Monday, November 29, 2010

Say What?

So I am watching this detective show on TV and the victim this week is a woman who is found naked in an alley.  She has been beaten to death and then raped afterwards.  In the next scene it is determined that she is a lesbian and the detective says, "I think we have a hate crime."  Say what?  Stripped naked! Beaten! Murdered! Raped! but it took sexual orientation to bring "hate" into the equation?  Now, obviously, anyone victimizing another person because of their sexual orientation is completely, totally repulsive and their crime should be punished severely.  But to use "hate" in the way we do when referring to "hate crimes" trivializes the concept of hate, and seems to departmentalizes "hate" to only being a factor with certain types of crimes.  ANY murder includes hate, ANY rape includes hate, AN Y beating includes hate.  If it was necessary to have a class of crime that involved motivation as a defining factor  it would have been good to find another word other than "hate" to differentiate those horrible acts from other horrible acts.