Hate Crime In The United States

Executive Summary

President Obama assented into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which ushered in a new era in the protection of minorities from hate crimes. In the United States, recent events have demonstrated the extent to which the regulation has worked in safeguarding the dignity of all citizens. There has been a tremendous increase in the incidence of hate crimes in major cities all over the nation. In effect, the affected groups continue to suffer problems in accessing health equity. Prevention of mental and physical illnesses that arise from this abuse is challenging. Given the notable lack of positive effect, from a health perspective, the policy is in dire need of adjustment to establish useful crime-reporting procedures and prosecution of the perpetrators. Indisputably, when adjusted, victims will enjoy equitable healthcare as well as be in a position of preventing the emergence of ailments.


While the United States is a global giant with a reputation for being the epitome of the free world, statistics regarding the prevalence of hate crimes are appalling. One would be forgiven for imagining that such acts are only present in developing and traditional nations. However, as the United States demonstrates, this issue is so prevalent that stakeholders in the legal and political systems have labeled it a regrettable disaster. In ordinary circumstances, this type of criminal behavior invokes the practice of violence targeting other people based on prejudice concerning ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion among others. The policy under evaluation in this report regards the control and reduction of hate crimes in the United States to promote the health of the victims of hate crimes.

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From as early as 1968, the Congress enacted anti-hate legislation in which it became a criminal offense to apply force or threaten its use and intentionally interfere with a person for reasons of race, religion, color, and nationality. Further, Congress approved the Church Arson Prevention Act in 1996 to bar people from defacing, damaging and destroying religious property (Farivar, 2018). Accordingly, the law prohibits people from limiting others’ expression of their religious beliefs through worship and other practices. Then, Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act became law under President Barack Obama in 2009 (Farivar, 2018). The new policy introduced aspects of gender and identity, disability, and sexual orientation.

There is an increase in incidences of hate crimes across major U.S. cities. According to Farivar (2019), such cities as Chicago witnessed a sporadic increment in the number of hate crimes. The recent increase is only a part of the fifth year continuous rise in these incidences. Among the most affected groups include Jews and African Americans who due to their minority status often bear the brunt of the attacks.

As an illustration of the extent to which the problem continues to be evasive, California State University’s Center for Hate and Extremism noted that nine in ten largest cities in America had nine hundred and twenty-one incidences, which is a fourteen percent increase from 2017 (Farivar, 2019). Houston witnessed the highest growth at 173%. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles had 26%, 6%, and 13% increase in the rate of hate crimes. The data further indicated that gays, blacks, and Jews suffered the most attacks in Chicago. Arguably, this is a worrying trend given the fact that it is expected that the nation should be moving towards an era of tolerance and cohesiveness. It is indisputable that this situation posits a critical concern for the entirety of the United States.

Hate crimes are political issues. As Rushin and Edwards (2018) determined, the ascension of President Donald Trump into the White House fueled the ever-rising hate crimes. Notably, the U.S. president is famous for his highly controversial tweets. As if that is not all, the president’s campaigns before the elections were rife with sentiments directed against minorities. While many might argue that the speeches were merely rhetorical, Rushin and Edwards (2018) established that they significantly contributed to the surge in hate crimes. In supporting this claim, the study noted that the counties and states with most Trump supporters went on to record the highest increase in these crimes. While President Trump’s campaign motto fueled prejudice against minorities, his election solidified the prevalence of bias towards these people. In effect, therefore, the political leadership contributes to hate crime either knowingly or unknowingly.

The commission of hate crimes differs by race. White Americans commit more crimes of hate than any other ethnic group (Cheng, Ickes & Kenworthy, 2013). Besides, these crimes often target blacks. However, that is not to say that blacks are innocent as far as hate crimes go. Instead, they also commit hate crimes against the whites. On the other hand, Asians and AIANs target members of their racial groups when they engage in hate crime as opposed to those from different ethnicities. Accordingly, the Asians and AIANS identify more with the other groups than theirs.

Additionally, anti-religious hate criminal incidences target people with Jewish affiliations. Similarly, anti-Islamic hate is on a worrying rise following the devastating 9/11 terrorist (Cheng et al., 2013). In the United States, there is an unbecoming tendency by many people to affiliate the Islam religion with crime and terrorism. The recent terror attacks and the emergence of militia groups in Muslim nations have only worsened things for this minority group living in the United States.

