Free Essay On The Motivation Behind Hate Crimes

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: America, People, Muslim, Middle East, Japan, United States, Hate, Crime

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/26

Many times, a crisis causes people to act in ways that they would not, particularly when it comes to finding someone to blame the problem on. Consider the American response after the attacks by the Japanese Empire on Pearl Harbor and other islands in the Pacific. Simply because they were of Japanese descent, many American citizens, either naturalized or natural-born, found themselves rounded up and herded into internment camps, especially if they lived on the Pacific coast. The federal government suspected that these people would help the Japanese launch an invasion in California, Oregon or Washington state. Even though the vast majority of these people were patriotic Americans, and the government had not uncovered any evidence that they planned to aid the Japanese, they were still confined. In the mass media, slanty-eyed characters were inserted into cartoons as a slur against Asians, and the use of the term “Jap,” seen as derogatory, appeared not only in social circles but in the mass media as a description for this culture, much like the term “Kraut” had become synonymous with Germans, both during World War I and World War II. In more modern times, the attacks on September 11, 2001, against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon led to hate crimes against Arab Americans. People who had lived in communities for years suddenly became the focus of suspicion. Arab American store owners found their establishments the targets of looting, verbal insults and harassment through email and other online channels. Many students who had come to colleges in the U.S. from Arab nations began to worry about their safety and went back home.
The vast majority of people do not act out on their feelings against particular groups. They might make jokes or even hurl insults, but the propensity toward violence is something that only a small minority would feel comfortable expressing. The murder of a Sikh owner of a gas station owner in Arizona and the attempted running down of a Pakistani woman in an upstate New York parking lot were isolated events, but just in the first two months after the attacks, the FBI had a caseload of 90 alleged hate crimes and many other reported incidents.
But why do people carry these sorts of attacks out? It’s one thing to label the people who do these hate crimes as lunatics, but researchers have found that many of these perpetrators do not suffer from mental illness, at least not in its conventional forms. However, they do report significant levels of aggression and behavior that is considered antisocial. They show a high degree of emotional disturbance, and they are the members in society who have the greatest risk of carrying out violence. In their backgrounds, many of these people have suffered from abuse at the hands of parents or other caretakers, and they use violence to solve problems in their own families. People who commit hate crimes are much more likely to plan their crimes out over time and build elaborate plans. For example, people who commit hate crimes against gays and lesbians tend to travel a long way to find their victims where they hang out. They also tend to start with minor events and escalate to more serious types of violence. The way that society feels right now with regard to a number of different groups may be contributing to the social acceptance of these types of deeds. This gives people who have that built up anger a chance to focus it on people who are also the target of other social trends.
Another factor that contributes to hate crimes is the fact that people tend to view other groups as being more homogenous than one’s own. So someone responding in the days after Pearl Harbor might see a Japanese-American and assume that he is part of the conspiracy against the United States, simply because he looks Japanese. He might not make that same assumption if Canada had invaded, because Canadians and Americans tend to resemble each other much more similarly. Japanese people look significantly different from their white counterparts. Arab Americans also look different than many of their ethnic counterparts in modern society, making it easier for those in the majority to group people together. Another factor is relative ignorance. The less one knows about a cultural group, the less likely one is to treat their members as individuals. In the modern case, Arab Americans come from a culture that is esoteric to many Americans. Arabic is a language that has its own alphabet and even reads in a direction different than that of English. Many Arabs have a different religious background as many of them are practitioners of Islam. Many Americans don’t know how to read Arabic or understand it when they hear it, and they also don’t know a whole lot about the Muslim religion. As a result, they are more likely to attribute things like the 9/11 attacks to a culture’s particular “essence,” or some sort of innate persona that they believe to be present inside the culture as a whole. Because of the aggressive nature of the Japanese Empire, as seen in their vicious attacks against mainland China and the seemingly insane method of kamikaze fighting that saw pilots deliberately commit suicide by crashing their fighters into ships with the notion of crippling them, a hysteria began to spread among the American populace, making the internment camps not only palatable but necessary to the public.
In the case of hate crimes against Arab Americans, the idea that Islam is a violent and militaristic religion is a powerful one in modern American culture. Such events as the seizure of the American embassy in Iran during the overthrow of the shah in 1980 remain in the cultural consciousness. Today, the actions of the ISIS group are doing nothing to counteract the popular conception of the militaristic tendencies of Islam, even though Muslim countries are also taking part in the struggle against that group’s desire to establish a worldwide caliphate. The American government’s attempts to sign a nuclear peace treaty that would at least delay, if not forestall altogether, the progress that Iran is making toward a nuclear weapon have run into some major obstacles coming from within the American government, as there are elements both within the opposition party and President Obama’s own political party that believe that the Iranians cannot be trusted and that no peace treaty with them will ever work. As long as these suspicions remain in place, it will be difficult to move forward in terms of finding an agreement – and in eliminating the specter of the hate crime.

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"Free Essay On The Motivation Behind Hate Crimes," Free Essay Examples -, 26-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Jun-2024].
Free Essay On The Motivation Behind Hate Crimes. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 26, 2021. Accessed June 17, 2024.

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