The entire concept of hate crimes goes out the window here, doesn\’t it?

Not that we should have a concept of hate crimes anyway:

Greater Manchester Police is to become the first force in the country to officially record such offences in the same way as those based on disability, race, religion and sexual orientation.

The move means victims of crime who feel they have been targeted because of their distinctive clothing, hairstyle and even musical tastes will receive special support from the police.

At the moment courts only consider hate as an aggravating factor when sentencing if it is based on religion, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.

But campaigners want the law to be broadened to include a much wider range of groups and subcultures.

We all belong to some subgroup or other. And if all groups are potentially subject to hate crimes then all of us are. Which rather obviates the point of having hate crimes legislation, doesn\’t it?

If I\’m kicked to death in the street will it be because I\’m a ginger, bourgeois, a cyclist, fat, old or should we just say that kicking people to death in the street is a bad thing, murder in fact, punishable by a life sentence whoever it is that you\’ve done this to and for whatever reason?

75 comments on “The entire concept of hate crimes goes out the window here, doesn\’t it?

  1. ” And if all groups are potentially subject to hate crimes then all of us are. Which rather obviates the point of having hate crimes legislation, doesnt it?”

    Spot on!

    But you see, youve forgotten one thing; the desire for employment as one of the hate crime Witchfinders General…

  2. In principle, I agree with you. However, I understand that Greater Manchester Police are just changing the way that they record these crimes and that this may be useful from a statistical perspective. It does not change the way that the crime is prosecuted.

    That said, once the statistics are gathered I would not be surprised if there is a call to prosecute them as hate crimes also.

  3. It appears Greater Manchester police have solved all other crime in Greater Manchester, so they’re resorting to make-work exercises to keep their officers busy.

    Perhaps, instead, we should second some of their officers/management to other police areas around the country to try and improve (or should that be ‘reduce?’) crime rates elsewhere?

  4. Next, life sentences for staring of gingers (pronounced to rhyme with ringers), baldies and southpaws.

  5. Is hating the police,politicians,local councillors,lefties in general and Justin Bieber a hate crime?

  6. The GMP are going to be very busy, what with those who wear a blue scarf having a hate/hate relationship with those who wear a red scarf. Maybe they should run a joint operation with Liverpool police, who face similar problems.

  7. City/United matches are actually pretty good natured, at least were back in the day.

    There wasn’t any meaningful rivalry actually. To us of course, the all-too-infrequent victories over United were like winning the FA cup but to United we were only ever just another three points. I appreciate things might be a bit different now.

  8. Can’t you just see, as I can how this new policy will be exploited by Islamic grievance mongers to attack those who object to women being kept in mobile canvas prisons.

  9. If I’m kicked to death in the street will it be because I’m a ginger, bourgeois, a cyclist, fat, old or should we just say that kicking people to death in the street is a bad thing, murder in fact, punishable by a life sentence whoever it is that you’ve done this to and for whatever reason?

    If multiple people are attacked because they are ginger then it is worth considering recording crimes motivated by hatred of gingers to see if there is a problem that requires special attention.

    If people are attacked because they are ginger then other gingers will feel at greater risk compared to a ‘random’ attack. For that reason it might be considered an aggravating factor and merit a worse punishment than a ‘random’ attack.

    It’s not a bad thing that a group you identify with doesn’t have crimes against them monitored or punished in such a way; it means you’re likely less at risk of being attacked.

  10. If you draw the net wide enough then it becomes meaningless and the Police can actually focus on the crime, not the (possible) motivation behind it.

  11. “For that reason it might be considered an aggravating factor and merit a worse punishment than a random

  12. Paradoxically, a white person concerned that black muggers have a class preference in their victim choice is a racist bigot.

  13. (All it takes is one stray apostrophe. Why we never hear the views grocering community)

    “For that reason it might be considered an aggravating factor and merit a worse punishment than a random attack.”