It is also notable that male homosexuals are the most targeted when it comes to anti-sexual hate crimes. Usually, men suffer the worst hate when they are gay. Ironically, the perpetrators of these atrocities are often male with a strong masculine ideology (Cheng et al., 2013). In effect, they cannot tolerate the idea of men engaging in sexual activities with fellow men. Worse still, this category experiences the severest of violence with victims often suffering aggravated physical assault among other attacks.

As a result of the adverse implications of then hate crimes, policies are crucial. Levy and Levy (2017) found that the implementation of policies is critical for promoting the wellbeing of gays and lesbians in the United States. Accordingly, these laws restrict and reduce the opportunities the people might have to propagate hate crimes against those whose sexual orientation is not agreeable to them. That means that when employment and hate crime regulations are introduced, the people who usually suffer the effects thereof are safe from the discrimination that might occur.

It is also crucial to establish that hate crimes pose devastating health implications. In cases where violence is involved, people get hurt. The American Psychological Association established that many people suffer from discrimination at health facilities due to the high rate of hate crimes (Johnson, 2017). Then, others develop stress, anxiety, and depression disorders. In extreme cases, victims commit suicide due to the trauma. Thus, the policy is relevant in promoting public health through equity, quality, and prevention of the adverse effects.

The summary report adopts a quantitative design in examining the implications of the policy problem. It also has results and a discussion thereof. Measures used in this case are the effect of the policy in curbing hate crime as well as the healthcare outcomes of the general population.


The study adopted a quantitative design. In this regard, the evaluation of the policy concerned with the determination of reported incidences in the wake of the law. Precisely, have the rules promoted social equity through reduction of hate crimes against minority groups? According to this method, the expected outcomes were the rate of incidences in hate crime, health concerns such as diseases, and data from the criminal justice department. Besides, the data used in this evaluation was gathered from reliable sources which made its application and relevance critical for this study. However, the most fundamental questions were the determination of the public health consequences of the policies if any and their implication on the society. It was expected that the implementation of the policies would reduce the incidence rate in hate crime-related health issues affecting people from minority groups.


Despite the significance of the policy, there is little to show for its enactment. With many American states implementing the anti-hate policy, the result has been anything but commendable. It is notable that statistical findings have shown an increase in the incidence of hate criminal offenses over the years. According to a report by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, the perpetrators of these illegal activities are more motivated by their prejudice of other people’s race than any other factor (FBI, 2016). That implies that people whose races are considered inferior or inadequate are prone to hate crime just because of the color of their skin and ethnicity.

Notably, even with the policy, anti-religious hate crimes are on the rise in the United States. From 2015 data gathered by UCR, religion is the second most controversial phenomenon precipitating hate crimes. 21.4% of single-bias incidents were noted to emerge from religious concerns (FBI, 2016). Besides, other individual aspects like sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability motivate hate. If anything, the fact that these crimes continue to occur in a nation that has policies that punish such acts highlight an egregious failure of the law to protect the minority social groups. It would seem that so long as one comes from a group considered as minor, then the chances of suffering hate crimes are substantial.

Regarding the health implications, there is little dispute as to the relationship between the incidence and health impact. At the center of hate crime is an immense disdain directed at given social groups. In effect, when this continues to be the case, the victims suffer emotional breakdown occasioned by the stress and depression. In cases where the criminal offense occurs in a health facility, the target individuals experience poor services that are not equitable to other people. Therefore, health equity, quality, and prevention of diseases is untenable with the policy.

Discussions and Conclusions

Given the laxity of the anti-hate crime policy, the regrettable racist attacks continue to rise in the United States. As a result, victims are in the least benefitting from the law. Although it was a case of good intent, its failure to resolve the health disparities implies challenges within the implementation of the policy. Even though it is a criminal offense to commit hate, there is a thin line between what is legally a crime and what is an expression of personal feelings.

Typically, over half of the hate crimes go unreported. The reasons for this case vary. In some situations, the perpetrators of these acts are close to the victim. It could be friends and relatives which makes reporting more difficult than when strangers are involved. As a result, these people continue suffering the adverse effects on health that such hate may cause.

