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Hate crimes, groups , whatever

  1. Apr 30, 2006 #1


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    Hate crimes, "groups", whatever

    Yet another Larry David inspired thought here...

    Who exactly gets to define what is a group and what isn't a group and what groups can be defined as targets for "hate crimes"? On Curb your Enthusiasm, Larry David was trying to convince a police officer that a bunch of girls spraying "Bald a**hole" on his house was a hate crime against bald people :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: This makes me wonder... exactly what defines a "group" under these "hate crime" laws and what not. On the same topic, who gets to define what "hate speech" is? I'm sure the latter is easier to define but i still wonder who gets to define who gets arrested for what in the US?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2006 #2


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    Local or Federal prosecutorial authorities can charge someone as committing a hate crime or participating or conspiring in a 'hate group'. The FBI, for example, could initiate an investigation. The specific Federal Law would be in the US Code. Various states have statutes defining what are "hate speech", "hate crimes", and "hate groups", and they proscribe the actions that citizens and the legal system may engage.

    There are state and local Human Rights commissions which investigate claims of 'hate crimes' or 'hate groups', and they may initiate legal action. There are non-governmental groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which are involved in monitoring and if necessary initiating legal action against 'hate groups'.
  4. Apr 30, 2006 #3


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    Well i meant, who are allowed to be considered "groups" when it comes at people direction "hatred" towards the "group"? A "hate group" is easy enough to define but what defines a hate crime when its just 1 person doing something against another "group"? I wonder if bald people could be considered a group in the US code....
  5. Apr 30, 2006 #4
    I have no idea how to classify groups with any consistency. In theory, a group is any number of people with at least one thing in common, so anything could be considered a group. Personally, I've always thought that hate crimes should never have come into existence. I don't care about the motives of people, I care about the actions. Hate crimes to me seem to be a way of infusing emotions into law, something which should never be done. Not only that, but you are punishing people's thoughts, and that is abhorent to me, no matter what their thoughts are.

    But more on topic, logically you could assume bald people are a group, and charge those people with a vandalism and a hate crime.
  6. Apr 30, 2006 #5
    I hate pengwuino, if that means anything to anybody...
  7. Apr 30, 2006 #6


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    I hate him too
  8. Apr 30, 2006 #7


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    I know very little about US law, but I'm pretty sure that 'gravity challenged' individuals have filed suit in a couple of different instances for perceived predjudice. The one that specifically comes to mind is a woman of around 350-400 lbs. who was forced to pay for 2 airline tickets because no one could sit beside her. Her nether regions apparently managed to fit into the seat, but the spill-over eliminated the possibility of someone occupying the adjacent one. While it might seem cruel, I can see the airline's point of view that she was depriving them of the fare for the seat that would otherwise have been occupied.
    That, however, is a demonstrably significant situation, whereas the 'follicularly challenged' present no hazard other than perhaps a quick retinal flash-burn if the sun is at the wrong angle. As my bald-since-he-was-23 friend's T-shirt reads: Solar Powered Sex Machine.
  9. Apr 30, 2006 #8


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    A minority group is defined less by an objective demographic and more by a subjective sense of paranoia and/or persecution.

    And I cannot hate Pengwuino, since I use Linux. I just look upon him as Tux's retarded, obnoxious little cousin. :rofl:
  10. Apr 30, 2006 #9
    Exactly, and this is another reason why hate crimes are by nature irrational. It boils down to what you feel is a group, and what you feel should happen.
  11. Apr 30, 2006 #10


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    Well what about the term "hate crime" implies whether or not the group is a majority or minority even. Hell i could claim some NY Times editorial is hate speech against Americans. It's insane i think.
  12. Apr 30, 2006 #11
    I agree, and that is the logical consequence of hate crimes. However, this logic is never, or rarely, followed. Most times hate crime are only protect minorities, and I have never seen a case in court otherwise. As I have said, with logic and hate crime, "ne'er the twain shall meet".
  13. Apr 30, 2006 #12


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    Mr. Penguin;
    As the history of PF will attest, you and Russ are diametrically opposed to my political opinions. I could easily claim that your opinions are a 'hate crime' against humanity, since you seem to support that moron in the White House. It would never cross my mind to do other than disagree with you, because to persue the aforementioned course would be irrational. So, do you consider the entire other-than-USA world a group? If so, then you're guilty of the very thing that you're asking about.
  14. May 1, 2006 #13


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    The concept of "hate crime" is simply one of many concepts that are used in distinguishing crimes from each other.
    Such subdivisions can be advantageous if we want to maximize the effectiveness of the investigative process or be able to launch effective measures of reducing the occurence of that particular type of crime.
    Sometimes, differentiating between different types of crimes may provide a rational basis for having different societal reactions to it, but that is not really necessary.

    Roughly speaking, hate crimes are performed towards individuals belonging to a group stigmatized with a general sense of contempt, i.e, the motivation of the perpetrator often has the component that he feels ENTITLED to do so by reference to the social stigma the group the victim belongs to, and that he feels he removed some vermin rather than killed a human being.

    This motivational component is not at all present in, say, the murder of your rich auntie to get her inheritance, the murder of a child because you get sexually excited in doing so, the murder of your wife in a fit of jealous rage and so on.

    Since there exists no social stigma towards bald persons nor that the crime was motivated by the fact that the person was bald, but rather that he was, presumably, an a**hole, the cited example doesn't work.

    One of the main reasons why we, on the societal level should have a particular focus on hate crimes, and in particularly on combatting the prevalent prejudices behind them , is that by doing so, we may REASONABLY EXPECT to reduce these crimes' occurrence.

    If the level of prejudice is reduced, we may expect a reduction of the number of hate crimes.

    This type of social measure has no clear analogue to reduce the number of auntie-killings, for example.

    It doesn't mean that the murder of a rich, old lady is any less serious than say, the murder of a gay student in Laramie, but that the number of Matthew Sheppard cases is reducible by public debate and removal of prejudices towards gay persons.
    The murder of old ladies for gain, sadly, is not.
    Last edited: May 1, 2006
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