Is Hate a Crime?

  • “The hate crime bill outlaws thought.”
  • “The hate crime bill outlaws speech.”
  • “Does it make a difference what they were thinking?”
  • “Assault and murder are already against the law. This is just an expansion of powers.”

It’s time for another one of those posts in which I take an argument that’s been getting repetitive (very repetitive) and put the whole thing in one place in the hopes of moving forward instead of arguing in parallel. In this case, we’ve been talking about hate-crime legislation, specifically the bills that have passed in the House and are under consideration in the Senate that would extend the existing definition of hate crimes to cover crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

The four quotes at the top of the post summarize the objections I’ve seen to the law. Well, the sane objections anyway. I’m not counting the people who argue that the law would protect pedophiles under sexual orientation (“sexual orientation” under federal law has a very strict definition) or who make it clear that they think anything that happens to homosexuals is fine with them. No, these are just the legitimate, if misguided, objections to the bill, and it’s time to tackle them in one place.

“The hate crime bill outlaws thought.”

I understand the thought behind this one. If we call it a “hate crime,” doesn’t that make hate a crime? Well, no. These bills establish a federal interest in already-existing crime that is motivated by specific types of bias. That is all they do.

This claim doesn’t hold up even under the quickest reading of the proposed law. The penalties described under the bills apply to someone who “willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person”. That’s several steps beyond thought.

In fact, the Senate version of the bill ends, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.” Belief, thought and hate itself are not crimes under either of these bills.

“The hate crime bill outlaws speech.”

It may seem redundant to consider this objection separately from the prior objection. Speech doesn’t cause bodily injury any more than thought does, and the Senate version of the bill specifically clarifies that bodily injury “does not include solely emotional or psychological harm to the victim”. Speech is not considered a “dangerous weapon” under the law.

However, there are those, including the ACLU, who are concerned about protections of speech under this law. This is separate from conservative concerns that a pastor who preaches that there is a religious basis for bias could be found guilty of inciting a crime. Both bills specifically state that First Amendment rights are not revoked by passage of the law, and this would include the religious protections offered by the First Amendment.

Rather, this is a technical objection on the part of the ACLU. Specifically, they are concerned that speech or association (ages-old visits to websites, for example) that isn’t connected with a crime could be used as evidence of bias. Nor is the ACLU lobbying to keep the law from passing. They are simply making a statement that they feel the House version of the First Amendment protection, being more specific about rules of evidence, is the version that should remain when the bills are reconciled in conference.

“Does it make a difference what they were thinking?”

This argument comes from those who understand that this legislation only affect existing offenses. The suggestion is that all crime should be treated equally. Motivation shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

The problem with that idea is that we already do take motivation under advisement. This is why murder one (premeditated, deliberate death) is separate from manslaughter (death caused through actions not intended to kill). The standards of proof are different and so is the punishment handed out.

From a strictly preventive point of view, this distinction between crimes makes sense. Someone who intended to cause harm and took steps to make that harm happen has had every opportunity to turn away from committing a crime. They didn’t stop. It isn’t unreasonable to decide that such a person is less likely to stop the next time they are tempted to violence than someone who has committed violence out of carelessness.

Someone who hurts or kills another person because this person is homosexual will have many, many more opportunities to interact with homosexuals over time. If the victim’s sexual orientation is all that’s required to incite violence, this is a dangerous criminal indeed.

The criminal’s motivation is also relevant in terms of the effect such crimes have on society as a whole. The intent of bias crimes is to send a message to a group that they will not be tolerated. As such, the number of victims of a crime motivated by bias is much larger than the number of people being injured.

U.S. law has already recognized the interest of the federal government in dealing with crimes intended to intimidate and coerce beyond their immediate victims. Federal law addresses such crimes under RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) when they are motivated by profit. These bills address a smaller group of crimes when motivated by bias.

“Assault and murder are already against the law. This is just an expansion of powers.”

Assault and murder are indeed already against the law. Judges do indeed already have the scope to consider circumstances when setting sentences. This is why federal jurisdiction under these bills is limited. The exact wording will need to be hashed out in committee, but in short, federal jurisdiction for hate crimes occurs only when the state doesn’t have jurisdiction over the crime (e.g., it happens across state lines), the state doesn’t exercise its jurisdiction, or “the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.

