Hate Crimes in Virginia
By David Wright and Ishraq Quasem
One of the harshest things occurring in the modern world are hate crimes. Hate crimes are legally defined as "crimes motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence." According to a 2012 FBI Report, 20.8% of hate crimes are against sexual orientation. However, the largest hate crime reported in the report was against the race of a person(46.9%). These hate crimes may not be common in Virginia, but they are still present. A recent example of this being from last year in Fairfax County. On July 6th, Tyler Hill was running a lemonade stand outside of his apartment complex. A man dressed in a full-body anatomy unitard approached the stand holding a water balloon. After Tyler asked not be hit with the water balloon, the man threw the balloon at him, that turned out to be filled with human urine. He ran off, but not before yelling, "Go back to Africa you n****!" This of course is an outrage, and it doesn't get better. Earlier that year, a black minister in Chesterfield had his house burned down, after having racial slurs painted on it. The most surprising thing about this is that the man who committed this crime was a black male, showing that anyone can commit this type of crime, which has happened across the country, as recently as St. Paul. Now, as police usually take this type of crime seriously, as shown by the gradual drop of hate crimes through out the years with a reported 18% drop between 2008 and 2009, the police are limited to the definition of a hate crime to classify a crime as such, so these statistics could be missing a substantial amount of data. An example of this is the case of a Mosque(a place of Islamic worship) in Manassas, where vandalism and property damage were inflicted, along with vulgar slurs on the building. Due to the lack of evidence to a motivation against Muslims this was not categorized or treated as a hate crime, but the case provoked an investigation. With the amount of these biased crimes, this generation is being exposed to something similar, not nearly as severe however, to the Civil Rights Movement. The exposure of this kind of hate could influence teens to see different cultures and races as pathetic people and attempt to treat them with such hatred.