Hate crime research paper.
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Ii. hate crime laws, a. for and against hate crime legislation, b. federal and state hate crime laws, iii. hate crime statistics, a. national hate crime statistics reported through summary ucr, b. national hate crime statistics through ncvs, iv. hate crime theory, a. group conflict theory, b. social learning theory, c. strain theory, v. hate crime perpetrators, a. characteristics of hate crime perpetrators, b. situational factors associated with hate crime, c. emerging typology, vi. organized hate group members, vii. hate crime victims, a. problems in identifying hate crime victims, b. hate crime victim types, 1. hate crimes based on race and ethnicity, 2. hate crimes based on religion, 3. hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, 4. hate crimes based on disability, 5. hate crimes based on gender, viii. responding to hate crime, a. police response to hate crime, b. courts’ response to hate crime, ix. preventing hate crime.
A. Preventing Hate Crime Through Education
B. Anti-Hate Organizations
The term hate crime became part of the American lexicon in 1985 when it was coined by United States Representatives John Conyers and Mario Biaggi. Although the term hate crime and societal interest in it are relatively recent developments, hate crime has deep historical roots. Throughout U.S. history, a significant proportion of all murders, assaults, and acts of vandalism and desecration have been fueled by hatred. As Native Americans have been described as the first hate crime victims, hate crimes have existed since the United States’ inception. Since then, members of all immigrant groups have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, and violence.
Although there are variations in definition, and certainly variations among state hate crime laws, in general a hate crime is considered to be an illegal act against a person, institution, or property that is motivated (in whole or in part) by the offender’s prejudice against the victim’s group membership status. Although not all jurisdictions, academics, or professionals agree about who should be protected by hate crime laws, the majority of such laws describe the offender’s motivation based on prejudice against the victim’s, race, color, nationality, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.
While hate crime behavior has a long history, it has only been in the last couple of decades that research to understand this type of crime has been conducted. The purpose of this research paper is to present the hate crime knowledge that has accumulated over these last decades. This research paper will present the history of hate crime law, the scope of the problem, the theory and psychology behind hateful/prejudicial behaviors, characteristics of perpetrators and victims, policing hate crime, and responding to and preventing hate crime.
Proponents of hate crime laws feel strongly about society making a statement that biased (or hate) crimes will not be tolerated and that serious penalties will be applied to those who commit such crimes. In addition, these laws are important in order to deter potential hate crime offenders who intentionally target members of subordinate groups. Hate crime laws are also symbolic and promote social cohesion by officially stating that victimization of people who are “different” is not accepted or tolerated in a modern society.
There have also been arguments against the formation of hate crime laws. Not all believe that hate crimes have been a significant problem in society; rather, some see it as a media-exaggerated issue—a product of a society that is highly sensitive to prejudice and discrimination. Thus, a special set of criminal laws that include hate is not warranted, and the generic criminal laws will suffice. Those who oppose hate crime laws also argue that attempting to determine motivation for an already criminal act is difficult and may pose moral problems in that the offender is being punished for a criminal act and for his or her motivation. It has also been argued that hate crime laws do not deter people from engaging in these crimes. Others argue that the disagreement over which subordinate groups to include in the hate crime laws actually causes added discrimination and marginalization. Critics state that what these laws effectively are saying is that one group is more worthy of protection and care than another. Critics also wonder why anger/hate is more punishable than other motives such as greed. Although there has been (and still is) debate about hate crime laws, the mere fact that they exist in several countries around the world, as well as within the United States, indicates that reasoning in favor of these laws has outweighed that against them.
Hate crime laws in the United States exist at the federal and state levels. Although federal and state laws differ, most protected characteristics include race, national origin, ethnicity, and religion. Some laws also include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. The federal hate crime system includes laws, acts, and data collection statutes. The current federal hate crime law permits federal prosecution of crimes committed based upon the victim’s race, color, religion, or nation of origin when the victim is engaging in a federally protected activity (e.g., attending a public school; working at a place of employment). The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2007 (i.e., the Matthew Shepard Act), which is under consideration as of this writing, would extend the existing federal hate crime law to include crimes based upon the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability, and would drop the existing requirement that the victim be involved in a federally protected activity. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 requires that the U.S. Sentencing Commission enhance criminal penalties (up to 30%) for offenders who commit a federal crime that was motivated by the victim’s race, religion, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
There are two federal data collection statutes. The first, the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, requires that the U.S. Attorney General collect data on all crimes that are motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. Since 1992, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have jointly published hate crime statistics on an annual basis. The Campus Hate Crimes Right to Know Act of 1997 requires college and university campus security authorities to collect and report data on crimes committed on the basis of the victim’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability.
The majority of states have some sort of hate crime legislation, but it differs from state to state. For example, some states treat hate crimes as low-severity offenses, while other states have more general hate crime laws or sentence enhancing for crimes that are motivated by bias. In some states, maximum criminal sentences may be doubled, tripled, or increased even more for a hate crime. The states also differ in the subordinate groups that transform a general crime to a hate crime and as to what degree this bias must be shown (e.g., beliefs, character). All state statutes include at least race, religion, and ethnicity, but differ on inclusion of other subordinate groups. For example, about 70% of the states also include gender and sexual orientation, while fewer include disability, political affiliation, or age.
At the national level, data on hate crimes come from two principal resources: the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). In addition, several anti-hate groups collect data and report rates of hate crime victimization at both the national and regional levels. It is important to note that each agency collects the data in a different manner and thus, each report varies in terms of rates, types, and focus of hate crime. For example, since the NCVS collects information through anonymous surveys, the rates of hate crime are significantly higher than the official police records reported in the UCR. Also, since state laws differ, what is considered a hate crime in one state may not be considered a hate crime in another state and therefore may not be counted in the UCR. Thus, data reporting sources differ on the number and types of hate crimes reported.
Based on the hate crime reports from law enforcement agencies across the United States, the UCR data reflect aggregate frequencies of incidents, victims, suspected offenders, and categories of bias motivation. Since 1991, participation in the program has increased substantially from 29% to 85% of the United States population being represented. Nationally, the number of hate crimes reported has fluctuated between about 6,000 and 10,000 incidents annually since 1991 (U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, 2008).
Historically, racial animosity consistently has been the leading motivation for hate crime, followed by religious intolerance, and sexual orientation bias motives. According to the FBI’s most recent report, Hate Crime Statistics, 2006, a total of 7,772 criminal incidents involving 9,080 offenses and 9,652 victims were reported in 2006 as a result of bias against a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability. The majority of hate crime incidents, 51.8%, were motivated by racial bias, and an additional 12.7% were driven by hatred for a particular ethnicity or nationality. Roughly 19% were motivated by religious intolerance, and 15.5% were triggered by bias against a sexual orientation. One percent involved bias against physical or mental disabilities (U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, 2008).
Sixty-six percent of racial bias incidents were anti-black, and 22% were anti-white. Fifty-eight percent of ethnicity bias incidents were anti-Hispanic. Sixty-six percent of religious bias incidents were anti-Jewish, while 11% were anti-Islamic. According to data for the 7,330 known offenders reported in 2006, an estimated 58.6 percent were white, and 20.6% were black. The race of the offender was unknown for 12.9%, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders. The majority (31.0%) of hate crime incidents in 2006 occurred in or near residences or homes; followed by 18.0% on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 12.2% at colleges or schools; 6.1% in parking lots or garages; and 3.9% at churches, synagogues, or temples. The remaining 28.8% of hate crime incidents occurred at other specified locations, multiple locations, or other/ unknown locations.
On July 1, 2000, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, initiated the addition of new items to the National Crime Victimization Survey that are designed to uncover hate crime victimizations that go underreported to the police. The NCVS hate crime questions ask victims about the basis for their belief that the crime they experienced was motivated by prejudice or bigotry, as well as the specific behavior of the offender or evidence that may have led to the victim’s perception of bias. Crimes reported to the NCVS—sexual assaults, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, or vandalism—with evidence of hatred toward any of these specific groups are classified as crimes motivated by hate. However, NCVS does not include crimes covered by the UCR, such as murder, arson, commercial crimes, and crimes against children under the age of 12. In addition, the NCVS does not include reports of crime from institutions, organizations, churches, schools, and businesses, although persons involved in these entities are included. The data for hate crimes from the NCVS include information about victims, offenders, and characteristics of crimes—both crimes reported to police and those not reported (U.S. Department of Justice, BJS, 2008).
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics special report on victims derived from the NCVS from July 2000 through December 2003, an annual average of 210,000 hate crime victimizations occurred. During that period, an average of 191,000 hate crime incidents involving one or more victims occurred annually in the United States. About 3% of all violent crimes and 0.2% of all property crimes revealed to the NCVS by victims were perceived to be hate crimes. Victims also indicated that 92,000 of these hate crime victimizations (approximately 44%) were reported to police. That is, NCVS data indicate that the majority of hate crime victims, like victims of many other crimes, do not report the incident to law enforcement. When the victims themselves reported to police, they did so primarily to prevent the offender from committing further offenses (35%) and to obtain help from the police (33%).
It is important to note that although several explanations may be applicable to prejudice and hate crime occurrence, no existing criminological theory can fully account for the transformation from prejudice into criminal behavior. Experts argue that in order to explain hate crimes, consideration of the interplay of a number of different factors (social, psychological, criminogenic, and contextual) as well as a wide range of aspects that contribute to hate crime (i.e., perpetrators’ motives, victims’ characteristics, and cultural ideologies about the victims’ social groups) is necessary. The criminological theories most often employed to explain hate crime are group conflict theory, social learning theory, and strain theory.
