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Hate crimes occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group. Under this definition, unlawful acts committed against groups such as race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation garner stricter penalties than unlawful acts not motivated by bias against certain groups. The boundaries of what constitutes a “hate crime” are often blurry and vary from state to state. Are hate crimes a necessity in today’s culture? Do crimes rooted in bias against a social group warrant stricter penalties? Are the penalties too strict or not strict enough? What message do hate crimes send to members of society? Are there crimes that should be considered hate crimes that aren’t? Do hate crime laws work to prevent/reduce hate crimes or crimes in general? What groups should or shouldn’t qualify for hate crime legislation? Call in and join the discussion!
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