It’s the last two circumstances that are particularly important. The criminal justice system is as prone to bias as any other organization. Judges may refuse to consider bias. Prosecutors may refuse to present evidence of it. Police departments may refuse to investigate, or they may be the source of the bias. Hate crimes legislation will expand the scope of the federal justice system, but it won’t do so in any way that our society has not already determined to be justified to preserve civil rights.

Those are the big objections I keep hearing to the hate crimes bills. I’ve answered them here, not to end debate on the bills, but to clear the way for further discussion. I do like a good argument, but I get tired of having the same argument over and over. Where does this argument go from here?

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25 Responses to “Is Hate a Crime?”

  1. July 24th, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Mike Haubrich, FCD says:

    Proving motivation is a necessary function in prosecuting any crime (except for statutory rape,) and hate crimes legislation is not a radical concept in law.

  2. July 24th, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Jason Thibeault says:

    I get the feeling that the totality of dissent against this bill comes from those who feel it threatens their ability to go on hating certain classes of people. I have seen people argue from the libertarian position that one shouldn’t rely on the government to fix anything, but that’s not dissent against this bill specifically, just all laws. Every other argument seems to come from a position of “but this’ll get our pontiff/pundit class in trouble!” Even though it really won’t.

  3. July 24th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    And we know it won’t because it hasn’t. If Limbaugh hasn’t been prosecuted for inciting racial violence under the U.S. hate crime laws already in existence, he’ll do just fine under this law.

  4. July 24th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    will shetterly says:

    As an egalitarian, I have a problem with different laws for different folks, no matter how well-intended the laws are. But rather than get into the philosophy, I’ll try to stick to the practical: Is there any evidence that hate crime laws make anyone safer?

  5. July 24th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    That is an excellent place for the discussion to go next, Will. I don’t know. I’ll have to see what I can find out.

  6. July 24th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    DuWayne says:

    Will, this isn’t a different law for different folks – what makes you think it is? If I attack someone only because they are a fundamentalist christian loon, I would be just as guilty of a hate crime as someone who attacked one of my queer friends, just because they are queer. Whereas if I attack a fundamentalist christian loon, because they were actually doing something that really pissed me off, I am no more guilty of a hate crime, than a person who attacked one of my queer friends, because said friend knocked over his beer or something.

    It is no different than recognizing the difference between a women who kills her husband, because she wants the inheritance and insurance, and a women who kills her husband moments after coming home unexpectedly to find him in bed with her sister.

    In essence, these are very different crimes – even though the result is the same. So rather than being different laws for different people, this is a different law for different crimes.

    Is there any evidence that hate crime laws make anyone safer?

    I really don’t see that as a very important consideration, though I should suspect that it would. Having read accounts of various hate crimes (I seem to recall Matthew Shepard’s murder’s made similar comments), they are often committed on a whim. The perpetrators make a relatively casual decision to attack someone of the group they despise. Depending on the balls the hate crime legislation is given, it could be a very effective deterrent.

    Personally, I would really much prefer lumping these folks in with domestic terrorists (such as elf and alf fucking shitbags), call them what they are and create a reasonable policy for dealing with all of these fucking terrorists – one that ensures that a very few of them will see the outside of prison – ever. I am going to hazard an assumption here, and say that would probably put a big dent into this sort of fucking bullshit.

  7. July 24th, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    will shetterly says:

    DuWayne, I should’ve answered Mike’s point earlier: motivation really isn’t much of a factor in the law currently. Investigations are evidence-driven, not theory-driven, and court-room arguments are based on who did what, not who might’ve wanted to do what. (Yes, humans aren’t creatures of pure logic, but no law can address that.)

    As for the double standard, a killing is a killing, a rape is a rape, and torture is torture. They’re all wrong, and they should all be punished equally. That’s the point of equality. Saying that “hate” makes a crime worthy of a greater punishment just doesn’t work for me. I stay on the side of “Punish the crime, not the motivation.”

    Racial hate crimes have resulted in extra punishment for a number of people of color. It’ll be interesting to see if any GBLT offenders are charged with hate crimes for harming “straight” people.