This theory is based on the fact that humans are more likely to have relationships with other humans holding similar presuppositions for the purpose of comfort, ease, and friendliness, which in turn contributes to the formation of “in-groups” and “out-groups.” The formation and development of in-group loyalty serve strong individual desires for relationship and acceptance.
In-group versus out-group conflict strongly facilitates group cohesiveness, affiliation, and identity. In addition, such conflict increases out-group rejection, as revealed by group members’ tendencies to stress between-group dissimilarities and ignore between-group similarities. Out-groups are often stereotyped, dehumanized, or perceived as dishonest or malicious, whereas the in-group is idealized as good, powerful, and wholly justified in its views and actions toward others. Previous research has consistently shown that organized in-group preferences and out-group prejudices, and sometimes hostilities, even when the out-group was one with whom in-group members had never met, had never interacted, and about whom they knew very little.
Social learning theories suggest that attitudes, values, and beliefs about individuals who belong to specific groups are learned through interaction with influencing figures, such as peers and family who reward for adopting their views. Some of the literature on perpetrators of hate crimes stresses the impact of intimate acquaintances and family members, and the influence of localized social norms on the development of a child’s prejudice. According to social learning theory, the attitudes of parents profoundly affect a child’s prejudice, as a child grows up listening to those views. That is, prejudice toward specific targets is learned and reinforced through children’s interactions with their parents, and those relations may even provide both justifications and rewards for committing acts of violence or harassment against out-group members.
Strain theory holds that crime is a product of the gap between the culturally emphasized goals (e.g., success, wealth, and material possessions) and the legitimate means available to individuals to achieve those goals (e.g., access to high-quality education, participation in social networks). While society by its very nature pressures everyone to achieve those valued goals, not everyone is able to legitimately achieve success because of unemployment, poor education, lack of skills, and so on. Those who are unlikely to legitimately achieve the goals valued by society, according to strain theory, would be placed under a “strain.” In essence, then, the frustration, or strain, caused by the desire for “success” and the inability to achieve it legitimately gives rise to criminal behavior. It is achieving society’s goals that is important and not the means of achieving them.
Although hate crime and prejudice theories provide hypotheses for why individuals develop hatred or biases toward others, there is little information on how this prejudice/ bias translates into criminal or violent action. Research examining hate crime perpetrators has indicated the most common characteristic profile, situational factors associated with hate crime, an emerging typology, and knowledge of organized hate group members.
Contrary to common belief, most hate crimes are not committed by people who belong to organized hate groups, but are generally perpetrated by individuals who are considered to be “average” teenagers or young adults. In fact, studies indicate that the most common profile of a hate crime perpetrator is that of a young, white male, who perpetrates with a small group of individuals, has had little previous contact with the criminal justice system, and is not a member of an organized hate group. Although examining overall data on hate crime perpetrators to form a broad picture of the offender may be important, it is cautioned that not all such perpetrators fit this profile. For example, a percentage of hate crime perpetrators do belong to organized hate groups, are non-white, and range in age from teenage to older adult.
There are situational factors that seem to influence and interact with the human factors that affect the occurrence and the brutality of hate crime. These situational factors include that (a) the crime is often conducted in small groups, (b) the victim is most often a stranger, and (c) the crime is expressive (verbal harassment) rather than instrumental (physical aggression).
As previously mentioned, hate crimes are usually not committed by lone offenders, or by members of organized hate groups, but by small groups of young friends. This, coupled with the fact that most hate crime offenders do not have a history of hate crime perpetration, indicates that offender motivation for hate crime may have more to do with group dynamics than individual levels of bias or prejudice. Previous research on group and authority influence has unequivocally indicated its strong persuasive power. This strong influence stems from a few important dynamics. First, engaging in a group assault allows diffusion of responsibility. In other words, acting in a group allows each individual to “blame” the others and not take full responsibility for his or her actions or feel like he or she is anonymous. Second, since hate crime offenders are typically young males, there is a likelihood that each offender may attempt to impress the others as well as encourage another member in an effort to affiliate/identify with those individuals.
Two other factors that affect the brutality of hate crime are stranger victims and the motivation of offenders. Research indicates that it is much easier to dehumanize or hate a person who is not known personally. Thus, since hate crime perpetrators most often offend against strangers, this increases the likelihood that the victim will be dehumanized and hurt significantly more. In addition, since the motivation of the offenders is typically not instrumental (e.g., to gain money), there is no end point to the offending behavior. Offenses that are instrumental have a stopping point—the assault ends when the victim hands over his or her purse or wallet. Since hate crimes are expressive, there is no end point—making higher levels of brutality more likely.
In recent years, researchers have begun to examine possible types of hate crime offenders. Thus far, four types of hate crime perpetrators have been identified: thrill seekers, reactive/defensive, mission, and retaliatory (McDevitt, Levin, & Bennett, 2002). The most common type of hate crime offender is the thrill type. As stated previously, these are usually young males who act in groups. They do not belong to organized hate groups and describe their offense motivation as being bored or looking for some excitement. Although these individuals may have some level of prejudice/ bias, their motivation seems to be influenced more by thrill seeking and peer influence. Studies indicate that this type of hate crime offender accounts for approximately two thirds of hate crimes.
The second type is the reactive or defensive type. This offender type commits a hate crime because the person feels that his or her rights or territory has been invaded. For example, the offender may engage in a hate crime because he doesn’t feel like a subordinate group member should live in his neighborhood. The third type of hate crime perpetrator is the mission type. This type is the least frequent and usually includes those individuals who are organized hate group members on a “mission” to rid the world of what/who they consider to be immoral or wrong, or to keep a race “pure” and separate. The fourth type, the retaliatory type, commits hate crime in order to “get back at” or “get even with” a group because the perpetrator witnessed or heard of this group committing hate crime against his or her own group.
The Southern Poverty Law Center indicates that there are approximately 670 different hate groups in the United States. Most organized hate crime groups focus on one or more of the following: racial bias (e.g., anti-white or anti-black), religious bias (e.g., anti-Jewish or anti-Catholic), ethnic/national origin bias (e.g., anti-Arab or anti- Hispanic), or sexual orientation bias (e.g., anti-gay or anti-transgender). Although there is no single profile of an organized hate crime group member, research has indicated that it is not necessarily the individual’s bias/ prejudice that gets the person involved, but the need to affiliate. It seems an individual’s need to belong may make the person more susceptible to recruitment and then, once a member, to become biased against particular groups. In other words, racism may not cause someone to join a hate group, but joining the hate group may cause racism.
While trends and patterns can be identified, it is impossible to know exactly what percentage of hate crimes get reported to police. In general, many victims of hate crimes do not report the crime. In addition, once a hate crime is reported, there remain problems in recording, processing, and accurately accounting for all hate crime.
There are a variety of reasons why victims of hate crimes may not report the offense to the police. Nonreporting of hate crimes is primarily a consequence of lack of trust of the police, fear of discrimination, abuse and mistreatment by law enforcement, or belief that the police are not interested in investigating such crimes. Members of certain groups that are frequently targeted for hate crimes are particularly unlikely to report a hate crime because they have poor relations with the police. This situation is reflected in the huge differences in figures that are consistently found between official police records of hate incidents against blacks or homosexuals and national and local victim surveys.
Even when hate crimes are reported to the police, many potential barriers exist between the reporting of the crime, and the offender’s eventual conviction and “counting” of the event as a hate crime. These potential barriers include police officer bias against victims and their avoidance of recording because of the additional paperwork required by the department’s hate crime policy. In addition, what is and is not classified as a hate crime varies greatly across different states. The way that hate crime is defined by different jurisdictions greatly affects what, and how much, is recorded in the official figures. Therefore, there are serious difficulties in interpreting the data because important differences exist from officer to officer and agency to agency, as well as among the various states’ records.
Little is known about the experiences of hate crime victims. It is clear, however, that race is the most common motivation for hate crime in the United States, followed by religion and sexual orientation. Depending upon the particular state law, disabled individuals and women are also common victims of hate crimes.
Racial and ethnic differences are by far the most common motivation for hate crime. Of the different races and ethnicities in the United States, African Americans have been the most common victims of hate crimes. In addition, hate crimes on the basis of ethnicity are far from rare. Americans of Hispanic/Latino, Asian, or Middle Eastern ancestries have been victimized because of their ethnicity, no matter how long their family may have lived in the United States. Hatred against these people has a long history in America. During the same time that blacks were being victimized in the South (following the conclusion of the Civil War and up to and including the 1960s), Asian Americans and Mexican Americans were receiving similar treatment in the West and Southwest. Official discrimination based on ethnic group membership went on throughout the 20th century and continues into the 21st.
In reality, the boundaries between race/ethnicity and religion may be especially unclear. Agencies may have trouble determining the group of the victim because individuals do not always fit neatly into predetermined categories. For example, in early United States history, Irish immigrants were discriminated against because of their adherence to Catholicism. However, it is clear that historically anti- Semitism has been the most universal, deep, and persistent ethnic/religious prejudice, even predating the formation of the United States. Although the situation in the United States was considerably better than in Europe, anti-Semitism was common and served as the core of almost all white supremacist doctrine in the United States as well.
