A Look at Hate Crimes

Flint Dignan, Student Writer

Hate crimes affect millions of people, and that’s just here in the United States. When someone commits a hate crime, it affects more than just the person who it was targeted at, it affects the entire community that person is a part of. But you may be wondering, what even is a hate crime? That, dear reader, is information that I will gladly give you.

So, what is a hate crime? The United States Department of Justice describes a hate crime as, “a crime motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.” The name is fairly self-explanatory, a hate crime is a crime motivated by hate. A crime entitles a wide range of things, anywhere from simply going over the speed limit to mass murder. Unfortunately, hate crimes typically lean more towards the violent end of crimes.

Hate crimes all around the world have been on the rise in recent years, even here in North Dakota. The United States Department of Justice reports that from 2018-2020 hate crimes in North Dakota have more than doubled, going from just 10 to 21 in 2020. They don’t have any updates about 2021, or 2022. The FBI released a report in August 2021 about the hate crimes that were committed during 2020. They report that a total of 8,263 hate crimes were committed during 2020, which is almost a thousand more than in 2019 with 7,287 in the US. Hate crimes have been on the rise for years, but this is the largest (reported) increase since 2000-2001. Hate crimes do nothing but drive society further apart and instill fear into communities of innocent people. The world has seen time and time again that hate can cause mass destruction and looking at the numbers the risk of that is increasing. Every day, more people become victims to violent acts of hate, and why? Some offenders believe they’re doing the right thing, some want revenge for something that isn’t necessarily their victim’s fault, and still some just commit hate crimes for the thrill of it.

Although you may not know anyone who has been a specific victim of a hate crime, you probably know someone whose community has been attacked. In situations relating to hate crimes, you might feel helpless and think, “What kind I do to help?” Don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do. You can offer support to someone who is or has been a victim of a hate crime or part of a community that has been attacked, another thing you can do is spread awareness about hate crimes and the negative effects they have, and mainly just do your part to educate others and to not spread hatred. There isn’t a way for one person to stop hate crimes, but if we all stand it together it’ll help. If it feels like your effort isn’t amounting to anything, don’t worry just keep at it. I promise it has a positive effect, Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime and nowadays he’s a very famous artist. So, keep calm, spread love, and you’re doing great!