  8. July 24th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    a daughter's mother says:

    The one justification that I accept for a hate crimes law is the likelihood of repetition of the crime. An assault or killing committed in the heat of the moment, say from an argument or fight, is generally oriented towards a specific person. You can’t kill them twice. A hate crime makes a whole class of people your potential victims, and the odds increase that you will keep offending against anyone in the class. Higher punishment is imposed in the belief that you will be kept from hurting people in that class for at least a longer period of time.

  9. July 24th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    D. C. Sessions says:

    What’s funny is that the same people who get the biggest wedgies from “hate crime” laws are the same ones who want to expand “domestic terrorism” laws. Despite all that they have in common.

  10. July 24th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    DuWayne says:

    DuWayne, I should’ve answered Mike’s point earlier: motivation really isn’t much of a factor in the law currently. Investigations are evidence-driven, not theory-driven, and court-room arguments are based on who did what, not who might’ve wanted to do what.

    Motivation is very much a part of lawenforcement. It makes a huge difference in the investigations and the punishment for crimes. And I’m not sure where you would get the idea that theories aren’t a significant part of the picture, but without them and without all the evidence sitting in a nice tidy pile, crimes would never be solved, because the evidence would never be found. Cops are constantly forming theories based on the available evidence – in some cases several of them and that is how they get out and find more. It’s a lot like science – science is absolutely driven by evidence – but it is also driven by hypothesis and theories that are the result of the best evidence available and the ideas people come up with because of that evidence.

    The fact is that murder isn’t just murder and they certainly should not be punished equally. There is a huge difference between a women who calculates and coldly works out a plan to murder her husband because she has come to hate him, but love the things he provides – or that his death will provide – and a women who comes home and finds her husband fucking her sister and loses it, killing him.

    The first women should never see the light of day again – period. The latter should probably get some mental health treatment along with a prison sentence, but should also end up back in society again someday.

    Or someone who steals because they can and they want to – something a lot of rich and middle class kids do – and someone who is stealing because they’re fucking starving. Same result – something has been stolen, but I would posit, a very different crime.

    Hate crimes is a really shitty way to put it – would it help if we called it what it is? Because it is nothing but another type of fucking terrorism. The people who perpetrate these crimes are doing so because they don’t approve of anyone who fits into a certain sub-population. They are not committing a crime against a specific individual, which means that you can’t try to deduce what other individual they might attack at a later date. No one who belongs to that sub-population is going to be safe from that person.

    What planet do you live on, that motivation is not a significant aspect of criminal law? Sorry to jump around and end up back here, but the mind boggles. You do understand that quite often an important part of proving a criminal committed a crime, is showing their motivation for committing it??? And there is no reason that evidence can’t be used to show that motive – it is done all the time. The officers or detectives don’t just wander into court and say “yeah, we know this guy really hated the victim.”

    I might as well ask you now, since I suspect more and more that this play into your view of crime and punishment – just what the hell do you mean, when you say you’re egalitarian? Not what the word means, because I know that and understand the concept quite well. What does being egalitarian mean to you?

  11. July 24th, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Jason Thibeault says:

    What’s funny is that the same people who get the biggest wedgies from “hate crime” laws are the same ones who want to expand “domestic terrorism” laws. Despite all that they have in common.

    Hate crimes is a really shitty way to put it – would it help if we called it what it is? Because it is nothing but another type of fucking terrorism.

    Ding ding ding! There you have it, my position in a nutshell. Hate crimes should be classified under existing terrorist laws, because “terrorist” means a hell of a lot more than “guy in a turban that hates America for its freedoms”. (Especially since this is an entirely false picture of your actual terrorist enemies.)

  12. July 25th, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    There are four elements of a crime, Will.
    1. There must be a law.
    2. There must be a criminal act.
    3. There must be intent, or a mens rea
    4. There must be concurrence.

    The mens rea, or motivation must be established in order to prove a crime occurred, and in addition to classify the crime. Not to rehash, but it makes a difference as others have stated.

    I am almost with DuWayne on this, but in the opposite direction. I think, instead that domestic terrorism and all terrorism should be reclassified as “hate crimie,” and political motivations be classified as “hate.” The reason is that we have seen that classifying terrorism separately makes it a function of war, and an excuse to discard standard rules of civil rights. It brings in military tribunals, whose standards of evidence and defense are far more nebulous and allow for detention without charge.

