Skip to main content

„So, what's a hate crime anyway?” young adults' perceptions of hate crimes, victims, and perpetrators

Abstract

Male and female young adults provided responses to open-ended questions about hate crimes. Results indicated considerable variability in their definitions, with perceptions of hate crimes differing with regard to demographic characteristics of both victims and perceivers. Victims may experience hate crimes differently because of who they are, why they are victimized, and with whom they share their experiences. In a separate study, males and females each evaluated a scenario of a hate crime perpetrated upon a male or female victim. Whether the crime was described as motivated by racial or religious bigotry, heterosexism, or was ambiguous was systematically varied. The demographic status of the participant appeared to determine how disruptive they regarded the crime scenario, and the likelihood that they would report personal knowledge of a victim of a similar type of assault. None of the participants was likely to report knowledge of a victim of a heterosexist assault. Policy implications of results from both studies are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Allport, G.W. (1954).The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (1994).Audit of anti-Semitic incidents. New York.

  • Anti-Defamation League (1994b).Hate crimes laws: A comprehensive guide. New York.

  • Barclay v. Florida, 103 S. Ct. 3418 (1983).

  • Berrill, K.T. (1992). Anti-gay violence and victimization in the United States: An overview. In G.M. Herek & K.T. Berrill (Eds.),Hate crimes: Confronting violence against lesbians and gay men (pp. 19–45). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics (1988).Report to the nation on crime and justice (2nd. ed.). Washington, DC.

  • Center for Democratic Renewal (1987).They don't all wear white sheets: A chronology of racist and far-right violence-1980-1986. Atlanta, GA: Center for Democratic Renewal.

    Google Scholar 

  • Comstock, D.G. (1989).Violence against lesbians and gay men. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cook County State's Attorney (1994).A prosecutor's guide to hate crime. Chicago, IL: Cook County State's Attorney Office.

    Google Scholar 

  • D'Augelli, A.R. (1989). Lesbians' and gay men's experiences of discrimination and harassment in a university community.American Journal of Community Psychology, 17, 312–321.

    Google Scholar 

  • D'Augelli, A.R. (1992). Lesbian and gay male undergraduates' experiences of harassment and fear on campus.Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 7, 383–395.

    Google Scholar 

  • Delgado, R. (1982). Words that wound: A tort for racial insults, epithets, and name-calling.Harvard Law Review, 17, 133.

    Google Scholar 

  • Devine, P. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 5–18.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dobbins v. State, 605 So. 2d 9ss (Fla. Ct. App. 1992).

  • Finn, P., & McNeil, T. (1987).The response of the criminal justice system to bias crime: An exploratory review. Contract report submitted to the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice. (Available from ABT Associates, Inc., 55 Wheeler St., Cambridge, MA 02138-1168.)

  • Fiske, S.T., & Neuberg, S.L. (1989). Category-based and individuating processes as a function of information and motivation: Evidence from our laboratory. In D. Bar-Tal, C.F. Graumann, A.W. Kruglanski, & W. Strobe (Eds.),Stereotyping and prejudice (pp. 83–103). New York: Springer-Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garofalo, J., & Laub, J. (1978). The fear of crime: Broadening our perspective.Victimology: An International Journal, 3, 242–253.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geen, R.G., & Donnerstein, E.I. (1983).Aggression: Theoretical and empirical reviews. New York: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gellman, S. (1991). Sticks and stones can put you in jail, but can words increase your sentence? Constitutional and policy dilemmas of ethnic intimidation laws.UCLA Law Review, 39, 333–396.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gerstenfeld, P.B. (1992). Smile when you call me that! The problems with punishing hate motivated behavior.Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 10, 259–285.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hate Crimes Statistics Act (1990). Public Law 101-275, 28, U.S.C. 534.

  • Herek, G.M. (1994a). Assessing Heterosexuals' attitudes toward lesbians and gay men: A review of empirical research with the ATLG scale. In G.M. Herek & B. Greene (Eds.),Contemporary perspectives on lesbian and gay issues in psychology, Newbury Park: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herek, G.M. (1994b, August).Interpersonal contact and heterosexuals' attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

  • Herek, G.M. (1989). Hate crimes against lesbians and gay men.American Psychologist, 44, 948–955.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Herek, G.M., & Berrill, K.T. (Eds.). (1992).Hate crimes: Confronting violence against lesbians and gay men. Newbury Park: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hunter, J. (1990). Violence against lesbian and gay male youths.Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5, 295–300.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnston, B. (1993).Police training materials. Elgin, IL: Police Department.

    Google Scholar 

  • Katz, D., & Braly, K.W. (1933). Racial stereotypes of 100 college students.Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 28, 280–290.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kleugel, J.R. (1985). If there isn't a problem, you don't need a solution.American Behavioral Scientist, 28, 761–784.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kite, M.E., & Whitley, B., Jr. (1995, May).Sex differences in attitudes toward homosexual persons, behaviors and civil rights: A meta-analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, II.

  • Koss, M.P., Goodman, L.A., Browne, A., Fitzgerald, L.F., Keita, G.P., & Russo, N.F. (1994).No safe haven: Male violence against women at home, at work and in the community. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levin, J., & McDevitt, J. (1993).Hate crimes: The rising tide of bigotry and bloodshed. New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety (1990).Hate crime in Massachusetts preliminary annual report: January–December 1990. Executive Office of Public Safety and Criminal History System Board, Crime Reporting Unit.

  • Matsuda, M.J., Lawrence III, C.R., Delgado, R., & Crenshaw, K.W. (1993).Words that wound: Critical race theory, assaultive speech and the First Amendment. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (1994).Anti-Gay/Lesbian Violence, Victimization and Defamation in 1993. Washington, D.C.: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pinkney, A. (1994).Lest we forget... White hate crimes. Chicago, IL: Third World Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, United States House of Representatives (1989).Down these mean streets: Violence by and against America's children. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, T.W. (1990).Ethnic Images. (GSS Topical Report no. 10). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, National Opinion Research Center.

    Google Scholar 

  • Southern Poverty Law Center (1994).Klanwatch Intelligence Report. Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stroebe, W., & Insko, C.I. (1989). Stereotype, prejudice and discrimination: Changing conceptions in theory and research. In D. Bar-Tal, C.F. Graumann, A.W. Kruglanski, & W. Strobe (Eds.).Stereotyping and prejudice (pp. 3–34). New York: Springer-Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Waldo, C.R. (1993, August).Victimization and mental health issues in lesbian, gay and bisexual young people: A comparison of urban and university samples. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario.

  • Whitaker, C.J., & Bastian, L.D. (1991).Teenage Victins: A national crime survey report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NLJ-128129.

  • Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 113 S. Ct. 2194 (1993).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

About this article

Cite this article

Craig, K.M., Waldo, C.R. „So, what's a hate crime anyway?” young adults' perceptions of hate crimes, victims, and perpetrators. Law Hum Behav 20, 113–129 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01499350

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01499350

Keywords

  • Young Adult
  • Demographic Characteristic
  • Social Psychology
  • Policy Implication
  • Separate Study