Anti-Semitism is hardly extinct today. A prime factor that contributes to the continuing existence of anti- Semitism is the persistent belief by many non-Jews that Jews killed Christ. For members of the Christian Identity church, for example, hatred of Jews is not only acceptable, but it is actually required. Another factor contributing to modern-day anti-Semitism is Zionism. Many people equate Jews with Israel. When Israel takes action with which non- Jews disagree, such as Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, some of the non-Jews blame all Jewish people.
Although anti-Semitism is the most common form of hate crime based on religion, since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon of September 11, 2001, there has been a drastic increase in hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith in the United States. For example, during 2001 (after 9/11), about 480 incidents were anti- Islamic in nature (U.S. Department of Justice, BJS, 2008).
Similar to biases based on race and ethnicity, heterosexism remains persistent in the United States. Despite recent improvement in attitudes toward gays, antigay violence is still common and widespread. The official data imply that homosexuals are one of the primary victims of hate crimes. What is unique about sexual orientation and gender identity victims is that they can also be members of any of the groups discussed in this research paper, as well as be a minority within their own family.
Antigay ideology remains institutionalized throughout America. Those who are already homophobic can defend their behaviors as socially acceptable. To those who are not especially biased but who are seeking thrills and excitement, as appears to be the case with the majority of hate crime offenders, many believe that gays are suitable targets. Another influence on antigay sentiment is religion; many religious organizations continue to denounce homosexuality, and others have pursued a specifically antigay agenda. In many cases, antigay and anti-transgender violence is probably also provoked by offenders’ perceptions that gays have violated gender roles, as gay men have voluntarily relinquished the privilege of male domination over women. Heterosexual men’s attitudes toward gay men are much more negative than those toward lesbians. Lesbians are seen as less threatening to masculinity and the male gender role. Thus, homosexual and transgendered men are significantly more likely to be victims of hate crime than lesbians and transgendered women.
As of 2006, a total of 29 of the 48 states that have hate crime laws include sexual orientation and 7 include gender identity. In addition, there are currently no federal hate crime laws that protect victims based upon sexual orientation or gender identity, even though these hate crimes tend to be the most brutal and deadly. In fact, transgendered males are significantly more likely to be murdered than all other groups including African American males (U.S. Department of Justice, BJS, 2008).
Each year the FBI records few hate crimes that were perpetrated based on the victim’s physical or mental disability. However, there is good reason to think that the true number is much higher. That is, some victims, especially those with mental disabilities, may be unable to report the crimes, police officers may be unlikely to categorize their victimization as a hate crime, and most states do not include disability in the law and therefore do not keep count of these crimes. Compared with all the other latent victims of hate crimes, disabled people are a highly vulnerable population. They are more likely to rely on other people who might take advantage of them for daily necessities, and they may be physically or mentally unable to protect themselves from predation. Some insist that crimes committed on the basis of disability should not be considered hate crimes because these offenders do not truly hate the victims; they are merely choosing them because they are vulnerable.
The inclusion of gender within hate crime laws has been controversial and currently is not included in federal law or in the UCR reporting of hate crime statistics. Some argue that there are potential dangers in treating gender-based crimes as hate crimes. One possibility is that, given the large number of rapes and domestic violence incidents, gender-based hate crimes could overwhelm the area of hate crimes, and other forms of bias-motivated crime might not get the attention they deserve. On the other hand, rape and domestic abuse, which surely merit consideration in their own right, could possibly receive less attention under the broader rubric of hate crimes.
Crimes motivated by hate and prejudice are nothing new; however, recent hate crime legislation has presented the criminal justice system and society with a unique type of offender.As stated previously, these crimes are distinctive in that they concern both criminal behavior and the motivation behind the behavior. Thus, most agree that the criminal justice system needs to consider both when responding to this type of offender.
Many, if not all, subordinate groups within the United States have had a number of hostile and prejudiced encounters with the police that have increased the likelihood that they will hold negative perceptions of law enforcement. Subordinate group members have reported feeling both under-protected and over-policed by law enforcement. The issue of the over-policing of minority groups can be traced back over the course of the past century when minority communities felt that the police used oppressive tactics and operations disproportionately targeted at minorities. Subordinate groups describe under-policing as law enforcement delaying their response to incidents, not doing enough to apprehend the offender, being disinterested and impolite, and making mistakes or handling matters badly. In other words, minority communities increasingly saw themselves as the targets of policing. Because trust and confidence in the police is lost, the minority groups do not turn to the police for assistance when they are subjected to ongoing violence and harassment. In fact, hate crimes in general are significantly underreported.
There are a number of positive activities that the police can undertake to improve their response to hate crimes. While the police cannot directly lessen hate, they can contribute considerably to the establishment of an environment that lessens the chance that hatred will result in interpersonal violence by providing a fair, effective, and open service to all members of their community. If the police can be fair, effective, and open, then it follows that subordinate group members will be more willing to report crimes as well as assist law enforcement efforts. In addition, if police utilize a deliberately broad and inclusive, but specific, definition of hate crime, it would restrict the discretion of individual officers and possibly encourage better recording of hate crimes. Several jurisdictions have responded to the need by requiring hate crime training while police officers are at the law enforcement academy, using specially trained investigators for hate crime, or forming specialist investigative units with officers dedicated to hate crime investigations.
As with other types of crime, the courts main response to hate crime is to mete out punishment. However, since hate crimes include both motivation and illegal behavior, rehabilitation is also necessary. The following methods have been utilized or discussed as ways to work with the hate crime offender: the punishment model, the restorative justice model, counseling or education programs, and civil remedies.
Hate crime offenders can be responded to by simply placing them in prison as punishment. However, few believe that prison punishment alone will be enough to increase the offender’s tolerance of others—and may even increase a hate crime offender’s bias, since most prison situations are quite segregated along racial and ethnic lines. In fact, many prisons are rife with hate group recruitment and membership. Most agree that some form of rehabilitation of the hate crime perpetrator in addition to the punishment is warranted.
The restorative justice model emphasizes the restoration of the victim and community as much as possible. One component of restorative justice includes victim–offender mediation. During mediation, the offender and victim come together; the victim has the opportunity to explain how the offense impacted him or her and ask any questions of the offender, and the offender has the opportunity to provide apologies and explanations. This offers the venue for the victim to speak of his or her experience and allows the offender to understand his or her impact on the victim and to obtain a more realistic picture of the victim (which is helpful because much prejudice against the victim is based on stereotypes and myths of that particular subordinate group). The goal is for the people involved to reach an agreeable reconciliation.
Another approach to rehabilitating hate crime offenders is to provide them with some sort of educational or counseling program. Depending on the offender’s unique circumstances, the rehabilitation could involve several aspects such as diversity education, individual or group treatment of prejudice, mentorship of the offender by a member of the victim’s subordinate group, and visiting relevant museums (e.g., the Holocaust Museum). Because a portion of hate crime offenders have a history of violence, it may be important to not only focus treatment on bias but also to provide anger management or interpersonal effectiveness treatment as a part of the offender’s rehabilitation.
Finally, some states offer civil remedies to the victims of hate crime. For example, the state of Illinois offers victims of hate crimes free attorneys that will sue hate crime offenders for physical and emotional damage (in addition to free attorneys for criminal court). Previous victims of hate crimes have been successful at suing both hate crime offenders as well as organized hate groups to which the offender belonged.
While responding to hate crime involves working or dealing with offenders or victims once a crime has happened, preventing hate crime focuses on making appropriate changes in society that would prevent future violence related to hate and bias. Since it is known that individuals are not born with prejudice, bias, or hate—that these things are learned—it becomes obvious that these harmful attitudes and feelings can be prevented. Thus, educating individuals to value and embrace diversity would work to reduce prejudice and bias. Several anti-hate organizations have developed in response to hate crime in order to track these crimes and offer prevention services.
A. Preventing Hate Crime through Education
Education and training of individuals to prevent future hate crime and decrease prejudice may take several forms, including school curriculum change, training for educators, specific classroom/school experiences and programs, and public awareness campaigns. Researchers, educators, and individuals who work with specific anti-hate groups have suggested curricula, programs, and exercises that have either been demonstrated to reduce prejudice or seem promising to do so.
Research indicates that typically a certain type of interaction is needed to change bias—specifically, individuals who are different from one another working together to complete a goal. For example, Jigsaw Classrooms have been developed and utilized that reduce stereotypes. In the Jigsaw Classrooms, children are placed in diverse small groups that require each child to “teach” the other children part of the lesson that they are required to learn. In order for the children to do well, they have to rely on the others in the group—as each student holds a piece of the “puzzle.” Examining the effectiveness of this technique has indicated it serves to help the children’s willingness to work together, increase friendship between diverse students, and increase subordinate group children’s grades.
An increasingly popular way to reduce hate and bias has been through public awareness campaigns. These campaigns may consist of mass media publicity (e.g., MTV playing The Matthew Shepard Story and listing names of hate crime victims as part of an anti-hate campaign) or specific drives by independent organizations, advocacy groups, or government or law enforcement agencies. These campaigns and drives may provide information and awareness through literature, media programming, advertising, and fund-raising. Research has generally indicated positive outcomes from these types of campaigns.
As there are several hundred organized hate groups, fortunately there are also numerous organized anti-hate groups. These anti-hate organizations range from local and regional to national and international groups. The largest of them will be discussed briefly.