    The logic of that one has always escaped me. One can understand all crimes being treated equally.
    Lets say there was another London bombing by Islamic militants, causing considerable loss of life & injuries. Its entirely possible there could be repercussions on the tea towel wearing community. One can understand why an attack on a member of that community should be treated with due seriousness. But attacks on anyone should be treated with due seriousness. If those are treated with greater severity it implies other attacks are less serious. So ends up inflaming exactly the sort of feeling it is supposed to combat.

    This sort of thinking was one of the causes of the riots & looting, couple years back. Anyone lived round certain areas of London knew, gangs of pigmentally blessed youths were in the habit of looting shops. Why so many of them are secured like fortresses & have no more than 2 kids at a time notices. Behavior that wouldnt have been tolerated in other areas were just part of the rich tapestry of urban life. The only difference with the riots was the scale, not the events themselves

  14. I think if you infer in a negative way (instead of a literal way) that there are “less serious” crimes from a statement that there are “more serious” crimes then you are looking for a problem where there isn’t one.

    Some people also infer “not serious at all” from “less serious”.

    An attack against a person of a particular ethnicity (or whatever) motivated by hostility to his ethnicity in a context of attacks motivated by hostility to that ethnicity is treated more seriously because people of that ethnicity will be afeard because they think (and they are) targets of attacks.

    “The confusion, fear and lack of safety felt by individuals have a ripple effect in the wider community of their racial or religious group. Communities can feel victimised and vulnerable to further attack.”

    Racist and Religious Crime – CPS Guidance – Impact of racist and religious crimes on individuals and communities
    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/racist_and_religious_crime/#a02

    A crime is committed not just against the individual but also against society.

  15. It occurs to wonder- if the victim of an alleged hate crime is unable to testify (perhaps because she’s dead), does the prosecution have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the aggressors hated her or her group, rather than, say, being merely inhuman,callous and indifferent?
    The latter motivation of course would be a threat to everyone, not just some sub-group, so should it receive a longer sentence?
    And what happens if persons are prosecuted for “hate crimes” and an acquittal is obtained because only the crime can be proved, not the hate?

  16. Isn’t this new development at least consistent with what has gone before? I think it’s pretty obvious that the motivation for abusing gingers is much the same as for abusing the anagram of ‘gingers’ – small-minded tribalism/xenophobia/hatred of difference.

    There’s a good argument that we do indeed want to place a somewhat higher priority on crimes motivated by such bestial urges than on crimes motivated by other factors.

    There’s a clear line that can be drawn through playground abuse of difference all the way to adult racism and xenophobia, but for the most part that tendency expresses itself in much smaller, but cumulatively socially and economically harmful, ways. It makes sense to me to look on it as an area we might indeed focus our attention on as a society and attempt to improve.

  17. Pat, the facts of “the defendant murdered this person” and “because the victim was white” are separate (but related). The latter fact is an aggravating factor – something that influences the sentencing. No-one will be acquitted if the court is persuaded that the person is a murderer but not persuaded that his crimes are racially motivated.

  18. UK Liberty,

    So would a killer who selects victims at random be treated more seriously that a killer who murders specific people? The former causes all of society to be afeard.

  19. Do people in a given area really feel afeard the same way / to the same extent in the following scenarios?

    A) people are attacked ‘randomly’;
    B) people of a particular ethnicity are attacked because of their ethnicity (the attacker shouts, “I hate you black bastards” or summat).;
    C) elderly people are being targeted because of their vulnerability (they are less likely to be able to resist etc);
    D) young women are attacked because they are young and female.

    Are people really complaining that if they were randomly attacked, their attacker will see slightly less a sentence than someone who specifically targeted the elderly (all else being equal)?

  20. “I think if you infer in a negative way (instead of a literal way) that there are

  21. “I think if you infer in a negative way (instead of a literal way) that there are *less serious* crimes from a statement that there are *more serious* crimes then you are looking for a problem where there isn’t one. ”
    Far from it, UKL. If you describe an attack on a member of a group because they are a member of a group as more serious then we can also say it is less serious. In the example I gave, would you regard aggressive tea-towel wearing as justification for an attack on the wearer, because the attacker was provoked by the atrocity? Is that the can of worms youre glad has been opened?
    Once you have a hierarchy of intents, why expect it to operate only in the direction you favour?

