Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics

By James B. Jacobs; Kimberly Potter | Go to book overview

bers of Jews from Russia and Poland "are entirely unfit to become citizens of this country . . . they are lawless, scheming, defiant . . . just the same as the criminal Jews who crowd our police court dockets in New York." 115


Others

Admittedly, reported violence against women may be at historic highs. But if so, this fact may not be as ominous as it appears. Earlier in this century, society was far less attuned and sympathetic to victimized women; women, therefore, were often too embarrassed to report their victimization, and often had no one to whom they could report it. In the past, women had a less influential role in society. It may be, then, that violence against women is not on the rise, even if reported violence is.

As for homosexuals, it may be that the number of incidents of victimization (not just number of reports) is at a historic high. Until recently, gays and lesbians feared to openly affirm or demonstrate their sexual orientation. The visible population of homosexuals was smaller, so the number of potential victims was smaller. As the number of openly homosexual individuals has increased, the number (though not necessarily the rate) of crimes committed against them may also have increased. 116 However, on this issue, there are no trend data whatsoever.


Conclusion

Advocacy groups for gays and lesbians, Jews, blacks, women, Asian Americans, and disabled persons have all claimed that recent unprecedented violence against their members requires special hate crime legislation. These groups have sought to call attention to their members' victimization, subordinate status, and need for special governmental assistance. Journalists and academics have accepted the existence of a hate crime epidemic almost without question and, on occasion, even when statistics show just the opposite. The Hate Crime Statistics Act has failed to provide any reliable data on hate crime. But, for what they are worth, its reports show very small numbers of hate crimes, the majority of which are low-level offenses.

Minority groups have good reasons for claiming that we are in the throes of an epidemic. An "epidemic" demands attention, remedial actions, resources, and reparations. The electronic and print media also have an incentive to support the existence of a rampant hate crime epidemic. Crime sells; so does racism, sexism, and homophobia. Garden

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Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - What is Hate Crime? 11
  • Conclusion 27
  • 3 - Hate Crime Laws 29
  • Conclusion 42
  • 4 - Social Construction of a Hate Crime Epidemic 45
  • Conclusion 63
  • 5 - The Politics of Hate Crime Laws 65
  • Conclusion 77
  • 6 - Justification for Hate Crime Laws 79
  • Conclusion 90
  • 7 - Enforcing Hate Crime Laws 92
  • Conclusion 109
  • 8 - Hate Speech, Hate Crime, and the Constitution 111
  • Conclusion 128
  • 9 - Identity Politics and Hate Crimes 130
  • Conclusion 144
  • 10 - Policy Recommendations 145
  • Notes 155
  • Bibliography 187
  • Table of Cases 199
  • Index 201
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