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Making Hate A Crime

Making Hate A Crime: From Social Movement to Law Enforcement

Valerie Jenness
Ryken Grattet
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    Making Hate A Crime
    Book Description:

    Violence motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and homophobia weaves a tragic pattern throughout American history. Fueled by recent high-profile cases, hate crimes have achieved an unprecedented visibility. Only in the past twenty years, however, has this kind of violence-itself as old as humankind-been specifically categorized and labeled as hate crime.Making Hate a Crimeis the first book to trace the emergence and development of hate crime as a concept, illustrating how it has become institutionalized as a social fact and analyzing its policy implications.

    InMaking Hate a CrimeValerie Jenness and Ryken Grattet show how the concept of hate crime emerged and evolved over time, as it traversed the arenas of American politics, legislatures, courts, and law enforcement. In the process, violence against people of color, immigrants, Jews, gays and lesbians, women, and persons with disabilities has come to be understood as hate crime, while violence against other vulnerable victims-octogenarians, union members, the elderly, and police officers, for example-has not. The authors reveal the crucial role social movements played in the early formulation of hate crime policy, as well as the way state and federal politicians defined the content of hate crime statutes, how judges determined the constitutional validity of those statutes, and how law enforcement has begun to distinguish between hate crime and other crime. Hate crime took on different meanings as it moved from social movement concept to law enforcement practice. As a result, it not only acquired a deeper jurisprudential foundation but its scope of application has been restricted in some ways and broadened in others.Making Hate a Crimereveals how our current understanding of hate crime is a mix of political and legal interpretations at work in the American policymaking process. Jenness and Grattet provide an insightful examination of the birth of a new category in criminal justice: hate crime. Their findings have implications for emerging social problems such as school violence, television-induced violence, elder-abuse, as well as older ones like drunk driving, stalking, and sexual harassment.Making Hate a Crimepresents a fresh perspective on how social problems and the policies devised in response develop over time.

    A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-314-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. About the Authors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Valerie Jenness and Ryken Grattet
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Chapter 1 Introduction: The Hate Crime Agenda
    (pp. 1-16)

    As theNational Law Journalhas noted, the 1990s may go down in history as the “decade of hate—or at least of hate crime” (Rovella 1994, A1). Although it remains an open question whether America is actually experiencing greater levels of hate-motivated conduct than it has in the past, it is clear that the ascendancy of hate crime as a concept in policy discourse has focused attention on the behavior in a new way. It is an age-old problem approached with a new conceptual lens and sense of urgency. During the 1980s and 1990s, multiple social movements began to...

  7. Chapter 2 The Emergence of an Anti-Hate-Crime Movement and the Construction of an Epidemic of Violence
    (pp. 17-41)

    Violence organized around select social characteristics and statuses, what is currently referred to as bias- or hate-motivated violence, is not a new phenomenon. Rather, it is an identifiable feature of human societies across the globe, both historically and at present. So why is it only in the latter part of the twentieth century that hate crime has come to the fore as a major social problem worthy of public attention, legislative action, judicial review, and punitive response? Why and how has “hate crime” become a part of our social and legal lexicon? How did such an issue come into being?...

  8. Chapter 3 Social Movement Mobilization, Categorization Processes, and Meaning Making in Federal Hate Crime Law
    (pp. 42-72)

    If, as Terry Maroney (1998, 579) suggests, the “first task of the anti-hate-crime movement was to create a societal perception that hate crime was a specific evil requiring a specific response,” the second task was to seek legal redress. Recognizing the movement’s orientation toward legal redress, Jacobs and Potter (1998, 63) argue that “advocacy groups for gays and lesbians, Jews, blacks, women, Asian Americans, and disabled persons have all claimed that recent unprecedented violence against their members requires special hate crimes legislation. These groups have sought to call attention to their members’ victimization, subordinate status, and need for special governmental...

  9. Chapter 4 Diffusion Processes and the Evolution of State Hate Crime Law
    (pp. 73-101)

    Continuing with the empirical and theoretical themes developed in the previous chapter, in this chapter we direct attention to the content of state level hate crime and the way this body of law has diffused throughout the United States in a short period of time. As Maroney (1998, 567–68) has recently observed, “In seemingly no time at all, a ‘hate crimes jurisprudence’ had sprung up.” In the past two decades most of the state legislatures have adopted at least one hate crime statute that recognizes, defines, and responds to discriminatory violence (see figure 4.1).

    As a recent innovative approach...

  10. Chapter 5 Judicial Decision Making and the Changing Meaning of Hate Crime
    (pp. 102-126)

    At any given moment in time legal rules and categories exist on a continuum from controversial to settled (Friedman 1967, 793–94). There is widespread agreement, for example, about the behaviors and intentional states involved in larceny or fraud but significantly less consensus about what should be included under sexual harassment (Schultz 1998) and computer “hacking” (Chandler 1996). The controversy surrounding these latter categories has resulted in intensive negotiation among politicians, legal officials and experts, collective actors, and others about their meaning: What kinds of behaviors and intentions can be grouped under these categories? What should be excluded? What is...

  11. Chapter 6 Law Enforcement Responses: Policing and Prosecuting Hate Crime
    (pp. 127-153)

    Once legislatures and courts have spoken, legal constructs must be applied in concrete day-to-day circumstances by officials on the front lines of the criminal justice system. What sociologists refer to as the “labeling” process occurs at the point of contact between the criminal justice system and the victims and perpetrators of crime. It is the moment at which the statutes that constitute the body of law are set into operation, applied to concrete events, and inserted into the lives of specific individuals. It is also the moment at which what we have previously referred to as “the determinacy of law”...

  12. Chapter 7 Conclusion: Empirical Findings, Theoretical Interpretations, and Policy Implications
    (pp. 154-182)

    Over the past three decades hate crime has been defined, promoted, and addressed as a contemporary social problem. As Senator Edward Kennedy has proclaimed, “Civil rights are still the unfinished business of America. Hate crimes are uniquely destructive and divisive, because their impact extends far beyond the victim. They poison entire communities and undermine the ideals for which America stands. They deserve to be punished with the full force of law” (Lawrence 1999). Interestingly, it was not until the end of the twentieth century that statements like this were issued by senior elected officials and policy reform designed to combat...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 183-194)
  14. References
    (pp. 195-212)
  15. Index
    (pp. 213-218)