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Previous story These are the 6 Republicans who voted against a bipartisan bill on anti-Asian hate crimes Next story

STORY BY LAUREN FRIAS AND ERIN SNODGRASS

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Six GOP Senators Vote Against Anti-Asian Hate Crime Bill Who are the senators voted against a bill targeting anti-Asian hate crimes?
Published on April 17, 2021 4:48 AM

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex. Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON DC - The Senate overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to advance a bill addressing the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by Democrats Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Grace Meng of New York, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will require federal officers to "facilitate the expedited review" of hate crimes.

"It defines COVID-19 hate crime as a violent crime that is motivated by two things: (1) the actual or perceived characteristic (e.g., race) of any person, and (2) the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person because of that characteristic," according to the bill's summary.

In a rare bipartisan effort, a vast majority of senators voted 92-6 to advance the bill — bringing it one step closer to passing.

But the legislation could still face a difficult path forward. Republicans only supported the procedure on the agreement they could add amendments to the bill after it advanced: They added 20.

Hirono told HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic, some of the amendments added, "have absolutely nothing to do with the bill."

Senate leaders will now have to agree which amendments to consider in order to pass the bill through the Senate, "very, very soon," Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech Wednesday.

BACKGROUND

AsiaN hate crime is a prejudice-motivated crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of their membership of a certain social group or racial demographic. For any nationality, not only Asian.

Examples of such groups can include, and are almost exclusively limited to ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Non-criminal actions that are motivated by these reasons are often called 'bias incidents'.

'Hate crime' generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the social groups listed above, or by bias against their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, mate crime or offensive graffiti or letters .

A hate crime law is a law intended to deter bias-motivated violence. Hate crime laws are distinct from laws against hate speech: hate crime laws enhance the penalties associated with conduct which is already criminal under other laws, while hate speech laws criminalize a category of speech.

History The term 'hate crime' came into common usage in the United States during the 1980s, but it is often used retrospectively in order to describe events which occurred prior to that era. From the Roman persecution of Christians to the Nazi slaughter of Jews, hate crimes were committed by individuals as well as governments long before the term was commonly used. A major part of defining crimes as hate crimes is determining that they have been committed against members of historically oppressed groups.

As Europeans began to colonize the world from the 16th century onwards, indigenous peoples in the colonized areas, such as Native Americans, increasingly became the targets of bias-motivated intimidation and violence. During the past two centuries, typical examples of hate crimes in the U.S. include lynchings of African Americans, largely in the South, and lynchings of Mexicans and Chinese in the West; cross burnings in order to intimidate black activists or drive black families out of predominantly white neighborhoods both during and after Reconstruction; assaults on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; the painting of swastikas on Jewish synagogues; and xenophobic responses to a variety of minority ethnic groups.

The verb 'to lynch' is attributed to the actions of Charles Lynch, an 18th-century Virginia Quaker. Lynch, other militia officers, and justices of the peace rounded up Tory sympathizers who were given a summary trial at an informal court; sentences which were handed down included whipping, property seizure, coerced pledges of allegiance, and conscription into the military. Originally, the term referred to the extrajudicial organized but unauthorized punishment of criminals. It later evolved to describe executions which were committed outside 'ordinary justice.' It is highly associated with white suppression of African Americans in the South, and periods of weak or nonexistent police authority, as in certain frontier areas of the Old West.

Sociologists Jack McDevitt and Jack Levin's 2002 study into the motives for hate crimes found four motives, whereby 'thrill-seeking' accounted for 66% of all hate crimes overall in the United States:

Thrill-seeking - perpetrators engage in hate crimes for excitement and drama. There is often no greater purpose behind the crimes, with victims being vulnerable because they have an ethnic, religious, sexual or gender background that differs from their attackers. While the actual animosity present in such a crime can be quite low, thrill-seeking crimes were determined to often be dangerous, with 70% of thrill-seeking hate crimes studied involving physical attacks. Defensive - perpetrators engage in hate crimes out of a belief they are protecting their communities. These are often triggered by a certain background event. Perpetrators believe society supports their actions but is too afraid to act and thus they believe they have communal assent in their actions. Retaliatory - perpetrators engage in hate crimes out of a desire for revenge. This can be in response to personal slights, other hate crimes or terrorism. The 'avengers' target members of a group whom they believe committed the original crime, even if the victims had nothing to do with it. These kinds of hate crimes are a common occurrence after terrorist attacks. Mission offenders - perpetrators engage in hate crimes out of ideological reasons. They consider themselves to be crusaders, often for a religious or racial cause. They will often write complex explanations for their views and target symbolically important sites while trying to maximize damage. They believe that there is no other way to accomplish their goals, which they consider to be justification for excessive violence against innocents. This kind of hate crime often overlaps with terrorism and was considered by the FBI to be both the rarest and deadliest form of hate crime.