  22. I just fail to see what principle leads us to the conclusion that attacking somebody on the basis of their group affiliation is worse than attacking them as an individual. I really don’t. It just seems to me to be based on an idea that some human beings deserve more sympathy than others. Why?

  23. I don’t think it’s particularly about the individual victim, it is the aspect of crime that it is against society. The people identifying with a particular group that appears to have been targeted will feel more vulnerable.

    It’s but one aggravating factor taken into account when sentencing, among myriad aggravating and mitigating factors. People are sentenced on the circumstances, not a blanket “you attacked a person therefore you get a year”.

    Another aggravating factor is the “Presence of others including relatives, especially children or partner of the victim”. It doesn’t mean the individual who is attacked without his children present is less deserving of sympathy.

  24. As a teenager and young adult, until six months after graduating, I was part of a group targeted for hate speech by Edith Summerskill and other leading members of the Labour Party because I participated in a sport that she hated after a young man called Summerskill failed to get a boxing blue. Far from the police protecting us, we were warned that we had prove that our actions in self-defence minimised the damage to vicious attackers.
    Fortunately, the sort of guys who wanted to attack boxers in the 1960s weren’t the sort to call on New Labour legislation: they tended to turn up at the gym instead.

  25. @ ukliberty
    @ B) not just race. My autistic younger son was of the same ethnicity as most of the feeder group for the sink local school by which he was repeatedly targeted. My seriously bright elder son ended up in hospital several times because he was so obviously brighter than those around him (not a problem when he was in a primary school class three years older than he was.
    “Oh no, we cannot tell you who the culprits were” because it would breach confidentiality.

  26. Well, there appear to be some aggravating factors there (if it had occurred under English law): use of a firearm, intent to obstruct justice, more than one victim, significant premeditation. What’s your point?

    Does it mean a person killed by being punched is less deserving of sympathy than a person killed by a bullet? No of course not.

  27. Notice you havnt answered my Question, UKLib.
    If you re saying theres such a thing as society that suffers from the attack, then who comprises this society? Its a crime against the State, of course. But thats a different thing altogether. The attacker has broken the monopoly of violence it reserves to itself. Nothing more than. The State doesnt proscribe violence. Only that not administered by its agents.
    If your society is an inclusive thing, then it must include the attacker himself. And everyone in it is affected equally. Or are you saying its a conglomeration of separate societies with a hierarchy of vulnerabilities? So an attack by a member of a less vulnerable group on a member of a more vulnerable group is more serious? Because, if so, theres an obvious extension of that, isnt there? An attack by a member of a more vulnerable group on a member of a less vulnerable group, is less serious. And at some level of provocation, that could be seen as justification.
    You really want to start a war?
    Arnt we safer just saying attacking another individual is wrong? End of.

  28. Because, the problem is, the members of these groups might not agree with the hierarchies that are being decided for them. Might think their getting a raw deal out of this more important thing. Might see this as justification for getting their equality in first. If you follow my reasoning.

  29. What’s wierd about this sort of legislation is that it seems to promote the idea that kicking someone to death in the street for no particular reason than that you were bored is morally superior to killing someone simply because you hate the group they belong to.

  30. @ anyone who read ukliberty’s post #33
    As a child I told my father that I never started fights: I just finished them. Because I was skinny and smallish I was occasionally attacked by young thugs.
    As a pre-teen I was drawn into a small group that opposed bullying (mostly by “working-class” thugs on smaller middle-class boys) [I was a year younger than the others so saying I (much later) took up boxing as a bantamweight (under 8stone 7lb/54 kilograms) overstates my size]; John was brilliant but smaller than I (despite being a year older) and diabetic, Martin looked like Hank Marvin (and was a good guitar-player even as a pre-teen); Stewie, who was the only of us who looked as if he could fight, was only called on in emergencies.
    In my view someone who is punched in self-defence deserves less sympathy than an innocent guy shot by a psychotic. Before Arnald or Owen Jones screams: I sympathise with the innocent Mr Hiles and his family, I am talking solely about self-defence.

