The Instigator
FacelessBeauty
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Poko
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Should "hate crimes" carry harsher penalties than their normal equivalent?- (for PerC competition)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,241 times Debate No: 26388
Debate Rounds (5)
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FacelessBeauty

Con

Hate crimes are defined as the victimization of an individual based upon said individual's race, nationality, gender, or sexual preferences (1).

Hate crimes should not receive harsher penalties than those of their "regular" equivalents for two main reasons:

a) Harsher punishment being doled out for the same crimes undermines the purpose of giving punishment to crimes in the first place. This relies extensively on the determination of the offender's intent rather than focusing on the actual crime being committed. According to Newton's third law of motion, for every reaction there is an equal but opposite reaction. Following this mode of reasoning, if two young boys both broke someone's window with a baseball, one would expect them to receive the same punishment.

In the case of hate crimes however, weight is added to the punishment of one over the other based upon the perceived intent of each of these boys. If the assumption were that one of the boys happened to break the window out of boredom, while the other broke the window out of spite for his neighbors, the former would receive a less harsh punishment than that of the latter. The purpose of having punishments for those who commit crimes is to serve as retribution for the wrongs that they did (2) regardless of the intent behind the act committed.

b) Rather than promoting the value of tolerance, this can actually create more divides between different groups of people. Creating a separate category and punishment style for what is considered to be a hate crime only serves to create more polarization and tension between members of the respective groups involved.

For example, in the midst of the Trayvon Martin shooting drama, the Washington Post reported that a poll showed the stark contrasts between the views of whites and blacks on the matter. A large proportion of African-Americans who took the survey viewed laws such as the "Stand Your Ground" laws in a negative light as compared to their white counterparts (3). Many people in the black community probably viewed the events of this case as a hate crime, and the perceived mishandling of this case only served to make them feel seperate from other communities in the American melting pot. Rather than creating a more tolerant environment, this standard drives communities apart more than anything else.

(1) http://www.rainn.org...
(2) http://www.psychologytoday.com...
(3) http://www.washingtonpost.com...
Poko

Pro

Oh... Well... Damn, you'll have to excuse me for being informal and possibly going about this all wrong since I decided to do this on a whim and have no idea what I'm doing.

Hate crimes are driven by a hate for another for their differences and are encouraged by other hate crimes, no matter how minuscule. The threat of receiving a certain amount of punishment has become accepted and risk-worthy. The best way to deal with hate crimes would be to scare those who believes risk is worth it to get their discrimination message across to stop or at least lessen.

The division between certain groups will increase if the punishment for hate crimes weren't harsher if anything. Hate crimes encourage others to discriminate, it's not only an act of hatred, it's also a message accepting hate as a social norm. A simple and quick answer that solves the problem is to threaten with a harsher punishment, this way hate crime counts will decrease and there would be less encouragement as a result.

In a society structured in such a way that accounts for morality and general "good", punishment for crimes committed out of hatred should be harsher. If one were to commit a crime with the intent to cause harm, as opposed to accidentally causing harm, it would make sense to impose a harsher punishment. The purpose of punishment for crimes isn't only to force equivalent exchange, but also to teach a lesson and to make sure the same crime does not happen again.

If punishment for hate crimes were to create a larger gap between certain groups of people due to bias, that is what it is, people will generally be bias and support those who they relate to most. But that does not mean the punishment should be any less. Punishment for crimes should be dealt with with the person committing the crime and the victim in mind, not with people who aren't at all involved. How bystanders feel about the outcome should not change the actual outcome, as they are simply bystanders rooting for their team. If a large group of people protest that their favorite basketball team should have won, but lost for whatever reason, that will widen the gap between the fans of the two teams, but that's not going to change the outcome.
Debate Round No. 1
FacelessBeauty

Con

While my opponent has raised some intrguing points about the intents and purpose of doling harsher punishments out to those who commit hate crimes, he fails to acknowledge certain flaws within such a system.

My opponent first states that "the division between certain groups will increase if the punishment for hate crimes weren't harsher than anything." Although it is a seemingly plausible motive for those in favor of the proposition, there are other factors besides hate crimes that create divisions between groups. These factors include but are not limited to: political ideology, religion, regional biases, levels of education, and socioeconomic status. Punishing hate crimes more harshly would not eliminate the divides that arise because of these factors.

He then goes on to say that, "punishment for crimes committed out of hatred should be harsher," on the basis of using the intent of the crime as the factor that gives or takes weight away from the punishment. This extrapolates law's function to call for retribution for the misdeeds committed onto something as ambiguous and murky as an individual's true intent. Labeling crimes as hate crimes also says a lot more about society as a whole than anything else. If society did not hold onto it's notions about gender roles, race, and sexuality there would be no need to have harsher punishment for hate crimes in the first place. By doing so, they drive wedges between the groups by emphasising their existence in the first place rather than referring to members of it's nation as a collective whole.

And the gist of his final paragraph was about how people who are not involved in the offense or impacted by it are negligible in the matter. This contradicts the purpose that harsh punishments for hate crimes serves. The purpose of such laws serve as an example of what is deemed morally acceptable by society. If two constituents of the larger society cannot see the equality that this is supposed to bring, it is doing more harm than good, and is counterproductive.
Poko

Pro

Poko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
FacelessBeauty

Con

FacelessBeauty forfeited this round.
Poko

Pro

Poko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
FacelessBeauty

Con

FacelessBeauty forfeited this round.
Poko

Pro

Poko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
FacelessBeauty

Con

FacelessBeauty forfeited this round.
Poko

Pro

Poko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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