Partners Against Hate (PAH) is an organization funded by the U.S. government that offers education and tools for young people and professionals who work and interact with youth, parents, law enforcement officials, educators, and community leaders. The Partners Against Hate Web site provides numerous links to educational materials, training programs, and tools for individuals interested in reducing bias and hate.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a Jewish group initially founded in 1913 to reduce Jewish stereotypes and prejudice. During the 1960s, the ADL broadened its scope to include civil rights issues. Today, the ADL is one of the United States’ largest civil rights/human relations agencies that fight anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. The ADL develops materials, programs, and services through over 30 regional and satellite offices throughout the United States and abroad.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was founded in 1971 as a civil rights organization. The SPLC is headquartered in Alabama and monitors organized hate. As the organization was founded by two civil rights attorneys, the SPLC has provided legal counsel in a number of prominent cases against white supremacists and hate group organizations. Since its development, the organization has also become active in educational efforts through publishing resources for educators, parents, and children. The SPLC publishes a semiannual magazine aimed at teachers called Teaching Tolerance.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) was founded in 1973 to promote the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. This organization tracks antigay and -transgendered violence, advocates for rights, and provides educational activities and information. The NGLTF’s Web site provides information on each state’s legal issues related to the rights of gays and lesbians, information on gay violence and hate crime in general, and links for several informational documents and manuals.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) was founded in 1977 by a rabbi who was a Holocaust survivor and is an international Jewish human rights organization. This anti-hate organization focuses its efforts on education by operating the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California. The SWC also offers training to educators and law enforcement officials on diversity and hate crime.
There are several other anti-hate organizations and agencies throughout the United States that focus both generally on combating hate and specifically on particular hate problems. For example, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is committed to empowering Arab Americans, defending the rights of Arab Americans, and advocating a balanced Middle East policy. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) works to foster sound public policies, laws, and programs to safeguard the civil rights of Hispanics/Latinos living in the United States and to empower that community to fully participate in U.S. society. All of these organizations, big and small, work to offer knowledge and aid to diverse groups within the United States and to serve communities by providing resources.
Hate crime is defined as an illegal act against a person, institution, or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against the victim’s group membership. Although hate crime is a relatively new category of crime, the United States has a long history of biased actions against individuals because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and gender. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, the federal government and states have collected data on hate crime occurrences as well as developed specific laws against such crimes. There are differences between the federal and state laws as well as differences among the states. Most differences include varied group coverage in the law. Because of these differences and the underreporting of incidents, the true rates remain unknown.
Research in the last few decades has indicated that African Americans are the most likely victims of hate crime in the United States, followed by people of the Jewish faith and individuals of differing sexual orientation or gender identity. Initial typology study has indicated the most common type of hate crime offender commits hate crime because of thrill/excitement, followed by defensive, retaliatory, and mission reasons. Research has also specified that the most common hate crime perpetrator is a young, white male, who is not associated with an organized hate group. Research also shows that brutality is more likely for this crime because of the group perpetration, victims are typically strangers, and the crime is expressive rather than instrumental in nature.
Law enforcement, the overall criminal justice system, and anti-hate organizations have developed programs and tools to help respond to and prevent hate crime. For example, several police agencies have developed hate crime teams, several jurisdictions require treatment for hate crime perpetrators, and both national and regional anti-hate organizations have developed Web sites to provide communities with information and aid in the prevention of these horrific crimes. It is encouraging to know that as hate organizations have developed over the United States’ history, so too have anti-hate groups that work just as hard in prevention.
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Hate crimes in India: What makes lynching special?
India has seen a rigorous rise in the hate crimes towards minority communities in the last five years. Muslims and Dalits constituted a significant share of the victims of religious hate crimes. Being a Secular, Democratic, Republic, the responses from the state administration and machinery are contradicting these constitutional safeguards. Apart from that, leaders of the ruling political party and their affiliated organisations have played a crucial role in polarizing the country and further accelerating the hatred and violence. Later on, the fairness and credibility of state apparatuses have been questioned due to its partial interventions in the hate crime cases. This article intends to analyse the religious hate crimes in India, further focusing on the mob lynchings in the last five years. The paper brings into limelight the discourse of hate and power in the context of communalism in India.
Discourse on hate crimes has gained strength in India with the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq on September 28, 2015 at Dadri , Uttar Pradesh. Mohammad Akhlaq, a 55-year-old farmworker, and his son Danish were dragged out of their house at night and brutally thrashed by a mob following an announcement at a temple that the family had consumed and stored beef. Akhlaqwas killed while Danish managed to survive. Later, urging unity, Prime Minister NarendraModi said,“Communal harmony and brotherhood will take the nation forward”. Akhlaq’s family then left their home for Delhi, have attempted through an arduous legal process to re-investigate the case, while also appealing the verdict in the high court. As of August 2019, all the seven accused of his death have acquitted by Alwar’s trial court. ( Quint, n.d .)
Understanding Hate Crimes
For a better understanding of hate crimes and its consequences, we must articulate the phenomenon as a theory. Hate Crime Watch, a database of religious-bias-motivated hate crime in India has definedthese crimes as ‘incidents that are prima facie crimes committed either partly or wholly motivated by the religious identity of the victim(s)’. Lynching describes as putting to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal approval or permission ( Merriam Webster ). It stands for ‘extrajudicial punishment - such as public executions - by an informal group, such as mob, to punish an alleged transgressor. Lynching is one form of vigilantism, itself the act of law enforcement undertaken without legal authority by a self-appointed group of people’ ( Cambridge English Dictionary ).
History of Lynching
The history of mob lynching can be traced back to the racist confrontations at the United States of America. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, white people often used violence as a means of controlling African Americans. Lynching was a prevalent way of punishing African Americans who believed to have committed a crime . Mark Twain has written an essay in late August 1901, in reaction to a newspaper account of the Missouri lynching in which, Pierce City’s White residents, engaged in a ruthless purge of the city’s 300 Black residents, driving them from their homes in pursuit of an alleged murderer of white women . However, he decided, not to publish it, and told his publisher that if he had decided to go on with the publication“I should not have even half a friend left down there [in the South] after it issued from the press.” ( The United States of Lyncherdom, n.d .)
Lynching in India
Since 2014, exactly when the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS)-dominated NDA II Government came into power, India has seen anenormous rise in the number of various hate crimes, among which mob lynching is a significant crime. The extent of hate crimes is often unimaginable within a secular democratic nation. Hate Crime Watch project, launched in October 2018, that has been tracking religion-based hate crimes in India since 2009, has found that 64 per cent of cases of religious violence was against Muslims and the rest were Dalits (outcastes, untouchables) along with the Christians. (“Hate Crime Watch,” n.d .) India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the central organization that tracks crimes across the country, collates information on a wide range of crimes, does not count hate crimes–primarily because there are no specific laws to deal with such crimes. Majority of these attacks has been associated, with cow vigilante groups, accusing victims of smuggling livestock, slaughtering cows, keeping beef, or just being beef eaters ( Citizens Against Hate, 2017 ) . The other type is associated with rumours of the kidnapping of children to harvest their organs. Violence in the sake of ‘ Jai Shri Ram ’ is the new mantra of Indian politics; the focal point to trigger another wave of high profile contentious controversies; the magic wand that Prime Minister NarendraModi and the BharatiyaJanata Party’s adversaries believe will deliver them from the disgrace of a crushing defeat and infuse some life into what appears to be the terminality of their existence. The arguments against these hate crimes are being confronted with naive ‘nationalistic’ discourses overlaid by the extremist Hindutwaorganisations and espoused by hatred driven politicians.
Hindu-Muslim conflict in India
In the case of India, the Hindu-Muslim conflicts are not only religious, rather historical. Hindus who have a majority share in the population (78.35 per cent) have been socially and politically dominating the nation, whereas Muslims have a share of 14.2 per cent and Christians a share of 2.34 per cent. The rule over the Indian subcontinent by “Muslim emperors” (Turks, Afghans, Mughals) has caused a perpetrated resentment among the Hindu majority region with arguments that with these rules came mass conversions into Islam. Later, the British followed divisive measures to colonialise India and to counter its freedom struggle. This policy continued till the division and Independence of India and Pakistan, which was later followed by the followingorganisations and Governments. The separation was the disastrous consequence of the age-old Hindu-Muslim split, of the two communities’ failure to settle on how and to whom power was to be transferred (Chandra, B., Mukherjee, M., Mukherjee, A., Mahajan, S., &Panikkar, K. N. 2016). Partition of India has been called the most massive mass migration in history and also led to intense violence. Since independence, there have been inter-community clashes and killings in massive figures.
The religious tension in India got worsened when the 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December6, 1992, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. Hundreds of right-wing volunteers or karsewaksof theVishwa Hindu Parishad (V.H.P.) and allied organizations, claiming it has built after demolishing a temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram. The demolition took place after a political rally organised by Hindu nationalist organizations at the site turned violent. Ten years later, the burning of Sabarmati Express train on February 27 2002, which carried Hindu pilgrims from Ayodha to Godhra, Gujarat, killing 59 most of them Karsewaks , was alleged to have been the handiwork of Muslim extremists. This was followed by the post Fenriary 27, 2002 Gujarat violence. Gujarat witnessed the nastiest violence since the partition of India. Over 2000 individuals killed, 150,000 displaced and over 800 women and girls raped. These atrocities have been supplemented by widespread destruction, arson attacks, looting and vandalizing of businesses, homes, private property and the demolition of 132 mosques and religious tombs. Nearly all of the victims of the well-organisedriot were Muslim. The wounds remain raw, with thousands still deprived, living in relief camps, always in fear of their lives. The massacres initially described as a ‘spontaneous reaction’ by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, NarendraModi (Gujarat Ongoing Genocide, 2002) Which later turned out to be the stringent headway to RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh’s political endowment and NarendraModi’s Prime ministership. Allegations of religious intolerance had shadowed Modi’s career since 2002, when he, as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, was accused of deteriorating to do enough to stop Hindu-Muslim riots that killed more than 1,000. For this, he has been denied a visa to visit the United States on religious-freedom grounds, making the trip only after he became prime minister in 2014 ( Washington Post n.d.)
