After reading Love hate and Other Filters, a book written by Samira Ahmed that follows a 17-year-old Muslim girl named Maya Aziz in her senior year of high school. She has traditional parents that dismiss her life dreams as hobbies. Later in the book, a terrorist attack happens and they happen to have the same last name as her. After this happened she and her family were persecuted because they were thought to have something to do with the attack. Her whole life is changed because of something that happened many miles away and had nothing to do with her.  

There is no doubt in my mind that what happened to Maya in the story was a hate crime, but where does this fear come from, or is it fear, is it just hatred or bigotry? The FBI describes “Hate itself” as not being a “crime”. They depict themselves as “protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties” (FBI). They define a hate crime as a crime that has “an added element of bias” (FBI). I think hate crimes are a result of stereotypes and misunderstandings of other cultures and races. I also feel like it comes from the people’s upbringing and their experiences. Daniel Burke describes hate crimes as having four motives in his article The four reasons people commit hate crimes. He says the first reason is to satisfy an “itch for excitement or drama” (Burke). He says that these crimes have no real motive behind them “the victims are vulnerable simply because their sexual, racial, ethnic, gender or religious background differs from that of their attackers” (Burke). Later in the article, he explains the second reason people commit hate crimes is that they think they are “defending” themselves. These people attack people and justify it saying they are “necessary to keep threats at bay” (Burke). The third reason he describes as being “retaliatory” and says they “target members of the racial, ethnic or religious group who they believe committed the original crime — even if the victims had nothing to do with it” (Burke). The fourth type is described as “mission offenders”  and their goal is to cause “total war against members of a rival race or religion”(Burke).  I think Maya experiences the defensive and retaliatory kind of hate in the book. She doesn’t pose a direct threat to the people in her community, they are seeking revenge on her because she is a part of the same ethnic group as the terrorists.  

So this all explains the “reasoning” behind hate crimes and where they come from but how do they affect Americans? According to “Dr. Gregory Herek” a psychology professor “lesbian and gay survivors of hate crimes during the previous 5 years showed more signs of psychological distress” this included “depression, stress, and anger” other lesbian and gay survivors of comparable non-bias-motivated crimes experienced less psychological distress (Herek para 3). Why don’t the police do more to prevent these crimes? This is a problem that reporter Rachel Glickhouse tries to answer. She says one of the reasons is that “more than half of victims don’t report to police” because of  “mistrust in police, a fear of not being taken seriously or uncertainty if they experienced a crime” (Glickhouse). I feel like mistrust in the police is one of the biggest reasons this problem is harder to fix. In my opinion, minorities, in general, have a fear of police or feel like they aren’t completely fair or on their side. This is due to the fact that many cases of unjust treatment of minorities by police have been highlighted in the media. I feel like it is a strong stigma many minorities hold. The other issue Glickhouse explains is that “police departments don’t do a good job investigating and tracking hate crimes”, explaining that “the police don’t take hate crimes seriously enough”  (Glickhouse). All of these factors create a sense of fear, anger, and distrust of the police.

Hate crimes are a very nuanced issue This is part of the reason they are so hard to prevent. I think there will always be hate in the world but I also believe that we can and should do more to protect people from it. One way we can help this issue is by teaching people about other cultures and diversity. We should show people that different groups of people don’t need to be feared and you shouldn’t judge an entire culture because of a few evil acts. People should learn to respect differences and embrace other cultures.

Works Cited

Burke, Story by Daniel, and data analysis by Sergio Hernandez. “The Four Reasons People Commit Hate Crimes.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 June 2017, “Hate Crimes.” FBI, FBI, 3 May 2016, 

Glickhouse, Rachel. “5 Things You Need to Know About Hate Crimes in America.” ProPublica, 7 Aug. 2019, www.propublica.org/article/hate-endures-in-america-and-with-it-our-effort-to-document-the-damage.

“Hate Crimes.” FBI, FBI, 3 May 2016, https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/hate-crimes.

Herek, Gregory M. Hate Crimes, https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/hate_crimes_study.html

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CC BY-SA 4.0 What causes hate crimes and how do they affect Americans? by David is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

2 Comments
  1. Megan 1 week ago

    Hi David!

    I completely agree with everything you said! It is clear that everything you said are high issues concerning our country, and the points you raised were very valid. Hate crimes are very prevalent, and a lot of the information you provided was relatively shocking. My one addition is that maybe go further in depth on the definition of a hate” crime, and possibly what constitutes it. Heres a link that may help you (https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/learn-about-hate-crimes) Your essay was very interesting to read.
    Thank you!

  2. Laya 1 week ago

    Hi David! I really enjoyed your post and think your topic is a very important thing that everyone should be more educated about. Your book sounds really interesting, and especially significant considering the times we are in now. In the second paragraph, where you talked about how the FBI doesn’t consider hate necessarily as a crime, was very shocking to me. I wonder to what extent that means because “hate” can be a super vague term but also just as broad. I agree that hate crimes are very prevalent still and people need to be more educated about them in order for us to prevent them. Do you think things will change soon? Overall I think you did a great job writing this essay.

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