    I think it is important to make sure that the rights of the accused are protected, because they protect my rights against false accusation as much as they do the criminals’.

    I was there, in San Francisco, when gays were getting rolled and beaten just for being gay. It happened to someone with whom I had a passing acquaintance on Polk Street and California. He was attacked by a gang of kids who had driven in to San Francisco from Richmond and just wanted to beat up some fags. Their purpose was to strike fear in “fags.” When they were arrested, they were treated lightly by the courts.

    And Will, when we start to see skinhead gangs of GLBT roaming the streets “curbing” straights, I think that they should also be prosecuted for hate crimes. I just haven’t ever heard of it happening.

  13. July 25th, 2009 at 11:36 am

    will shetterly says:

    @ 8, serial criminals already get longer sentences. Judges are supposed to weigh the likelihood of repeating an offense.

    @9, uh, no. There’s an overlap, but I’m not in it. You’ll find both right and left libertarians who dislike hate crimes and police power.

    @10, intent and motivation are different. Intent is about whether you planned to do what you did. Motivation is about what might have been behind the intent. With hate crimes, the law goes from punishing a deed to punishing a motivation.

    Egalitarian means everyone is treated the same. The US hasn’t done that throughout its history. But creating new laws to treat people differently is not the solution.

    @12, in trial, sometimes the motivation comes out. Sometimes we don’t have a clue why someone did something, but the person gets sentenced anyway, because the evidence supports it.

    Yes, people get hurt for a lot of stupid reasons. But it’s the act that matters. The idea that GLBT people have never been protected by the law is not founded on an examination of the evidence. Do GLBT people still get hurt by hateful people? Of course. The world is full of hateful people. But the solution is to keep emphasizing love. No gay basher is going to think, “Oh, I shouldn’t hurt a gay person because the punishment is greater now.” Though if there’s evidence that’s so, I would appreciate a link.

    If this all sounds cold on my part, I’m sorry. Hurting anyone is horrible. But harsher punishments that creep into thought crime are not the solution.

  14. July 25th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    DuWayne says:

    Mike -

    I think that rather than deciding to rename terrorist acts “hate crimes,” we should be changing how we deal with terrorism. I for one, have always believed that terrorism is an essentially criminal act. Ultimately treating as anything different is a relatively recent development and one which I think was a really bad idea, as it merely lent credibility to fucking terrorist shitbags. The problem that I have with labeling it all “hate crime” is that there is a lot of activity that falls or should fall under the guise of terrorism that just doesn’t reasonably fit into a hate paradigm.

    Someone who destroys the labs of people who do animal research are not as solid a fit as someone who assaults fundamentalist Christians, because they happen to be Christians. Someone who blows up development projects is not as solid a fit as someone who straps a bomb to their chest and takes out a health clinic staffed by western health care workers. Someone who tags all the properties on their “turf” and takes part in a drive-by shooting of the home of someone trying to get the fucking gangs out of their neighborhood, doesn’t fit as well as someone who hides in their trunk, shooting random victims with a sniper rifle. Yet as far as I am concerned, all of these are terrorist actions and all of them are essentially criminal activities.

  15. July 25th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    DuWayne says:

    Will -

    Motivation is different than intent – never said it wasn’t. But in the examples I gave, motive is as important as intent. Whether the wife who comes home and finds the husband in bed with her sister intended to commit the crime beforehand or not, her motive is tantamount. Because if she came home, found her husband had left his damned underwear on the living room floor again, flew into a rage and killed him, she has committed a different crime. Yes, it was a crime of passion – of sorts, but it was not as justified on it’s face, as the wife who killed her husband for fucking her sister. Which is not to say that the first wife had a right or should have killed her husband – merely that her’s is a far more reasonable excuse for having done so.

    And in the case of someone who steals crap because they love the thrill, versus someone who steals because they are hungry, motive becomes a really important factor. As does the motive of the person who has a pathological need to steal things. The crime is the same, but you have significantly different motivations that ultimately make the crimes significantly different. And the punishments should absolutely be different in each of those situations, entirely based on the motives behind those crimes.