Moreover, the results indicate that even with the policy, the prosecution of hate crimes is substantially low. Most U.S. states have different legal frameworks which exempt some forms or define them differently. The policy’s failure to apply uniformly across the U.S. does little in promoting the health outcomes of this critical group of society.

In summation, it is fundamental to point out that despite the United States having deliberate efforts aimed at restoring the nation’s equity especially in the health sector for all, the policy on hate crimes has failed. Today, more than ever, the incidence rate of hate crimes is high and continues to increase. Given that the targets are minority members of the society across sexual, religious, racial, and gender aspects, it is notable that the health status of these people has hardly improved. With little improvement, the victims are affected by the poor services at health facilities, violent attitude towards them, and intentional denial of opportunities based on their orientation. Impacts such as mental and physical health disorders are part of the life of the affected people. Measures are crucial to improve the applicability of the laws. Stringent provisions are necessary to enhance the validity and significance of the policy. Reporting procedures must be introduced to promote the health outcomes of the people through legal protection.


  1. Cheng, W., Ickes, W., & Kenworthy, J. (2013). The phenomenon of hate crimes in the United States. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(4), 761-794. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12004
  2. Farivar, M. (2018). The US hate crime laws explained. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/us-hate-crime-laws-explained/4634218.html
  3. Farivar, M. (2019). Hate crimes in major US cities rise for the fifth year in a row, data show. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/hate-crimes-in-major-us-cities-rise-for-fifth-year-in-a-row-data-show/4767616.html
  4. FBI. (2016). Incidents and offenses. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/topic-pages/incidentsandoffenses_final
  5. Johnson, S. (2017). Experts: Hate crimes are a public health issue. Retrieved from https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20170822/NEWS/170829972/experts-hate-crimes-are-a-public-health-issue
  6. Levy, B., & Levy, D. (2017). When love meets hate: The relationship between state policies on gay and lesbian rights and hate crime incidence. Social Science Research, 61, 142-159. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.06.008

    Rushin, S., & Edwards, G. (2018). The effect of President Trump’s election on hate crimes. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3102652

Getting The Science And Psychology About Homosexuality “Straight”

Homosexuality, a term coined by Karl Maria Kertbeny (Drescher, 2008) is a term simply defined as the sexual attraction to a person of the same sex. Three terms associated with this are homosexual attraction, orientation, and identity which all are involved with homosexuality. Homosexuality has been and is a highly controversial topic within society, politics, religion, and even science. In the journal article, “Homosexuality: Innate or Acquired?”, the statement “Homosexuality has been given different labels throughout history. It has progressed from a sin to a crime, then a mental illness, a style of life, and is now characterized as a genetic predisposition” (Edogbanya, et al., 2016, p. 8), captured the progression of how homosexuality has been classified and perceived by society and science.

A specific question at hand, that is still being debated and studied, is if homosexuality is a result of biological factors such as genetics, hormones, as well as the development and structure of an individual’s brain or if it is nonbiological, more specifically, a social psychological event where homosexuality is learned from one’s environment, trauma, interactions, and other individual’s behaviors. The two rival arguments, on what homosexuality is an effect of, when broken down is just the ongoing deliberation of nature versus nurture. The concept of this sexual orientation was at one point classified by American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a mental disorder; however, this classification was changed on December 15, 1973 when it was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by the board (Edogbanya, et al., 2016). In today’s world, despite it being removed, some still believe that it is a form of mental disorder. Whether it is a disorder or not, is not a prevalent as the argument of the factors involved with the development of homosexuality. Research is taking place currently with hopes to discover and provide sufficient evidence that homosexuality is innate or not.

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Evidence for Biological Causation of Homosexuality

There are many studies and theories that focus on the theory that homosexuality is innate which are currently taking place. However, this is not a new area of research. Many studies and theories have taken place for decades. Some studies have come upon discoveries that provide evidence that homosexuality has a biological basis. For instance, investigations throughout 1940s to 1970s focused on excessive levels of particular hormones and hormone deficiencies before and after birth. This neurohormonal theory hypothesized that males who were homosexual may have lower levels of male hormones compared to heterosexual males. In addition to that hypothesis, it was hypothesized that homosexual females, lesbians, may have excessive levels of male hormones, specifically testosterone (Edogbanya, et al., 2016, p. 8).

