Supporters of hate crime legislation suggest that the primary reason for the codification of hate crime laws is “to send a strong message of tolerance and equality, signaling to all members of society that hatred and prejudice on the basis of identity will be punished with extra severity.” However, hate crime laws may actually be accomplishing the opposite effect of tolerance and equality because they encourage U.S. citizens to view themselves, not as members of our society, but as members of a protected group. The enactment of hate crime legislation at the federal and state levels has led to unintended consequences and unfair practices. Today, the controversy regarding the effectiveness of hate crime laws is debated, and people question whether this type of legislation is beneficial to society. This article will candidly reevaluate hate crime legislation. Part II will provide the definition of the term “hate crime” and the theoretical justification for enhanced sentencing involving discrimination-based conduct. Focus will be placed on data that disproves the theory that hate crime laws reduce or deter future hate crimes. It will also explain the underlying reasons for the enactment of hate crime laws, such as the media’s role and political influences, and it will present several of the misconceptions associated with hate crime legislation. Part III will present the unintended consequences associated with the enactment of hate crime statutes, including constitutional violations. It will also explain why hate crimes are rarely prosecuted, and will focus on the inconsistency, redundancy, and arbitrary usage/application of hate crime legislation. Part III will also present an individual’s response to the negative, unintended effects of hate crime legislation. Part IV will determine that hate crime legislation is not cost-effective. Part V sets forth a recommendation on improving community efforts to educate or reeducate citizens on respecting diversity. Finally, the article analyzes hate crime laws from supporting and opposing viewpoints and concludes that there is no need to separate hate crimes from other types of crimes as a means to promote a more tolerant, equal, and stable society.
Recommended CitationBriana Alongi, The Negative Ramifications of Hate Crime Legislation: It’s Time to Reevaluate Whether Hate Crime Laws are Beneficial to Society, 37 Pace L. Rev. 326 (2017)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol37/iss1/9