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In the United States there are many cases where people are motivated by prejudice to act violently to hurt others in cruel assaults, damage property in homes, places of worship community centers, schools and even cemeteries. All these constitute what is called hate crimes. These are usually motivated by racist and xenophobic bias, sexual orientation bias, religious bias, gender bias, and disability bias. Hate crime is defined as a crime of violence usually motivated by hatred of the group to which the victim is attached to. In most cases the victim and the perpetrator are usually strangers to each other (Robinson B.A. p1).

Statistics show that people of African descent comprise the majority of victims of violent hate crime. Anti-immigrant violence also contributes a lot to the prevalence of violent hate crimes. In the US anti-immigrant hate crimes take the form of personal assaults that lead to injury and sometimes death, and sometimes threatening graffiti on businesses and homes. People of Hispanic origin, both immigrants and citizens face high levels of crime that is motivated by hatred and prejudice. Jews on the other hand continue to be among victims of racism which is combined with religious prejudice and hatred. They face crimes ranging from attacks on schools, synagogues, to vandalism on homes, assault on community and religious leaders. It has become a common practice in the US for racism and religious bias to be used as a conspiracy to met attacks on people of Muslim origin. Such acts place people from Middle East and Asia under threat even if they are not Muslims. There used to be a few cases where religious bias also targeted Christians albeit on small scale (Human rights p1)).

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Crimes are also committed based on sexual orientation bias. Data from the FBI show that attacks based on sexual orientation are characterized by a high level of violence with high proportions of personal assaults as compared to other categories. This mostly affects the lesbians, bisexuals, gays, and the transgender, these leads to severe injury or death to the victims. Another group of people, who are affected with hate crimes, is the disabled. This group of people is usually targeted for torture, abuse, and murder. Statistics show that the number of attacks on disabled persons is oftenly undercounted (Human rights p1)).

Most of those who carry out these acts are motivated by views that are based on hatred and prejudice. Nevertheless, the results are usually objective acts of violence that should be punished regardless of the motivation. These crimes threaten and harm not just individuals and families but the social fabric as a whole. This has called for measures to be taken to stop these heinous acts. It is in line with this that the Mathew Shepherd and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was arrived at. This expanded the definition of federal hate crimes removing unnecessary bottle necks to federal prosecution. The signing of the Act into law by President Obama lead to celebrations from civil rights groups, seeing this as an achievement after years of advocacy ( Lewis p1).


It is the fundamental right of all American citizens to be protected from violence because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability status. It is good to note that the US government has always responded vigorously to these crimes in action and in rhetoric. It has put in place a robust system of monitoring and reporting. The signing of Acts such as the one by Mathew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. into law has insured that there is a sound legal base for prosecuting these crimes.

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