Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Hate Crime Victimization: Identity Politics or Identity Risk?

By Dunbar, Edward | Violence and Victims, June 2006 | Go to article overview

Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Hate Crime Victimization: Identity Politics or Identity Risk?


Dunbar, Edward, Violence and Victims


This study examined the impact of hate crimes upon gay and lesbian victims, reviewing 1,538 hate crimes committed in Los Angeles County. Differences between sexual orientation and other hate crime categories were considered for offense severity, reportage to law enforcement, and victim impact. The type of offense varied between crimes classified for sexual orientation (n = 551) and other bias-motivated crimes (n = 987). Assault, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking were predictive of sexual orientation hate crimes. Sexual orientation bias crimes evidenced greater severity of violence to the person and impact upon victim level of functioning. More violent forms of aggression were predictive of gay and lesbian victim's underreportage to law enforcement. For sexual orientation offenses, victim gender and race/ethnicity differences were predictive of the base rates of crime reportage as well. These findings are considered in terms of a group-risk hypothesis, encountered by multiple outgroup persons, that influences help-seeking behavior and ingroup identity.

Keywords: hate crimes; victimization; gay; lesbian

Hate crimes are an important social problem in contemporary U.S. society. It has been argued that hate crimes substantially impact the lives of the individual victims and the larger social context in which they occur (Herek & Berrill, 1992; Levin & McDevitt, 1993). As Bell (2003) has observed, bias-motivated aggression constitutes a "public health risk." Accordingly, there has been a concerted effort by community organizations and law enforcement to respond to persons of diverse cultural backgrounds who are the victims of sexual orientation hate crimes. As part of this initiative, the current study sought to identify what characteristics, if any, distinguished sexual orientation hate crimes from other bias-motivated hate crimes, as well as to determine whether the victim's gender and race/ethnicity influenced reportage of the offense to law enforcement.

ISSUES CONCERNING THE BASE RATES OF GAY AND LESBIAN HATE CRIME VICTIMIZATION

Research addressing the experiences of gay and lesbian hate crime victims is of concern to researchers, clinicians, and policy makers. At the same time, what is actually known about hate crimes targeting gay men and lesbians is compromised in part by the opposition of political conservatives to the inclusion of sexual orientation as a category under the federal hate crimes law. Likewise, sexual orientation continues to be excluded from many state hate crime statutes as well. Inclusion of sexual orientation in the federal hate crime law was rejected by the U.S. Senate in the late 1990s, even while hate crimes targeting gays and lesbians increased during this same period (Akiyama & Nolan, 1999).

Research on gay and lesbian hate crime victimization has focused upon qualitative and self-report methods. These studies, while important, have not examined hate crimes against gays and lesbians in comparison with similar offenses motivated by racial/ethnic or religious bias. In addition, discerning the trends and characteristics of hate crime victimization

from Federal crime data is problematic. Akiyama and Nolan (1999) have cautioned against relying upon the U.S. Uniform Crime Report data in detecting patterns of crime victimization. The limited utility of hate crime statistics underscores how little can be inferred about the issue of underreportage (Watts, M., personal communication, August 23, 2001). It would therefore be useful to include data collected by community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve hate crime victims. Comparing law enforcement and CBO data can provide a more complete examination of the patterns of intergroup violence and magnitude of harm experienced by the victims of hate crimes.

There is little information on how demographic differences influence risk for hate crime victimization. As Berk, Boyd, and Hammer (1992) have noted:

Very little is known about risk factors for hate-motivated crimes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Hate Crime Victimization: Identity Politics or Identity Risk?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.