  31. bloke in spain, your idea of a war starting because a group is offended it isn’t listed among the aggravating factors in the sentencing guidelines seems more far-fetched than Iain Banks’s scifi.

  32. What’s wierd about this sort of legislation is that it seems to promote the idea that kicking someone to death in the street for no particular reason than that you were bored is morally superior to killing someone simply because you hate the group they belong to.

    No, what’s weird is that people think it seems to promote that idea.

  33. UK Liberty,

    I’m sorry I’m too opaque. You argued that an attack on a sub-section of the community should be viewed more seriously because it additionally instilled fear in that sub-section. I pointed out a random attacker (actually pair of) who had instilled significant fear into the entire community.

    That those murders were pre-meditated and involved a firearm is irrelevant. They would have involved a firearm if the snipers had only shot ginger people, but by your view it would be more serious because ginger people would become afraid (like they were when anyone could be targetted).

  34. ukliberty – “If multiple people are attacked because they are ginger then it is worth considering recording crimes motivated by hatred of gingers to see if there is a problem that requires special attention.”

    Why? I am not sure it is the job of the state to go around correcting people-s thoughts. If someone believes that gingers deserve to be kicked to death, I fail to see any need for the state to intervene right up to the point they go out to kick some gingers to death. That is the point of a free society. We hold whatever views we like as that is our right. They do not pick and choose which views they deem acceptable.

    “If people are attacked because they are ginger then other gingers will feel at greater risk compared to a ‘random’ attack. For that reason it might be considered an aggravating factor and merit a worse punishment than a ‘random’ attack.”

    Blackstone said that killing someone by pushing him off a bridge under some momentary whim was a worse crime than many pre-meditated murders. Interesting to see that logic being denied. Notice the inherent ill-liberal nature of this – the law is not measuring the impact on the individual, but the impact on some nebulous “community” which does not have a voice, just loud spokespeople.

    “It-s not a bad thing that a group you identify with doesn-t have crimes against them monitored or punished in such a way; it means you-re likely less at risk of being attacked.”

    No, it means you do not have political power or a special interest group to lobby for you. That is all. What this means is that it is a worse crime to kill someone who belongs to a group that can be counted on to vote as a block.

  35. @ UKLib
    “your idea of a war starting because a group is offended it isn t listed among the aggravating factors in the sentencing guidelines seems more far-fetched than Iain Banks

  36. FFS!

    @ UKLib
    “your idea of a war starting because a group is offended it isn t listed among the aggravating factors in the sentencing guidelines seems more far-fetched than Iain Banks s scifi.”

    Its precisely this sort of discrimination between communities, causes tension between them. It reinforces the perception in some groups they are are under attack & their own use of violence is justified. Just try dealing with some members of the black & asian communities & how relatively trivial matters can escalate into threats or use of violence. Conversely, white communities perceive they are threatened with violence by the minorities, with inadequate recognition of their fears. And it really is all about perceptions, not figures & statistics. And there are always those who will take those perceptions as an excuse for what they see as retribution on representatives of other communities. War? It was perceptions of discrimination by the law drove a shooting war in Northern Ireland. When there s areas of cities where its unsafe to go depending on what group you come from, as is happening in the UK, I d say you re at the skirmishing phase.

  37. “If people are attacked because they are ginger then other gingers will feel at greater risk compared to a ‘random’ attack. For that reason it might be considered an aggravating factor and merit a worse punishment than a ‘random’ attack.”
    The problem with that is that crime motivated by hate is not worse than crime motivated by something else.
    Where I live lots of Asians have been burgled – because they have gold. Now why is this less important than if it were done by racists?
    (I would guess that the people responsible probably would like more rich Asian immigrants)

  38. Mr Potarto,

    You argued that an attack on a sub-section of the community should be viewed more seriously because it additionally instilled fear in that sub-section.

    Not one attack. I am talking about multiple attacks, multiple attackers over time. That’s the context. I’m sure you are aware that at various times there are specific ‘groups’ (e.g. Asians or homosexuals) who have been singled out for a good kicking?

