first criminalized these acts in 1964, hate crimes have been occurring since the beginning of time, many being of historical note such as the Roman’s persecution of Christians, the Holocaust, and the more recent ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.
According to the FBI, local law enforcement agencies reported 9,168 hate crime offenses in 2008. Of these incidents, the victim’s sexual orientation motivated 1,617 cases, their race motivated 4,704 cases and their religion motivated 1,606 cases.
Laws and Legislation
- Anti-Defamation League A comprehensive explanation on current and proposed hate crime laws in the US.
- Congressional Research Reports A report submitted to congress to provide guidance on when violent crimes are hate crimes.
- Cornell University Law School A full text of the first hate crime legislation signed into law in 1964, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 13, 245.
- The Library of Congress A full text of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
- Find Law A full text of the Campus Hate Crimes Right to Know Act of 1997 that requires campus security officials to report any possible hate crimes to the US government.
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service A look at current proposed legislation regarding hate crimes.
- US Department of Justice A history of state legislation regarding hate crimes.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch The story of serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who targeted “mixed-race” couples.
- Mississippi Burning Case A website dedicated to this 1964 case involving the murder of three African-American men by several KKK members.
- Matthew Shepard A website dedicated to Matthew Shepard, beaten to death by two men because of his sexual orientation.
- CNN A news story detailing the shooting at an LA Jewish community center by Buford Furrow provides details of the story.
- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force An organization determined to end discrimination and eliminate hate crimes.
- Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation An article concerning defamation, hate crimes and how the media can have a large influence.
- National Center for Victims of Crime Information and resources concerning violence against gays and lesbians.
- Wikipedia A history of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
- Public Eye A look at the ideas behind white supremacy.
- Asian Nation Information regarding Asian specific hate crimes.
- Southern Poverty Law Center An article concerning anti-Mexican hate crimes and groups.
- The College of New Jersey A research paper regarding the growth of white supremacists groups.
- American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee A group dedicated to eliminating the discrimination of Arab-Americans in the post-911 US.
- Students and Teachers Against Racism Statistics of hate crimes involving Native Americans as well as other racial groups.
- US Holocaust History Memorial Museum A history of the Holocaust.
- Early Church A history of the Roman persecution of Christians.
- The American Prospect A link between Al Qaeda terrorism and hate crimes.
- September 11 Archive Information regarding the massive hate crime committed against Americans by Al Qaeda.
Psychology Behind Hate Crimes and Other Studies
- American Psychological Association A research paper on the psychology of hate crimes.
- SPSSI Provides information on current research involving the psychology behind bias-motivated crimes.
- Association for Psychological Justice A look at how psychologists approach the subject of hate crimes.
- University of Massachusetts A study on how crimes committed due to homophobia or racism are more damaging to the victim than a similar crime not motivated by hate would be.
- FBI Hate crime statistics.
Human Rights Resources
- Human Rights Watch A global group monitoring human rights issues all over the world.
- Human Rights Campaign A group working for LGBT rights.
- Human Rights First This group is working to protect human rights all over the world.
- Youth For Human Rights A youth based group working to bring awareness of human rights issues to young children and young adults.
- United Nations Human Rights A definition of human rights.
- American Civil Liberties Union A group dedicated to protecting civil and human rights for minorities.
- Human Rights Action Center A group working to bring awareness to the Declaration of Human Rights.
- Global Issues A group that focuses on political, environmental and human rights.
- Human Rights Education Association A group working to educate the public on issues concerning human rights.
- OutRight Action International A group dedicated to protecting the human rights of gays and lesbians worldwide.