Final Paper Criteria: The goal of this research paper is to explore crime from the psychological perspective. Students are encouraged to explain how our psychological and social environments contribute to criminal behavior. Specifically, students must choose one of the following crimes to concentrate on:
Violent crimes (Homicide)
Our society may act like a boiling and melting pot for individuals with varied ideas, concepts, religious, cultures, races and unique attributes that are hard to find in other communities. However, the social context or immediately the social and physical settings in which people live and events occur, determine influences key aspects of people such as their social lives. Social factors such as social traditions, values, and beliefs as well as the level of literacy in the community significantly affect human life by setting ethical standards that should be observed by all individuals in the society. As a result, a hate crime is widely influenced by the social and cultural environment in which an individual lives in. However, despite the efforts of government and other non-governmental organization to form and implement hate crime laws, there are those who feel that these laws are very subjective. Besides, there are those who feel that these laws, rules, and regulations are only applied due to political pressure and are only direct towards a certain community (Hall, 2013). This essay will attempt to examine various concepts and aspects of a hate crime as it is a common issue in the current society.
Diversity is a common aspect of various community settings in the world today and especially in the United States. Most of the American citizens believe that diversity is what makes America great while there are those who have a different opinion. Through these mixed feelings and perspective in society, there is the risk of creation and development of hate crime both knowingly and unknowingly. Generally, a hate crime is usually motivated by racial, sexual or any other fort of prejudice typically involving violence in the society and the country in general. Often the perpetrator targets their victims in a certain social group, and these crimes are believed to be motivated by bias against an individual or a community as well as a social group. Recent statistics show that there is an increase in hate crime in recent years and this has made it the highest priority of the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ (FBI) Civil Right program. The FBI is increasingly becoming keener of hate crimes not only because they have a devastating effect on the victims, but also because they can be used by terrorists to promote hatred and intolerance thus giving room and opportunity for terrorist activities. Traditionally, a hate crime was thought to be an offense like murder, arson and vandalism of course with an element of bias. However, further investigations have revealed that race, religion gender, and social orientation are some of the key factors that contribute to the increase of hate crime cases in the United States.
The United States is one of the countries that have witnessed a hate crime from ages. One of the prominent and famous hate crimes is the killings of James Byrd, and Mathew Shepherd exposes senseless acts of hatred. James Byrd Jr., an African-American resident of Texas, was a victim of a hate crime where he was murdered by three white men just because of his color skin. The Jasper County district attorney stated that that was the most brutal murder that he has ever witnessed. The three suspects were arrested shortly after they committed the crime. According to the evidence provided, the suspects were members of the white supremacist groups of Aryan Nations and Confederate Knights of America. At the time, America was one of the few countries in the world that racism was still prominent among the citizens. Further investigations revealed that the three suspects who were living together had a racist literature book which triggered their criminal activities (Dahlstrand, 2015). People believe that that racism in prison is very high and considering that the three of the murder suspects had been in prison, they were capable of committing this crime. On the other hand, Matthew Shepherd was murdered in 1998, and most individuals believe that he was either killed because of his color skin or his sexuality considering that he was a gay. Both examples represent cases of a hate crime as individuals suffer just because they are different from others.
According to FBI records, there were a total of 8152 hate crimes reported around the country in 2014. However, 53.6% of these cases, they were racial bias motivated. In most occasions, a racial hate crime is triggered by the hatred of an individual of one race in most cases the whites in the black community. However, in recent years, we have seen a turn of events where black community has been involved in paybacks and acts of revenge, and they engage in a mass shooting. For this type of crime, to be committed, there must be an attribute of hate that is triggered by the difference in color skin or other pre5rspective between the two individuals or social groups.
Hate crimes carry with it more serious consequences than most of the people may think both individual and for the community as a whole. According to Inta Dzelme who conducted research to establish psychological effects of hate crime, hate crimes are an expression of animosity not only to the victim, but the entire social groups, and this may have a psychological impact for both the little ones and the adults of the social group. Statistics suggest that hate crime is mostly directed towards persons who are already marginalized in a number of ways in the society mostly based con prejudice. Victims of hate crime suffer from mental health, and people especially psychologists believe that a hate crime hurts more than other general crime. On the other hand, Gothenburg University publication on the philosophical aspect of hate crime, the author states that the age of human and social conflicts with deep psychological and cultural origins significantly influences hate crimes. Thus, when the hatred and intolerance date ages back, there is the likelihood that the hate crime committed will have serious consequences compared to recent hatred (Walters, 2014). It is worth noting that individual, as well as groups’ reaction and response to hate crimes, is mainly influenced by the mental health and strength of the victim and the whole group as the victim. Psychologists believe that this genre of attack happens at two levels, the physical attack and identity attack where self-esteem of the individual is severely damaged. Thus, in most cases, the attackers inflict psychological, social and emotional damage to the victim, cause intense feelings of fear, makes the victim vulnerable to anger and depression as well as causing a learning problem. As a result of these impacts, the victim is unable to improve his interpersonal relationship with individuals from other social groups as well as his own community, and this can lead to the disintegration of a social group. However, to the offender, the case is different as he or she feels like he is superior to his victims and this boosts their self-esteem and can encourage them to engage in most hate crime activities.
The study of behavior and mind of both the victims and offenders can significantly help in preventing hate crime in a region or a country. In most cases, when such attack occurs, individuals revert to unfortunate tendencies of protecting their own, or rather revenging, but this is not the solution. To treat the consequences of hate crime as well as trying to prevent their occurrence, there is the need to follow a five a treatment phase that involves:
- Event containment and safety – this stage involves developing techniques and ways of preventing an occurrence of a hate crime and maximizing individual safety.
- Assessment of client-event characteristics – this stage deals with nature and characteristics of both the victim and the attack
- Addressing diversity in the counseling alliance – this stage involves the effort of the psychologists and the public in general to create awareness of the importance of diversity in society as well as minimizing chances of development of hatred and intolerance in the society(Perry, 2012).
- Acute symptom reduction – this stage evaluates symptoms of an impending attack as well as symptoms of individuals suffering from an attack.
- Identify recovery and reformation – this stage helps in creating and developing ways and methods that can help a victim to revert to his old self before the attack. Therapies are widely encouraged at this stage.
However, the task and responsibility of preventing attacks as well as treating attack victims cannot be left in the hands of psychologists alone or the family members, but rather it needs a collective effort from everyone. Anyone can be a victim of hate crime and thus there is the need to preach unity, tolerance, and love in the society.
Dahlstrand, K. &. (2015). Hate crime in the online/offline environment. . In Law and Society in the 21st Century. Law and Society in the 21st Century. Oslo University.. , (pp. 1-1).
Hall, N. (2013). Hate crime. . Routledge.
Perry, B. (. (2012). Hate and bias crime: A reader. Routledge.
Walters, M. A. (2014). Hate crime and restorative justice: exploring causes, repairing harms. . Oxford University Press.