Hate as a Cultural Phenomenon
To get a clear picture of hate crimes, we should also look into hate as a cultural phenomenon. Aristotle has differentiated anger from hatred in that ‘anger is customarily felted towards individuals only, whereas hatred may felt towards whole classes of people’ ( Baird, R. M., & Rosenbaum, S. E. 1992 ). Hate works to align individual along with collective bodies through the very intensity of its attachments. Those alignments are unstableexactly given the fact that hate does not exist in a subject, object or body; the instability of hate is what makes it so powerful in generating the effects that it does. Likewise, even though hate does not exist positively in a subject, body or sign, this does not mean that hate does have effects that are structural and mediated. Hate becomes attached or ‘stuck’ to particular bodies, often through violence, force and harm. It also reflects the part of what hate is doing can precisely understand in terms of the effect it has on the bodies of those designated as the hated, an effective life that is crucial to the unfairness of hate crime ( Ahmed, 2001 ).
Sara Ahmed asserts that many hate crimes are said and caused because we love, not because we hate. People are obsessed and love themselves with their beliefs so much that anything that goes against them is seen as a threat. She also explains that some bodies are already encountered as more hateful than other bodies by people in societies that centres on one culture. India, being a Caste Hindu majoritarian state, the hatred thus drives towards the Dalits, Muslims and other minority communities. Hate is not integral in a sign; its effect is a clustering effect, which involves attributing signs to histories that frame bodies but do not reside in them. In other words, emotions are in transmission; never quite residing in a sign or body, instead, they become attached to signs and bodies, an attachment that can and does involve violence and fixation for some and movement for others. ( Ahmed, 2001 ).
‘Threat’ is another term we should consider while analysing hate. Hate is communicated in India through the narratives of threat. Hindus, who constitute the majority of the population, consider the minority communities as a rising threat. “What is so substantial in hate stories is exactly the way they envisage a subject that is under threat by imagined others, whose proximity threatens, not only to take something away from the subject (jobs, security, wealth and so on) but also, to take the place of the subject itself. In other words, the existence of this other is envisaged as a threat to the object of love. It is this perceived threat that makes the hate reasonable rather than prejudicial”( Ahmed, 2001 ). The SanghParivar and its allies are communicating the same concept of a threat to justify their hate towards minorities. There are numerous instances where Hindu extremist leaders are asserting Muslims as a threat to the nation. With the recognition of extremist leaders, the ground-level workers of these extremist organization indulge themselves in gruesome hate crimes which often breaks the lines of human rights and dignity. On 1 January 2018–the year eight states went to the polls–union minister of state Giriraj Singh said “a growing population,especially Muslims, is a threat to the social fabric, social harmony, and development of the country”, Likewise,BanwariLalSinghal, a B.J.P. legislator from Rajasthan, said “while Hindus have one or two children and focus on educating them, Muslims are worried about how to take over the nation by increasing their population” ( Firstpostn.d.) These narratives are grasped by the local workers as a green flag to commit violence against the minorities.
Power Relations and the Hate Crimes in India
India’s social and political power and dominance are very much associated with the hate crimes happening around the nation. Power is a property of relations between the social groups, institutions or organizations; social power is defined in relationsto the control exercised by one social group or organization (or its ‘members) above the actions and/or the minds of (the members of) another group, thus limiting the liberty of action of the others, or influencing their knowledge, attitudes or ideologies. Power is based on privileged access to highly valued social resources, such as wealth, jobs, status, or indeed, preferential access to public discourse and communication” ( Van Dijk, T. A. 1992 ). Dominance is here understood as a form of social power abuse, as a legitimate or illegitimate exercise of control over others in one’s interests, often resulting in social inequality. Both the Social Power and dominance are often organised and institutionalised, to allow more effective control, and to enable routine forms of power reproduction. Dominance is seldom absolute; it is often gradual and may be met by more or less resistance or counter-power by dominated groups. ( Van Dijk, T. A. 1992).
As mentioned before, in India,Power and dominance have played a crucial role in the access and construction of discourse. The discourse on hate crimesis structured according to the right-wing Hindu ideologies, including the RSS and other SanghParivar allies. RSS led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has not released any data on the hate crimes. The only official data available is that of Hate Crime Watch, which is cited by media organizations like Washington Post, Aljazeera, Economic and Political Weekly, and Human Rights Watch. But, the websites citing hate crime data are blocked in India, including, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Factchecker.in.
Along with the missing of data, there are attempts to whitewash the hate crimes in India by the same organizations. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, on 8 October 2019 asserted that “lynching is not the word from Indian culture, its origin is from a story in a different religious text. We Indians trust in brotherhood. Don’t enforce such terms on Indians” ( The Telegraph n.d.) The speech was a handwashing approach to escape from the national and international criticism on the rising hate crimes in India. We should also take into account of the sedition case charged against 49 intellectuals who have written a letter demanding action to the Prime Minister NarendraModi regardingthe rising number of mob lynching. The case was closed later as the police could not find supporting evidence.
“Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.”
( Foucault 2012 ). Foucault’s argument is correlated in the case of India being a patriarchal, casteist, communalist and ethnocentric nation. These power structures have been insisting on passing on the fear of alienation on the minority communities for decades, among which Muslims being the prima faciecause. The mutual alienation of minority communities in India has thus maintained a Brahminical power structure. Power elites in India are keen on tackling the notice from the communal violence and atrocities. Foucault is relevant again when he says “the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the mechanisms of institutions that seem to be neutral and sovereign, to criticize and attack them in such a way that the political violence that has always exercised itself ambiguously through them will be unmasked so that one can fight against them” ( Chomsky, Foucault, 2006 ). Analysing the current situation in India, it is clear that legislature and related institutions have failed in maintaining social order in society. In many of the cases, the interventions of these institutions have slightly intensified the fear among the minority communities. It is frightening that the concerns for the rising intolerances are addressed in an insensitive manner by the RSS-led Government and its SanghParivar allies. The recent incidents have been ‘normalised’ through the narration in the media. It has caused a reductive effect on the consumption of hate crimes by society. “There are forms of oppression and domination which become invisible - the new normal” ( Hewett, Martin A., 2004).
The disappearance of JNU.studentNajeeb Ahmed should be analysed in this context. Najeeb went missing on October 15, 2016. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a report without decisively investigating the case. It is alleged that some students allied to the AkhilBharatiyaVidhyartiParishad (ABVP), a student wing of the RSS, were said to have been involved in a brawl with Najeeb before his disappearance and the police. The CBI did not even question the suspects before closing the case calling allegations of saving them from the trial ( Caravan Daily, n.d.)
Maintaining Islamophobia in India
The victims of religious ultra-nationalism in India have been Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Dalits. Within the past decade, the scale of targeted violence against religious minorities has increased, with the rise of the BJP as the ruling party, facilitating its deployment through various mechanisms of the state against demonized and vulnerable social groups. This approach is familiar to the watchers of the political currents in the U.S and Europe against the setting of the rising tide of Islamophobia that has been fueled and organized by extreme right-wing groups to gain legitimacy. It has monetisedinto votes at the ballot box. Till date, there has been no trustworthy evidence, academic engagements or scholarly reports that documents this rising tide of Islamophobia in the Indian setting. This lack of documentation, both complicates and deters the fitness of those challengingIslamophobia. As a result, the activists and advocates are often left to speak of individual incidents of violence that undermine the scale of the issue as apparentlyremote cases or use of “communal violence” to lighten the seriousness of the problem. This case-by-case approach is highly problematic, limiting the ability of advocates to assign responsibility to political elites and point to the deployment of coercive state power utilized against structurally-created marginalized and invisible populations. Ultranationalist political elites strategically select their targets and assess their chances of holding or expanding power on its basis ( Bazian, H., &Itaoui, R. 2019 ).
Hindutwa-centred nationalism has created a false binary of the ‘nationalist’ and the ‘terrorist’. Certain identities are recognised and others excluded. The social inclusive and exclusive policy in India has been Islamophobic since the beginning. Speaking of recognition, the recent updates of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam is critical. For inclusion in the NRC, 33,027,661 people have applied through 6,837,660 applications; a government statement said on August 31, 2019. After reviewing appeals and claims, 31,121,004 are found eligible for inclusion, leaving out 1,906,657, including those who did not submit claims. (IndiaSpendn.d.) The process of NRC has drawn various criticism on the grounds of its wrongful inclusion and exclusion, especially when the majority of the excluded belongs to minority communities. “If certain lives do not qualify as lives or are, from the start, not conceivable as lives within the certain epistemological frames, then these lives are never lived nor lost in the full sense ( Butler, J. 2016 ). What is life? The “being” of life is itself established through selective means; as a result, we cannot refer to this “being” outside of the operations of power, and we must make more accurate, the specific instruments of power through which life is produced. We have decided that some precise notion of “personhood” will determine the scope and meaning of recognisability. Thus, we put in a normative ideal as a former condition of our analysis; we have, already “recognised” everything we need to know about recognition. There is no challenge that recognition poses to the form of the human that has traditionally served as the norm of recognizability since personhood is that very norm. The point will be to ask how such norms operate to form certain subjects as ‘recognisable’ persons and to make others decidedly more difficult to recognize ( Butler, J. 2016 ).