    They would have involved a firearm if the snipers had only shot ginger people, but by your view it would be more serious because ginger people would become afraid (like they were when anyone could be targetted).

    If there were multiple murderers at various times who singled out gingers, do you think gingers would be more or less afraid than if murders were ‘random’?

    SMFS,

    I am not sure it is the job of the state to go around correcting people-s thoughts. If someone believes that gingers deserve to be kicked to death, I fail to see any need for the state to intervene right up to the point they go out to kick some gingers to death. That is the point of a free society. We hold whatever views we like as that is our right. They do not pick and choose which views they deem acceptable.

    How did you leap from “consider recording crimes” to mind control?

  39. I can see a lot of reasons why law enforcement people might want to classify hate crimes by subculture. Viz if you noticed an increase in goth-on-punk (or whatever) violence in your area then the next time you saw a group of goths walking near a punk pub or vice versa you might get on the blower and find some back-up, sharpish. That’s just good intelligence work.
    What I don’t see is that it is in any way to be reflected in sentencing. Hurting someone because you don’t like the way they dress, talk, the music they listen to or the god they believe in is morally the same as hurting them becuase you don’t like their individual face.

    However, I now look forward to people being attacked because they are Millwall supporters becoming a hate crime. Oh, and for being tories. Or ‘posh’. hate crimes, all of them. Cuts both ways.

  40. bloke in spain @44, it seems you think blacks and Asians are on the list and whites are not. But that is not the case: there is no mention of black or Asian (or white) in the sentencing guidelines.

    “Offence racially or religiously aggravated” – that’s all this particular element says.

    Likewise sexuality is on the list and homosexuality is not; and age (not a particular age) and sex / gender identity (not male or female).

    The only thing I can see that isn’t as inclusive as the above is “Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility to the victim based on the victim’s disability (or presumed disability),” i.e. there isn’t hostility to the non-disabled isn’t an aggravating factor.

  41. bloke in spain @44, it seems you think there is a list that blacks and Asians are on but whites are not. But the sentencing guidelines don’t mention black or Asian (or white). The relevant aggravating factor here is “Offence racially or religiously aggravated”.

    Likewise there is sex and gender identity (not male or female), age (not a particular age) and sexuality (not a particular sexuality, e.g. homosexuality). The only aggravating factor that isn’t as ‘inclusive’ is “hostility to the victim based on the victim’s disability (or presumed disability)”.

  42. “ukliberty // Apr 5, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Mr Potarto,
    You argued that an attack on a sub-section of the community should be viewed more seriously because it additionally instilled fear in that sub-section.

    Not one attack. I am talking about multiple attacks, multiple attackers over time. That’s the context. I’m sure you are aware that at various times there are specific ‘groups’ (e.g. Asians or homosexuals) who have been singled out for a good kicking?”
    But under hate crime it is more of a problem if
    you kick Asians because you hate them rather than because you want their money even though the effect is the same!!!
    BTW I benefited from hate crime because when I was burgled I said that it could have been a hate crime because my lodgers were black and the police spent slightly more effort on it.

  43. ukliberty – “How did you leap from [consider recording crimes] to mind control?”

    Umm, I didn-t. It is a figment of your imagination. I went from your claim the government needs to record so-called hate crimes so that they can do something about it to a criticism of the government deciding that it is their job to do something about what people think.

  44. UKLib
    You look at the wording of laws & statistics. Great if you’re interested in legal definitions & math. Most people don’t give a monkey’s. What they have is their perceptions of those things. Which is another thing entirely.
    You tell a bloke attacks on racial groups are more important & he is going to take that quite literally to mean the two tinted characters who mugged his son on the way home is less important. Particularly as assaults on white males doesn t seem to figure much in anyone s concern list. So don t be surprised if he takes a blunt instrument to the head of a not so randomly selected member of the tinted community. May be he was. Maybe he wasn t. But WGAF? It s payback & they re all the same, aren t they? Different from us. Like the law says.

  45. bloke in spain, it’s you saying there is a difference in importance between crimes against ethnic minorities and crimes against whites. The law does not say there is a difference in importance, as I said @ 49 /50. If you don’t want a race war, maybe you should stop spreading such misinformation.

