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Have you ever lost someone that you love and care very much? A friend, classmate, neighbor or your child who returned to God due to an accident or misfortune? Worst, killed because of his or her differences! Matthew Shepard, a victim of hate crime, was one of them! He was just an ordinary 21 years old boy when he was brutally tortured and murdered, all because he was homosexual! According to Tiby, E. (2007), hate crimes or biased-based offenses are heinous acts that occur when a perpetrator marks a target due to his or her seeming membership in a certain social group. Since 1990, the numbers of hate crime rates have been steadily increasing despite the fact that we are so called educated, open minded and civilized. Its continued occurrence has caused President George W. Bush to sign into law the Hate Crime Statistics Act in 1990 which was later amended by the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 as reported by Anderson, J., Dyson, L., & Brooks Jr., W. (2002). The prevention of hate crimes should start with a better data collection, conducting massive educational campaigns in cultural diversity awareness and racial tolerance, and lastly deprogramming hate crime offenders.
Firstly, the actual numbers of hate crime must be known to prevent hate crimes! Every year, lots of such cases remained in the dark because some illegal immigrants were unable to speak local languages and may be needed to be deported. Other than that, officers are not well trained or equipped with the knowledge to handle hate crimes. Hence, some offences are not recognized and reported as hate crimes. Furthermore, quite a number of people are actually unwilling to report such cases due to fear that such profane publicity could cause further strain on race relations. Such problems have created an inaccuracy in data documentation of hate crimes. For example, if actual number of cases should be 100 but the reported cases is only 50 which will indirectly prevent the matter from getting any attention from the public! The lack of an accurate data, reduces the effectiveness of hate crimes prevention efforts. (Anderson, J., Dyson, L., & Brooks Jr., W. ,2002)
In addition to that, massive educational campaigns should be conducted in the sense of cultural diversity awareness and racial tolerance. Education must encourage differences and tolerance. Everyone needs to be taught about multiculturalism and the contributions by different ethnics and races. In the journal article "Preventing Hate Crime and Profiling Hate Crime Offenders" (2002), Anderson, J., Dyson, L., & Brooks Jr., W. had claimed that such educational efforts should start as early as the pre-adolescent stage. Besides, the generation of diversity awareness and racial tolerance also need to be promoted by religious groups and church congregations and not just exclusive for classrooms and law enforcement settings. Next, an exchange program with other countries should also help to increase the openness of the multicultural idea which provides students a deeper understanding. All these should be done to ensure the survival of true humanity, love for one another.
Lastly, hate crime offenders are ought to undergo deprogramming. An extensive counseling is considered necessary for them to overcome and rid off the "poisons" of long-term indoctrination of hate and separatism. Additionally, ex-offenders should help to run such programs as they have invaluable insight into the minds of those who suffering from hatred and its associates. Moving on, the absolute participation of local department of education is essential in creating a curriculum to educate offenders to unlearn hate and promote self growth. Such curriculum needs to be conducted from the frame of reference that violence is either individual or institutional. Ultimately, this would most probably instill love and kindness into their hearts while ridding off the hatred caused by misunderstanding.
In conclusion, people have their differences and flaws as we are all only humans. Therefore, we should not discriminate or instill hatred to others merely because of the differences that we all have! There is no question that it will take a community wide efforts to reduce and prevent hate crimes from happening. That is exactly why the law enforcement community will and must play its role in this venture! Both the people and government should join hands in eradicating hate crimes to prevent it from happening to our future generations. As what people usually say, "Prevention is better than cure". Let us stop this inhumanity from spreading by taking actions now.