Around the 1960s in Germany, Gu?nter Do?rner had experimented with animals, rats, to research sexual behavior and a region of the brain, hypothalamus. Do?rner’s findings revealed that female offspring who had exposure to a male hormone, androgen, during the pre-natal phase resulted in genitalia and the brain to become masculinized which in turn led to a display of sexual behavior typically observed in males (Edogbanya, et al., 2016, p. 8). These observations and findings set in motion the work of Simon LeVay. According to Edogbanya’s article, a study in 1991 conducted by Simon LeVay led to a discovery of biology playing a possible role in homosexuality. LeVay found slight differences between heterosexual and homosexual male’s brain structure, in the “interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus” (Edogbanya, et al., 2016, p. 9). Neuron clusters were compared between heterosexual and homosexual males as well as women. It was reported by LeVay that females and homosexual males had similar size clusters which in turn were smaller compared to a heterosexual male’s cluster.

Throughout the years, there has also been research pertaining to genetics as a biological basis for homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality. These studies used individuals of the same family and individuals who were twins. A group at the National Institute of Health (NIH led by Dean Hamer was the first to locate and report a link between male homosexuality and specific genetic location, during molecular genetic studies in 1993 (Ngun and Vilain, 2014, p. 169). According to the article, Hamer’s group made more than one discovery. They notice that homosexuality in males had a relation to genetics passed down from their mothers. That finding resulted in a focus of the X chromosome, more specifically Xq28, which is located near the end of the X chromosome and is complex and sizable gene dense (Ngun and Vilain, 2014, p. 169). This ground-breaking discovery led to this study to be replicated which when four of those studies’ findings were compared, it was revealed that the sharing of the Xq28 allele was elevated in brothers who were both homosexual. In relation to the genetic studies explained previously, research found that the order males are born in have a correlation to the probability of being homosexual. First of all, it was only for brothers who shared the same mother biologically with female siblings having no effect on these findings (Ngun and Vilain, 2014, p. 173). The findings were that “Each son increases the odds of homosexuality in the next son by 33 percent relative to the baseline population rate” (Ngun and Vilain, 2014, p. 173). However, the probability of homosexuality in a son reaches a threshold of 50% after the birth of ten older brothers. Although a specific biological mechanism was not identified as the explanation of these findings, it is suspected that epigenetic mechanisms are the most likely involved with these occurrences (Ngun and Vilain, 2014, p. 173). The human body is a complex structure which involves a variety of functions and systems. The complexity provides a multitude of biological factors that will continue the progression of research with the aim to find evidence to prove homosexuality is a result of biology.

Evidence Against Biological Causation of Homosexuality

This controversial question about homosexuality also has a counter-argument from those who theorize that homosexuality is in fact not biological, but due to factors within the area of psychology, such as theories in the categories of social learning and psychoanalytic psychology. Those scientists directed their attention toward the nurture view in the nurture versus nature debate due to the arguments, from the biological perspective, were collapsing (Byrd, 2010). A variety of studies have been conducted that have focused on individual’s relationships and interactions with certain individuals or group of individuals, learned behavior, freedom of choice, and even trauma or abuse. Many researchers have come to similar and, in some cases, borderline identical conclusions.

One of the main categories of research is based on the psychoanalytic theory, which “proposes that homosexuality results from a context of difficult family relationships, particularly a detached, disconnected father and an over-involved mother” (Edogbanya, et al., 2016, p. 13). Sigmund Freud, a well-known figure known for being the founder of the study of psychoanalysis, captured the central idea of numerous researchers with his description that the relationships between homosexuals and their mothers is “excessively loving” and the relationships with the fathers is “retiring or absent” (Edogbanya, et al., 2016, p. 14). Other people such as Irving Bieber, Ray B. Evans, Stekel, and many others discovered the same exact pattern of relationships among homosexual’s and their parents. The form of relationship in this pattern is said to play a part in the child rejecting a masculine or feminine identity which backs ups the theory that a child involved in this scenario does not identify with parent of the same sex leading the child to find affirmation, support, and love by adults and peers of the same sex (Byrd, 2010). The idea that homosexuals have a positive and strong bond with their mother and relationship along the lines of negative, detached or distant, and in some circumstances nonexistent embodies many proposals that the occurrence of homosexuality is due to factors involved with psychoanalysis (Edogbanya, et al., 2016, p. 14).