  46. And Sam raises an interesting point;

    *I can see a lot of reasons why law enforcement people might want to classify hate crimes by subculture. Viz if you noticed an increase in goth-on-punk (or whatever) violence in your area then the next time you saw a group of goths walking near a punk pub or vice versa you might get on the blower and find some back-up, sharpish. That’s just good intelligence work.*

    And that s exactly what the police have been attacked for doing. And the justice system. So targeting groups with high rates of offending is discriminatory. Jailing them is a failure of the justice system. Musn t have discrimination in these areas because we are all the same.
    Just a shame Sam picked two groups the authorities would be all over like a bad smell at the slightest provocation. Because theyre white & hetero & have no *special rights*

  47. david,

    But under hate crime it is more of a problem if
    you kick Asians because you hate them rather than because you want their money even though the effect is the same!!!

    But the effect is not perceived to be the same – that’s the point, as I said @14 and @19.

    [a kicking] != [a kicking motivated by race]

    It’s not just about the victim but the group the criminal identified as needing a kicking.

  48. @UKLib
    As I said, it doesn t matter what the law actually says. It is what it is perceived to say. As soon as someone like yourself starts talking about attacks on a group being *more important* than attacks on people in general, you re headed down that road. It really is a zero sum game in ordinary peoples minds. More>less. Because that is how the world is perceived to work.

  49. “It’s not just about the victim but the group the criminal identified as needing a kicking.”

    But we are all members of groups, one way or another. You might just as well say any attack on any of us is an attack on our group.

  50. As soon as someone like yourself starts talking about attacks on a group being *more important* than attacks on people in general, you re headed down that road.

    But I haven’t – that’s been you and other commenters.

  51. But we are all members of groups, one way or another. You might just as well say any attack on any of us is an attack on our group.

    If you are not disabled, and someone gives you a good kicking saying “I hate you non-disabled bastards” then you might have cause to complain about this not being included in the list of aggravating factors. Nothing else.

  52. Lets see where we go with UK Libs thinking.
    There s about a ten to one ratio between robberies of whites by blacks to blacks by whites on London streets.
    1) A high proportion of black kids are into street robberies.
    2) The overwhelming majority of their targets are likely to be white because there are more of them & they have more to steal.
    Can t say I like this, but its a fact of life.
    With UK Libs interpretation.
    Attacks on whites is more serious because of the racial element. (Although we don t actually have any evidence, in each individual case, that this formed part of the motive – see above)
    Whites feel threatened.
    Seems like a good excuse to get an assault rifle & go looking for targets of opportunity down Tottenham High Road.

  53. “If you are not disabled, and someone gives you a good kicking saying *I hate you non-disabled bastards*”

    Oh FFS grow up! Nobody ever told you you re a white/black/green/yellow c**t? Trying to disentangle what people call each other at times from what their motives are is a lost cause.

  54. Incidentally, UK Lib, You any good with the subtleties of Jamaican patois? You generally get an introduction to it in about the second sentence of any mild dispute. It is extremely race & sexual preference orientated.Thanks to an past g/f I can usually hand it back with interest. But I don t take it personally.

  55. Incidentally, I think this is really a discussion about philosophies because I don t much disagree with UK Libs principles. Just that I dont have many. Im more interested in hacking a world that works.
    And lets face it. Guidelines about sentencing on motives for assaults are not going to change the mind of a single bigot or deter a single attack. It just doesnt work that way. Downside of a lot of what one might call *liberal* thinking is the belief its possible to compel people to be good little *liberals*, bless em. Might as well try & herd cats.

  56. I’m not convinced that hate crime laws are a good idea. But the point of them is surely to signal to potential victims and perpetrators that society strongly disapproves of the hatred, contrary to the mistaken impression each group may in its own way have formed that we sympathize with the underlying intent, even if disapprove of its precise expression.

