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Connecting the Past to the Future: Hate Crime in America

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: February 1999 Pages: 22-47
C Petrosino
Date Published
26 pages
This article argues that hate crimes are not a modern phenomenon; instead, they extend throughout the history of the United States.
The analysis uses a definition based on intrinsic justice rather than codified law to examine selected events in the period from the 17th century through the early 19th century. Results of the comparative analysis indicated similarities and differences between historical and modern events. The analysis of the conditions surrounding the dynamics of past and present hate crimes and the analysis of current trends suggested five conclusions. First, racism is a primary predictor of hate crime through time. Second, the efficiency and degree of harm potential in hate crime is a function of opportunity and technology. Third, hate crimes will occur more frequently and be more difficult to prevent. Fourth, many people are becoming more sympathetic to the hate crime perpetrator's cause despite the repugnant nature of hate crime. Finally, on some levels, hate crime is becoming indistinguishable from domestic terrorism. Table, notes, and 84 references (Author abstract modified)