    Egalitarian means everyone is treated the same. The US hasn’t done that throughout its history. But creating new laws to treat people differently is not the solution.

    First, while I am all for people identifying themselves as they wish and respecting their desires (which I certainly will in this case as well), the reason I was confused is that egalitarian in my vernacular, indicates a lack of hierarchy. Second, while accepting and understanding your position, I don’t accept the premise that this law would somehow treat people differently. That is why I gave the example of hate crime that I did – it is just as much a hate crime, if the victim is victimized because they are a fundamentalist Christian, as it is if the victim is one of my gay friends. No one is getting some special treatment, based on the subpopulation they commit a hate crime, or as I prefer it, a terrorist act against.

    But harsher punishments that creep into thought crime are not the solution.

    The problem is that this isn’t a matter of thought crime, it’s a matter of accepting that the motive matters and that motive plays a role in how we deal with the criminal. And this is most definitely a role that is far from unique to the concept of hate crime or terrorism. On a daily basis motive is used to help determine the guilt of a suspect, the crime they will be charged with and the sentence they will receive. It certainly doesn’t always play into any of those and doesn’t necessarily play into all of them when it does one, nor does it always carry equal weight. But to pretend that it is irrelevant is to deny a critical aspect of making our criminal justice system just.

  16. July 25th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    will shetterly says:

    DuWayne, can you point to any criminal case other than a hate crime case where motive was a factor in the decision? The only possible example I can think of is when someone goes missing and the only evidence of a crime is the absence of a person. Those cases are very hard to win, and they’re usually won because there’s a record of threats or spousal abuse.

    You stil seem to be confusing motive with intent. Whether something was premeditated is about intent, not motivation. Whether someone was criminally insane is not about motive–criminally insane people have many crazy motives, and it doesn’t matter whether you think God or the saucer people told you to do what you did. Crimes of desperation are also tricky–we don’t send people to prison for stealing bread anymore, but that’s because the problem for the poor in the US is malnutrition, not starvation. So a desperation defense would not get anyone very far under most circumstances.

    The reason a criminal act was premeditated is where motive comes in. In theory, before hate crimes, the law treated everyone equally by focusing on deeds. It didn’t, of course, because rich people get all kinds of favoritism, but that was the theory. Hate crime laws changed the theory.

    It should make no difference why a person is attacked. What matters is the attack, and in an egalitarian system, every person has equal worth. I hear the argument that because blacks and women and GLBT historically didn’t get as much protection as white men, they should now get more. But that just keeps the cycle of exceptionalism going. The simpler solution is to say we’ll finally enforce the same laws for everyone.

    We’re probably at philosophical deadend now, so I’ll drop out of the discussion. But if you can cite any cases where motive was a significant factor or point to any evidence that hate crimes have made anyone safer, I’ll be grateful.

    A PS: The provision may have been dropped, but part of the current Hate Crimes proposal included expanding the death penalty–another thing that has never been shown to be a deterrent. I generally like laws that make people safer, and I don’t like laws that don’t.

  17. July 26th, 2009 at 7:53 am

    DuWayne says:

    Will -

    I hear the argument that because blacks and women and GLBT historically didn’t get as much protection as white men, they should now get more.

    I do hope that you will recognize that this is not at all what I am personally arguing, nor would I. In fact I argue the point the way I have been, because I can very much see the possibility that, for example, fundamentalist Christians may become a hated minority (to a certain degree, not necessarily a bad thing). I am not arguing for any exceptionalism. I am merely arguing for the recognition that attacking someone because they did something that made you angry, is a different crime than attacking them because they belong to a subpopulation you despise and attacking absolutely anyone who is part of that population would have satisfied your need.

    First, I would love to cite cases, but I really don’t have time to look. I am not trying to cop out, but I have one test today and four more this next week, including a final. Then I pick up my kids for a twelve day stint on Friday, with two more finals to go. I made the brilliant decision to pack three academically intensive classes (12 credits) that normally fit sixteen week semesters, into a twelve week for my online psych and eight weeks for cultural anthropology and physical geography. I still have about twelve pages of papers to write as well. I am just a wee bit frazzled at the moment…

    Second, I am not trying to argue for the current proposal – I know nothing about it really. I can assure you that if those death penalty provisions are part of the package, I will be writing my congresscritters to strenuously object to it’s passage. I am no different than you, in that I do not support laws that are unlikely to make people safer and have objected to the death penalty most of my life. I don’t believe it is worth the risk of ever executing someone who did not actually commit the crime. I have seen plenty of evidence that it is absolutely not a deterrent. There is no excuse, given either of those factors and when put together they inexorably damn the whole notion.