  57. *But the point of them is surely to signal to potential victims and perpetrators that society strongly disapproves of the hatred, contrary to the mistaken impression each group may in its own way have formed that we sympathize with the underlying intent, even if disapprove of its precise expression.*

    Does it do any of that, Paul? The perpetrators dont see *society* disapproving of anything. Remember. They regard themselves as a part of that notional *society* What they see is those who rule & their mouthpieces disapproving. Its more likely to reinforce their opinions than change them.
    And for the victims? Whats wrong with a clear & unequivocal statement that they are as much a part of society as anyone else & an attack on them will be treated with equal seriousness? If you treat people differently they will behave differently & will be viewed as being different. Which is the root of the problem, Isnt it?

  58. ukliberty – “it-s you saying there is a difference in importance between crimes against ethnic minorities and crimes against whites. The law does not say there is a difference in importance, as I said @ 49 /50.”

    How many people have been jailed or given harsher sentences under such laws for crimes against the politically under-organised? How many for attacking Whites? Heterosexuals?

    Two Black men have just been convicted of plotting to kidnap and behead Joss Stone. In which race does seem to have played a part. Are they going to be charged with racially motivated motives?

    The fact that people like you have drawn up a law that does not mention what they intend or reflect how it operates in reality just makes the law worse in my opinion.

  59. PaulB – “But the point of them is surely to signal to potential victims and perpetrators that society strongly disapproves of the hatred, contrary to the mistaken impression each group may in its own way have formed that we sympathize with the underlying intent, even if disapprove of its precise expression.”

    Yes but if you signal that you strongly disapprove of the murder of Black people and Asians, at least when committed by someone who is not Black or Asian themselves, you are by definition also signaling that you do not strongly disapprove of the murder of White people. Or more accurately, the politically organised over the politically passive.

    Is this a good look?

    I would suggest that we already show how much we disapprove against murder, which is to say not much, by the laws against murder. And just as it is a very bad crime to kill Black people, it is also a very bad crime to kill White people. Or Asians. Or anyone else. And what we ought to be signaling is that murder is wrong. Not that some forms of murder are somehow less serious than other forms of murder based on some social group to which the victim belonged.

  60. bis: the root of the problem is violent bigots. Let’s not blame the victims.

    SMFS: Everyone knows that we disapprove of murder. What violent bigots may not realise is that they are (with a few exceptions) alone in their bigotry.

  61. The problem is this; it is impossible to know motivation, or another person’s emotional state. They are internalised and not exposed. We can guess at them, but never know. Let’s take an easy one: Hitler hated the Jews.

    Actually we don’t know. We know he did terrible things to them. We know he said terrible things about them. But we cannot know whether he felt “hate”. Perhaps he felt nothing personal at all (in the 1920s, he was friends with Jews, after all and expressed admiration for their cultural integrity). Perhaps he just saw them as a convenient scapegoat in his quest for power. Perhaps he viewed the eradication of Jewish Bolshevism as more important than Jewish lives, and killed them with a heavy heart. We really have no idea. All we can punish a Hitler for is what he did; the why he did it should be a matter for speculation by historians.

    We cannot know whether a man of one race who stabs a man of another race is doing so due to a hatred of the other man’s race, or not. So, we will have to hope for giveaways. Maybe he shouted, “take that, you black devil!”. But maybe he really hated the black man, but said nothing of the sort.

    And this is why the law should not be involved in such issues. It invites a court to speculate and guess, without any hope of proving that which is intrinsically unprovable.

  62. PaulB
    “bis: the root of the problem is violent bigots. Let s not blame the victims.”
    Jeez Paul. The stock reaction of the unthinking left. Bigots do blame the victims. That’s the point of being one. I m against encouraging folk to become bigots.
    If you have a situation where there’s no upside & indeterminate downside, the sensible decision is to not go there.

    (Hell I hate the B word. So often used instead of thinking about why someone holds different opinions from ones own. It’s not actually hard to work out why some people might be racist, homophobic, anti-semetic etc etc. Just because their experiences have led them to different conclusions to ones own isnt a reason to despise them. there but for the grace of, go you.)

  63. The upside would be that hate crime laws may contribute to a reinforcing a social norm rejecting the hate.

    Is there any evidence either way about this?

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