Scientists also looked at theories of social-learning which studies how individuals acquire certain behaviors and attitudes through the process of observing and learning from others (Byrd, 2010). Sexual behavior, which can lead to sexual preferences, is learned from multiple sources such as the media, peers and parents. For instance, in a situation where an adolescent male is involved in acts of masturbation or being exposed to pornographic material with other peers, it can influence that individual’s attitudes on sex and influence behavior specifically sexual behavior (Byrd, 2010).

Another form of social-learning, pertains to trauma and sexual abuse experiences in an adolescent’s life. Researchers have found that female and male homosexuals had histories of higher occurrences of sexual abuse during childhood (Byrd, 2010). Males who were sexually abused during their childhood were found by Shrier and Johnson to be “seven times more likely to self-identity as homosexual or bisexual” (Byrd, 2010). A man who identifies as a homosexual, Greg Louganis, supported these findings by giving his record, of the sexual abuse he experienced as a child, in his book. Louganis’s offender was older and around the age of his father. The attention from his abuser was perceived by Louganis as positive during that time because the man was attracted to him and the man was more than willing to give him the affection Louganis was deprived of (Byrd, 2010). When an adolescent is sexual abused, it can cause gender confusion because needs of for affection and attention from others can be confused with that individual’s sexuality, especially during the years of early preadolescent (Byrd, 2010).

More research came from a theory known as the interactional theory. A prime example of this theory comes from Daryl C. Bem, a researcher who identifies as a homosexual, and his own theory known as “Exotic Becomes Erotic”. This theory suggests that when an adolescent does not conform to their gender and begin identifying with other children of the opposite sex, they do not identify and interact with those of the same sex and those children become unfamiliar to the individual who does not identify with them (Byrd, 2010). The “Exotic Becomes Erotic” theory supports a developmental theory which involves the concept of developmental trajectory. The concept is where a child views themselves as different from their same sex peers. This in turn leads to that child sexualizing the perception that they are different which results in developing attractions of homosexual nature (Byrd, 2010).

The idea, that homosexuality is nonbiological, continues with a factor that has yet to be discussed which is the fact that human beings have the freedom to choose. The concept focuses on the fact that individuals can choose their sexual orientation and sexual identity. A woman, Camille Paglia, simplified this idea when she said, “There is an element of choice in all behavior, sexual or otherwise” (Byrd, 2010). Attraction that humans feel may not be choice; however, the way that individual responds to those feelings involves a conscious choice.


To put it concisely, where homosexuality originates from, whether it is factors that are biological or not, with continued to be studied with the aim of coming to answers of this puzzling question. Both sides have made progress through their findings, but sometimes theories change due these findings. Scientists have focused on hormones, genetics, brain structure along with other possible factors and psychologists have theorized the origination is due to social-learning, psychoanalytic, free will, and many others. Although there is a divide in beliefs and arguments, they are both contributing to answers.

Both types of research focuses do provide possible explanations, it is up to interpretation and more research if those explanations are valid and reliable. More data is emerging every day and it may be discovered that both types of factors are the basis of homosexuality.


  1. Byrd, A. Dean (2010). Homosexuality: Innate and Immutable? What Science Can and Cannot Say. Liberty University Law Review,4(3), 479-501. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lu_law_review/vol4/iss3/4
  2. Drescher, J. (2008). A History of Homosexuality and Organized Psychoanalysis. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(3), 443–460. https://doi.org/10.1521/jaap.2008.36.3.443
  3. Edogbanya, O., Shalom, E., Motee, C., Edor, S., Ugochukwu, O., & Mitchell, O. (2016). Homosexuality: Innate or Acquired. Journal of Biology and Medicine,1, 7-21. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from http://www.mayfeb.com/OJS/index.php/BIO/article/view/43
  4. Ngun, T. and Vilain, E. (2014). The Biological Basis of Human Sexual Orientation. Epigenetic Shaping of Sociosexual Interactions – From Plants to Humans, 86, pp.167-184.

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