Representation of Hate Crime Rate in India
Various statistics are showing concern over the rising figures of hate crimes. As of April 2, 2019, Hate Crime Watch has verified 282 attacks which resulted in 100 deaths and at least 704 injuries. Muslims–who cover 14% of India’s population–were victims in 57% of the incidents, Christians–2% of the population–were victims in 15% cases. Hindus, constituting the majority, i.e., 80% of the people, were victims in 13% cases. In 12% or 30 of the incidents, the religion of the victim is not stated. Considering that, only in the 252 cases where the religion of the victims was identified, Muslims were identified victims in 64% attacks, Christians in 16% cases and Hindus in 16% cases. Overall, of the 282 cases, Hindus aresuspected perpetrators in 56% of the cases and Muslims in 12% of the cases. In 85 cases, the religious identity of the perpetrator isunknown. Of the 196 cases for which religion of the alleged perpetrator has reported, 81% of cases involved Hindus, 18% Muslims, and 1% Sikhs. ( “Hate Crime Watch,” n.d.) It is at this context we should listen to the United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s warning to India that its “divisive policies” could destabilise economic growth, stating the narrow political agendas were marginalising vulnerable groups in an already unequal society. “We are receiving accounts that indicate increasing harassment and targeting of minorities - in particular, Muslims and people from historically underprivileged and marginalized groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis,” she said in her report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, The ongoing atrocities against minority communities in India .
Figure 3 . According to the Hate Crime Watch statistics. *The Hindus mentioned here represents the Caste Hindus, not to be confused with the dalit Hindus
Officials in the government of Prime Minister NarendraModi had tracked various crimes. Still, they selectively released results, picking to share figures about attacks perpetrated by left-wing extremists but not religious-based crimes oratrocities against journalists, this comes at a time when there has been anescalation of caste-oriented and religious-based hate crimes. Hindu vigilantes continue to beat up and kill members of India’s minority Muslims and its lower castes, and human rights activists accuse Prime MinisterModi and his political allies of fueling an atmosphere of Hindu extremist nationalism that has backed to the violence. Most often, the attackers go unpunished and acquitted of the trial. ( The New York Times (n.d.). The construction and maintenance of discourse on hate crimes in India is thus protected by the power structures which are emphasising on hatred. Along with that, the published data on the Internet either goes missing or is blocked. Text and talk appear to play a crucial role in the exercise of power. Thus discourse may directly and coercively enact power, through directive speech acts, and through text types such as laws, regulations, or instructions. Power may also be manifest more indirectly in the discourse, as represented in the form of expression, description, or legitimisation of powerful actors or their actions and ideologies. Text and talks appear to play a crucial role in the exercise of power. Thus discourse may directly and coercively enact power, through directive speech acts, and through text types such as laws, regulations, or instructions. Power may also be manifested more indirectly in the discourse, as represented in the form of expression, description, or legitimation of powerful actors or their actions and ideologies ( Van Dijk, T. A. 1994 ). The national and International English media organizations - The Times of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express, FirstPost, The Wire, New York Times, The Huffington Post (in association with The Times of India), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC India ), Scroll, and The Quint - are amenable to coverage of communal atrocities in India. The mainstream media also believes that these so-called cow-vigilantes and lynch-mobs have the backing of the SanghParivar, the ideological parent of the BJP government as well as direct B.J.P. backing.
AjoyMahaprashasta of The Wire says, “It is common knowledge that these gaurakshak dals do not function independently, and are aided and abetted, both monetarily and socially, by various wings of the SanghParivar. Militant groups like the Hindu Sena and Bajrang Dal have become foot soldiers for the cow protection campaign. In most places across North India – where the menace of this hooliganism has been acutely felting – members of the BharatiyaJanata Party (B.J.P.) double up as ‘ gaurakshaks. ’ (Mahaprashasta, 2016). B.B.C. in almost all India related article in recent years refers to Prime Minister NarendraModi as a “Hindu nationalist”. At the time, the regional media are misrepresenting the issue of mob violence with justification to cow slaughtering. Among which Hindi television news channels are in the first row. The reportage on hate crimes by media organizations like Republic T.V and Zee news has drawn fierce criticism regarding their double standards in reporting on the perpetrators.
The Prime Ministers’ High-Level Committee on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community in India,” commonly known as Sachar Committee Report, found nation-wide and long-term marginalisation and socio-economic deterioration of India’s Muslims, near the bottom of the national ladder, since thestate’s independence in 1947 ( Rajindar Sachar, 2006 ) . Recently, the post-Sachar Evaluation Committee in 2014, found that Muslims continued to suffer excessively from lack of access to the health care, low educational achievement, and economic deprivation, particularly in urban areas, which can be attributed to the rise of Hindu religious parties such as the B.J.P. ( Post-Sachar Evaluation Committee Report, 2014). In the cases documented from 2017 onwards, it has beendemonstrated that the BJP’s electoraltriumph and following implementation of ultra-right-wing nationalist policies, accompanies by legitimisation of an aggressive discourse, have intensified such attacks against Muslim sites, neighbourhoods and spaces of worship. Most concerning is the direct impact of such violence on the patterns of discrimination and theghettoisation of Muslims. The decreased social and spatial mobility further limits the ability of Muslims to access the socio-economic opportunities vital to participate in national economic growth. It does also causes increased housing insecurity and an intensified geographical division of Muslims from the Hindu majority in an increasingly Islamophobic space. According to the 2015 statisticsfrom the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), more than 67% accusedin India’s jails are defendants under trials, and 55% of this population is made up of Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis – together constituting only a combined 39% of the country’s total population (Bazian, H., &Itaoui, R. 2019). Being a ‘Sovereign’ ‘Secular’, ‘Socialist’ ‘Democratic’, ‘Republic’, it’s time for India to take necessary actions to prevent the rising religious bias and intolerance. We should be able to maintain a holistic view of the social inclusion policy of the nation. Rather than engaging in an ethnocentric (Aryanism), we as a nation should be able to bring forth, unite and make sure equity among the very individuals of the country. Instead of alienating identities, we should be able to reach to the vulnerable sections of society. To that, Hate crimes, including mob lynching, should be taken seriously and must be dealt with, with exactitude. Muslims and other minority communities were living in India even before the birth of India. Still, the current polarisation on the grounds of xenophobia and casteism is dangerously affecting the minorities, often leading to complex communal tensions. In the words of Judith Butler, “The problem is not just how to include more people within the prevailing norms, but to consider how existing norms assign recognition differentially. What new norms are conceivable, and how are they formed? What might be done to form a more egalitarian set of conditions for ‘recognizability’? What might be done, in other words, to change the very terms of recognizability to produce more radically democratic results? Let us acknowledge that these are all organisms that are living in one sense or another; to say this, however, is not yet to furnish any considerable arguments for one policy or another. After all, plants are living things, but vegetarians do not usually object to eating them. More generally, it can be argued that courses of life themselves require destruction and degeneration, but this does not in any way tell us which sorts of destruction are ethically salient and which are not. To determine the ontological the specificity of life in such instances would lead us more generally into a discussion of biopolitics, concerning ways of apprehending, controlling, and administering life, and how these modes of power enter into the very definition of life itself” ( Butler, J. 2016 ).
(The author is a student at the deparment of Mass Communications, Pondicherry University)
Quint, T. (n.d.). Hunted—India’s Lynch Files. Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from TheQuint website: https://thequint.com/quintlab/lynching-in-india/
The United States of Lyncherdom. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from http://people.virginia.edu/~sfr/enam482e/lyncherdom.html
Hate Crime Watch. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from Data Journalism Awards website: https://datajournalismawards.org/projects/hate-crime-watch/
Chandra, B., Mukherjee, M., Mukherjee, A., Mahajan, S., &Panikkar, K. N. (2016). India’s struggle for independence. Gurgaon, Haryana, India: Penguin Books.
Gujarat Ongoing Genocide. (2002). Islamic Human Rights Commission.
India hate crimes: A spike in reports of religious-based crime since Modi’s B.J.P. came power—Washington Post. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/reports-of-hate-crime-cases-have-spiked-in-india/
Baird, R. M., & Rosenbaum, S. E. (1992). Bigotry, prejudice and hatred: Definitions, causes & solutions. Contemporary issues (p. 238). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Ahmed, S. (2001). The Organisation of Hate.Law and Critique, 12(3), 345–365. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013728103073
B.J.P. leaders cite growing Muslim population as threat to India; facts don’t back their claims—Firstpost. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from https://www.firstpost.com/india/bjp-leaders-cite-growing-muslim-population-as-threat-to-india-facts-dont-back-their-claims-4303403.html
Dijk, T. A. van. (1992). Discourse, power and access. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, Program of Discourse Studies.
Lynching a foreign concept, says RSS chief Bhagwat. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/lynching-a-foreign-concept-says-rss-chief-bhagwat/cid/1710307
Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault (2006). “The Chomsky - Foucault Debate: On Human Nature”, p.41, The New Press
Hewett, Martin A., “Michel Foucault : power/knowledge and epistemological prescriptions” (2004). Honors Theses. Paper 534.
