Hate Crimes in America

Essay by justrae22College, UndergraduateA, April 2003

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Hate crimes have been around in America since the very beginning of our nation. When Columbus set foot in America, he almost immediately began the genocide of Native Americans when they did not lead him to gold and other riches right away. From there came slavery, one of the ultimate hate crimes on any one group in this country. Men, women and children were put in chains and worked because of the color of their skin until their death. Later, after the fall of that institution, blacks were hunted down and killed in the South to "keep them in their place." It extends today to the violence we see against minorities and others simply for their views. Why do hate crimes exist? How do they effect Americans today? These are questions that this paper will attempt to answer.

One of the best examples of hate crimes committed on account of a person's viewpoint is the killing of doctors who perform abortions and bombing of abortion clinics by people in the pro-life movement.

In a way, it is like the bombing of black churches and killing of civil rights leaders that occurred during the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s. One of the earlier incidents of this occurred on February 15,1979 in Hempstead New York. "Peter Burkin, a twenty-one-year- old drifter who had picketed the week before, unexpectedly burst into the waiting room armed with a flaming two-foot torch in one hand and a gallon of gasoline in the other" (Scott, 9). He did this because he was pro-life, and felt like killing abortionists was not morally wrong. But, "because the staff had been trained for just such an attack, they and all the patients were able to escape the clinic in time (Scott, 8). Burkin received approximately two years in...