    Finally, I would ask you one last question. Not assuming that the definition would be expanded to include the crimes we’re talking about here, would you support the recognition and additional punishment of terrorist acts? For example, crimes which were anonymously claimed to be terrorist acts and for which the perpetrators were captured and prosecuted. Cases where the admitted aim, was to inspire terror? Such as someone who sends out a press-release saying they were doing this to stop further development in a particular area and then blows the hell out of a housing development under construction?

    And I am not trying to catch you in some inconsistency. I can totally see someone supporting that and not supporting hate crime laws or the expansion of terrorism to cover them. Personally I would perceive that as inconsistent, but I can see why one would not.

  18. July 26th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    will shetterly says:

    DuWayne, I don’t like special categories for “terrorists” or anyone. If your bomb hurts people, you should be tried for hurting people. If you terrorize someone in the sense of harassing them, that’s a crime, and it doesn’t matter if you’re harassing them because they’re your high school teachers or members of a religious group you don’t like. I’ve never seen a hate crime or a terrorist law that didn’t strike me as redundant or divisive.

    Good luck with the tests!

  19. July 26th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Marge says:

    “Hate Bill” Favoritism

    If “hate bill”-obsessed Congress can’t protect Christians from “gays” as much as it wants to protect “gays” from Christians, will Congress be surprised if it can’t protect itself from most everyone? If “hate bills” are forced on captive Americans, they’ll still find ways to sneakily continue to “plant” Biblical messages everywhere. By doing so they’ll hasten God’s judgment on their oppressors as revealed in Proverbs 19:1. (See related web items including “David Letterman’s Hate, Etc.,” “Separation of Raunch and State,” “Michael the Narc-Angel,” and “Obama Avoids Bible Verses.”) Since Congress can’t seem to legislate “morality,” it’s making up for it by legislating “immorality”!

  20. July 26th, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Joseph says:

    “SRLP ANNOUNCES NON-SUPPORT OF THE GENDER EMPLOYMENT NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT!”: http://srlp.org/node/301

    Another thing to consider: these laws can be used against the very people they are supposed to protect. Before I read the above link, I was very much in support of hate crime legislation, but now I’m not so sure.

    Violence motivated by racism or homophobia is despicable, but unfortunately the Law of Unintended Consequences is seemingly the only inescapable one.

  21. July 27th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Can you please clarify what you mean?

  22. July 28th, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Joseph says:

    Sorry. What I meant to say was this:

    First, I have no problem philosophically or ideologically with hate-crime legislation. I totally agree with everything Stephanie Zvan wrote above.

    However, an organization dedicated to supporting LGBT rights (the Sylvia Rivera Law Project) wrote a paper saying that it did not support hate crime laws. The reasons it gave were that hate crime laws are often used to persecute the people who are supposedly being protected by these laws, and that there is little evidence that the laws have any effect on reducing the occurrence of hate-motivated violence. The announcement can be found at http://srlp.org/node/301 . There is a list of references at the bottom of the page.*

    I hope this is a little less incoherent than my first comment. I just think that this is a consideration that should be brought up in this discussion.

    * For example, from the FBI website on hate crimes :
    “18.3 percent [of racially-motivated hate crime victims] were victims of an anti-white bias.” (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2007/victims.htm)

  23. July 29th, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Joseph, thank you. Their references are on my reading list.

  24. July 29th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    will shetterly says:

    Joseph, excellent link. Thanks!

  25. July 29th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Mark Zamen says:

    This is a very good post; accurate, thoughtful, succinct yet comprehensive, and well written. It presents a strong argument in favor of the appropriateness and need for such protections for certain categories of persons. It is a sad fact that a large segment of society still regards gay men and women (among various minorities) as second-class citizens – or worse. That is the salient point of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for acceptance (of himself and by others). More information on the book is available at http://www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html.

    Mark Zamen, author

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