Nation-wide Protests Mark Third Year of Najeeb’s Disappearance—Caravan Daily. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from https://caravandaily.com/nationwide-protests-mark-third-year-of-najeebs-disappearance/
Bazian, H., &Itaoui, R. (2019). ISLAMOPHOBIA IN INDIA STOKING BIGOTRY.Islamophobia in India RReport.
N.R.C. Excludes 1.9 Million; Govt Had Said There Were 5 Million Illegal Immigrants In Assam. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 November, 2019, from https://www.indiaspend.com/nrc-excludes-1-9-million-govt-had-said-there-were-5-million-illegal-immigrants-in-assam/
Butler, J. (2016). Frames of war when is life grievable? London: Verso.
In India, Release of Hate Crime Data Depends on Who the Haters Are. Retrieved (2019, 24 October), from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/world/asia/india-modi-hindu-violence.html
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Bazian, H., &Itaoui, R. (2019). ISLAMOPHOBIA IN INDIA STOKING BIGOTRY
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Rajindar Sachar. (2006). “Report on Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India”,. New Delhi: Prime Minister’s High Level Committee.
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UMass Economist Finds Hate Crimes Against Religious Minorities in India Increased 300% Following Rise of Hindu Nationalist Party BJP
AMHERST, Mass. – An economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has found a possible causal connection between the rise to political dominance of India’s right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a significant increase in the incidence of hate crimes against the country’s religious minorities.
In a recent working paper published by the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute, Deepankar Basu has linked the massive parliamentary victory of the BJP in 2014 with a 300% increase in the level of antiminority hate crimes.
Basu, associate professor of economics at UMass Amherst, used data from Citizen’s Religious Hate Crime Watch to create a state-level panel data set for 27 of India’s states and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, comparing the five years prior to and following the May 2014 election, in which the BJP won over 31% of the popular vote and 282 of 543 seats in India’s lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha. He found increases in the number of incidents in 20 of the 28 states in the five years following the elections, with double-digit increases in eight states.
In India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, incidents of hate crimes rose from just two in the period of 2009-13 to 45 in the period following the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, in which the BJP collected nearly 43% of the state’s popular vote. Rajasthan’s number of hate crimes rose from two to 20 after the BJP received over 55% of the election’s votes.
Ten states and Delhi had zero incidents of hate crimes reported in the five years prior to the elections, but suffered multiple hate crimes in the five years following, with Delhi, Bihar Gujarat and Jharkhand all seeing double-digit crimes reported.
“An election is a way in which information about attitudes, in this case anti-Muslim attitudes, can be thought to be aggregated,” Basu writes. “Thus, BJP’s spectacular electoral victory in 2014 sent a signal to those holding strong anti-Muslim sentiments that such sentiments were widely held in society. Since the election campaigns by key BJP leaders had demonised and vilified Muslims, its victory made it acceptable to verbally and physically attack Muslims. Since key political leaders did not strongly condemn such attacks and law enforcement officials were lax, it reinforced the attacks on Muslims by creating and sustaining a culture of impunity. It is this social atmosphere that encouraged violent, and often lethal, attacks on Muslims across India.”
Basu also collects reports of hate crimes in 2019, and sees the troubling trend continuing, if not possibly increasing.
“In this paper, I have limited my analysis to the end of 2018 to study comparable period before and after the 2014 elections. But incidents of anti-minority hate crimes have continued occurring in 2019 in an equally disturbing manner as in the previous five-year period,” Basu writes. “In fact, since the end of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which the BJP won in an even more decisive manner, the country has seen a spurt of hate crime incidents. Within a period of about 90 days, the country has witnessed horrific incidents of hate crimes, 13 of which were exclusively against Muslims. It seems that the rate of occurrence of hate crimes against Muslims that had declined between 2017 and 2018 is about to reverse itself.”
The complete working paper, “Majoritarian Politics and Hate Crimes Against Religious Minorities in India, 2009-2018,” is available online via PERI’s website .
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Two Days After Journalist’s Paper On Hate Crime In India Is Published, Forbes Middle East Fires Her
On 31 January 2022, two days after the Oxford University-based Reuters Institute published her research on hate crime in India, and while she was in the middle of daily work, Forbes Middle East—based in Dubai, a monarchy with deep ties to the Indian government—terminated the services of its India correspondent. Two hate-crime databases revealing a spike in such crimes since Narendra Modi took office had previously been shut down.
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Number of hate crimes reported in India 2010-2018
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Term Paper or Speech Topics
Have you run out of ideas for the speech or term paper, check out these suggestions. these are some hard questions, but well done research on them would lead to a’s..
- Is abortion immoral?
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- Is abortion safe for the mother?
- Is research using fetal tissue from abortions acceptable? Why? Why not?
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- Whose rights should be protected in the adoption process? What if birth parent rights conflict with the child’s rights or the adoptive parents’ rights?
- What types of adoption should be encouraged? Cross racial? International?
- Should gays and lesbians be allowed to adopt, if they are suitable parents in all other respects? Why? Why not?
- Should adoption records ever be opened? If so, when?
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- What policies currently exist for HIV testing? How would you change them?
- What policies would help control the spread of AIDS?
- How should society deal with those who are HIV positive? Those with active AIDS?
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- Does the alcohol industry behave responsibly in marketing their products?
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- What cultural influences benefit our society? Which ones harm it?
- What should be the role of government in our culture?
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- With the prison overcrowding, should we continue to have minimum sentencing guidelines? Why? Why not?
- Should the right to free speech ever be restricted? If so, under what circumstances?
- Should pornography be covered by free speech laws? Why? Why not?
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- What are the most serious problems facing China today?
- What is the status of democracy and human rights in China today?
- Does China pose a threat to the U.S.?
- What should U.S. foreign policy be towards China?
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- Is there a right to privacy? If so, what currently threatens it?
- Should church and state be separate or should this be a Christian country?
- How is the Internet affecting our civil liberties?
Colleges and Universities
- Who should bear the largest portion of the tuition bill? College students? State government? Federal government?
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- Who should control the programs offered at public colleges and universities? State government? Local boards of directors? Faculty?
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Crime and Criminals
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- How should criminals be treated, after trial?
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Death and Dying
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- What can be done to prevent the so called “lifestyle” diseases? (Pick one of these: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skin cancer)
- What role should vaccinations play in health care? Should childhood vaccination for certain diseases be mandatory?
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- Are eating disorders a serious problem in the United States?
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Entertainers (Actors, Musicians, Professional Athletes)
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Garbage and Solid Waste
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- Is there a problem with disposing of toxic waste?
- What changes could society make to reduce the amount of waste produced?
- How will genetic engineering affect society?
- Is it ethical to use genetic engineering on humans?
- How does genetic engineering affect the food we eat?
- Who, if anyone, should regulate genetic engineering?
- Are there mineral and other resources that the world is starting to run out of?
- How important to the world are the agricultural resources of soil and climate?
- How realistic is the current U.S. energy policy? What would you change? What would you keep?
- What is the relationship between global population and resource use?
- How does a market economy help preserve global resources? How does it use up global resources in an unfair way?
- Is global warming a serious threat? In the future?
- What are some causes of global warming?
- How will global warming affect us? Is it affecting us now?
- What measures should we, as a society, use to combat global warming?
- What measures should you, as an individual, use to combat global warming?
- How can we preserve the rainforests and will this help global warming?
- Are hate crimes a serious problem in the US?
- Do certain groups promote violence and hate crimes?
- Do extremist groups within the US present a serious threat to the US?
- How can we reduce the number of hate crimes?
- Should insurance companies be allowed to influence treatments, since they pay for them?
- Should we have a level of health care that is a basic right to all citizens? If so, who should pay for it?
- How can we, as a society, provide health care for the uninsured poor or should we?
- Medical costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation. What are some policies that the U.S. government could implement to curb this?
- Nurses are often the first and main contact for patient care. Do you feel they should be in this role? If not, who should be? Are they compensated adequately for their work?
- Is homelessness still a serious problem in the U.S.?
- What are some of the causes of homeless families? Individuals?
- What housing policies would benefit the homeless?
- How should we, as a society, deal with homeless families? Homeless individuals?
- What are the causes of homosexuality? Is it genetic or a lifestyle choice?
- Do homosexuals face discrimination in most of society?
- Should society be pushed to accept homosexuality in individuals? Why? Why not?
- Should society, through government institutions, accept homosexual families? Why? Why not?
- Is there enough housing for medium and low income families? Why? Why not?
- What type of housing is needed for the aged? Is there enough of it?
- Does grouping low income housing in large, homogenous developments work? Why? Why not?
- Many people are concerned with “urban sprawl.” How would you limit the growth of cities into the countryside?
- Are there universal human rights that should be recognized world wide?
- What is the current state of human rights in the United States?
- What can the United States do to stop human rights abuses in other countries?
- How should the United States respond to crimes against humanity, as defined by the International Criminal Court?
- Should we have any restrictions on who is allowed to immigrate to this country? If so, which ones?
- Is immigration a problem for the United States of is the problem illegal immigration?
- How would you control illegal immigration?
- How should US immigration policy be reformed?
India and Pakistan
- How likely are India and Pakistan to engage in nuclear war?
- What is the status of human rights, as we understand it, in Pakistan? In India?
- What can the U.S. do to lessen the antagonism between these two countries?
- What can the world community do to lessen the antagonism between these two countries?
- How has the Internet affected the way we live today?
- How serious is illegal activity on the Internet?
- Should the Internet be regulated? If so, by whom?
