Hate crime laws won’t actually prevent anti-Asian hate crimes

By centering policing, they do little to address the root cause.


The largest federal response to a surge in attacks against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic has been Congress’s Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. The law, passed last month, designates a specific Justice Department official to focus on reviewing such incidents and provides grants to police departments so they can establish hotlines for hate crime reporting.

According to multiple experts, however, hate crime laws, like the one Congress just passed, serve a symbolic purpose but don’t really do much to deter people from committing hate crimes.

In fact, much of the conversation around hate crimes has centered on what happens after an attack has already taken place. There’s been a focus on the collection of hate crime data, calls for more policing or security in various communities, and an examination of the types of penalties that perpetrators should face.

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