- What is the future of the Internet as a network? As a tool?
- Should the differences between the races be emphasized or ignored?
- Will immigration lead to a new interracial crisis?
- How has affirmative action affected race relations?
- How should society react to interracial marriages and the children of such marriages?
- What is the current state of race relations in the U.S.? Is racism a serious problem?
- How should the various levels of government respond to the concerns of minorities?
- How can relations among the races be improved in the U.S.?
- Are the values of Islam in conflict with those of the western countries?
- What is the status of women under Islam, as opposed to in countries where Islam is practiced?
- Does Islam promote terrorism. as a doctrine?
- What policy should the US take towards those who practice Islam in this country?
- Should Israel have been created after WWII?
- What is the origin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
- Do you think there will ever be peace between Israel and Palestine? Under what circumstances?
- What should the US policy toward Israel be? Toward Palestine?
- Are juvenile crime and violence really increasing or is it perceived as a problem because of increased media reporting?
- What are some of the causes of juvenile crime and violence?
- What are some of the factors that contribute to gang membership among juveniles?
- How can we, as a society, decrease juvenile crime and violence?
- How serious a threat is the nuclear program in North Korea?
- To what extent is democracy active in South Korea?
- How should the U.S. foreign policy toward North Korea be developed?
- What should the U.S. economic policy be toward South Korea?
- Will North and South Korea ever be united into one country?
- What are the problems with the United States’ civil justice system? What changes would you make?
- Is the jury system still effective in a world with instantaneous communication? If not, how would you change it?
- Is there bias in the current United States criminal justice system? If so, who is favored?
- What role should the media play in trials?
- What gives life its ultimate meaning, to you?
- What are your current life goals? Do you expect them to change? Why? Why not?
- How do religions help people find meaning to life?
- How should people determine what is moral and what is not?
- What goals should our society strive toward?
- What motivates people to behave in a moral manner?
- What values should guide our lives?
- Is bias in the media a serious problem?
- Do you see a problem with a few companies owning most of the mass media in this country?
- What affect does mass media have on our society?
- How will the Internet affect broadcast and publishing media?
- Is the amount of violence in the media (all media) a problem? If so, for whom?
- Should the government be allowed to control the amount and type of violence in the media?
- What can we, as a society do about excessive violence in the media?
- Is there an artistic value to the violence seen in the media?
- What are the advantages of the all volunteer services as opposed to the draft, and vice versa?
- Do you think that the emphasis on technology over increased manpower in the various military services is a good thing? Why? Why not? What should women’s role be in the military services? Why?
- What should the role of the U.S. military be in today’s world?
- Does listening to violent lyrics create violent youth?
- What is the “Mozart effect” and how valid is it?
- What are the benefits of having children learn to play a musical instrument?
- What are the problems of children listening to excessively loud music? How loud is too loud?
- With the media saying eat low fat/high carbohydrate diets and then saying eat low carbohydrate diets, is there a “normal” diet that most people should follow?
- Do you feel that increased portions in restaurants have contributed to the obesity epidemic? If so, how?
- What should be the role of the schools in teaching/ modeling nutrition to children?
- What role has the media (television, newspapers, magazines) played in the growing epidemic of obesity?
- Should restaurants be held legally liable for a customer’s health problems because of the type of food on the menu or the amount served?
- Do we have a shortage of petroleum or are the oil producers engaged in price gouging?
- Should the U.S. government invest in alternative fuel technology?
- What responsibility do auto makers have for our use of gasoline in the U.S.?
- Should the U.S. government invest in public transportation, in particular in rural areas?
- Do we need to ration gasoline?
- To what extent does our use of petroleum influence U.S. foreign policy?
- Is there any proof of any phenomenon usually called paranormal, that meets the rigor demanded by science?
- Why do some people want to believe in paranormal phenomenon, even when they are shown natural causes for the activity?
- Is there a possibility that there is life on other planets? How likely is it that the life forms are sufficiently scientifically advanced to regularly cross the vast distances between solar systems?
- Is there a physical potential for ESP? (Here physical means something physically present in the brain)
- Is police misconduct a serious problem in the United States, compared to other countries?
- What factors contribute to police brutality?
- Do modern police methods lead to more police brutality or less?
- Who should police the police?
- How serious is the problem of political corruption in the U.S.?
- How relevant is a person’s private behavior to their ability to hold public office?
- Should politicians be held to a higher moral standard than the average citizen? Why? Why not?
- What reforms would help to prevent political corruption?
- What are the values shown by today’s popular culture?
- Is today’s popular culture too coarse? Too violent?
- What values would you like to see popular culture promote?
- Is there a population problem? In this country? World wide?
- What are the problems that come from population growth?
- How does immigration affect the US population?
- If there is a world wide population crisis, what policies should be pursued to solve it?
- Is pornography harmful? To those who view it? To those depicted?
- Should pornography be censored? Where? By whom?
- How could Internet pornography be regulated in an international network?
- How should women react to pornography? As a group? As individuals?
- What is the current state of race relations in the US?
- Is there a serious problem with racism in the US? In Michigan?
- What government policies would improve race relations in the US?
- What can we, as a society, do to improve race relations?
Religion in American Politics
- Is America a religious nation? Should it be?
- Can religion solve America’s social problems? How?
- How can we protect religious freedom in America?
- What role should religion play in America’s public schools?
- Should religious values guide public policy in America? Which values from which religions?
- Does religious discrimination still exist in America?
- Is television evangelism a positive force in our society?
- What are the sources of Russia’s political problems?
- What is the chance of democratic government developing in Russia? Why?
- Does turmoil in Russia pose a threat to world peace? How?
- What role should the U.S. play towards Russia?
- Is there a connection between viewing pornography, especially violent pornography, and rape?
- Is there a connection between other forms of violent behavior and rape?
- Does the media make the problem of sexual violence more serious than the frequency of occurrences merit?
- How should society deal with the victims of sexual violence?
- Does a woman’s behavior ever “invite” rape?
- At what age should a minor make their own decisions about having sexual relations with an older person? Does the age of the older person change your opinion?
- What are the physiological effects of children with growing bodies playing contact sports?
- What are the psychological effects of children playing team and other competitive sports?
- Should student athletes be subsidized by colleges and universities? If so, in what way?
- What role should inter-mural sports play in the schools?
- Who should pay for the small part of the school population who participate in inter-mural sports?
- Should the government do more to eliminate economic inequality?
- What policies would promote social justice for African Americans? Should quotas be one of them?
- What policies would promote social justice for women? Should quotas be one of them?
- What should the US do to promote global social justice?
Sports and Athletes
- Does playing organized sports benefit children?
- What reforms would you suggest to college sports?
- Is there a discrimination problem in sports? At the professional level? At the amateur level?
- Is drug use by athletes a problem? If so, what would you do about it?
- What factors influence teens in developing their attitudes toward sex?
- Should society be concerned about sexually active teens? Why?
- How should society respond to sexually active teens?
- What information should be taught about sex, at what ages and by whom?
- Should teenage girls be required to get their parent’s consent before getting birth control? Morning after pill? Abortions?
- Do the terminally ill receive quality care in this country?
- How should the physical and emotional pain of a terminal illness be dealt with? By the medical professionals? By family members? By the terminally ill patient?
- Should physicians be permitted to hasten the death of terminally ill patients (euthanasia)? If so, under what circumstances?
- Is there a right to die for the terminally ill? Should the ill be allowed to decide when they want to die?
- What are the major problems that US cities are facing?
- What could the federal government do to improve the situations in US cities?
- What would you do to improve the lives of urban children?
- What do you think will be the future of cities in today’s world?
- Is the U.S. obligated to provide lifelong medical care to all veterans? Why? Why not?
- Should veterans get preferential treatment when they apply for jobs? If so, to what extent?
- Is counseling necessary for all veterans of conflicts to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder?
- Should the orphaned children of veterans receive money for higher education?
- How far should the U.S. go to rehabilitate wounded veterans? (Medical care, physical therapy, psychological therapy, job training, etc.)
- What does the United States owe to the families of veterans?
- Is violence a serious problem now in the United States compared to the past?
- What are some of the causes of violence? In groups?
- What factors are particularly significant in causing youth violence?
- How should society respond to violent individuals? Groups?
- What are some of the causes of war?
- Is war ever justified? Are there “good” wars?
- Should we have international rules for conducting war, such as the Geneva Conventions?
- What can we, as a country, do to prevent war?
War on Drugs
- Is the “war on drugs” succeeding? If so, in what ways?
- Are any of the current drug policies working? If so, in what ways?
- Should some or all illegal drugs be legalized? If so, which ones and why?
- Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal purposes, if not for recreational use?
- What would you do to improve the war on drugs, in the United States?
War on Terrorism
- Is the War on Terrorism as currently being waged, justified?
- Is the War on Terrorism on the home front, a threat to our civil liberties?
- Are the Ear on Terrorism measures taken so far, making us safer?
- How has our War on Terrorism affected our role in the world?
Weapons of Mass Destruction
- How much danger is there of our country being attacked by a weapon of mass destruction?
- How should the world deal with countries that develop weapons of mass destruction?
- What should be the US policy toward nuclear weapons, both its own and those of other countries?
- How can the US defend its citizens against weapons of mass destruction?
- Does welfare encourage a sense of dependence and kill independence?
- How common is abuse of the welfare system?
- Can charities totally replace the welfare system? Are there parts they can replace?
- What reforms of the current welfare system would you suggest? Why?
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