My definition of hate crimes: a crime of abuse—verbal or physical—driven by intolerance and prejudice towards a person’s colour, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. For instance, Black communities are still on the receiving end of many threats and/or shootings, including by the police. Indigenous people are discriminated against over and over again, in such places as hospitals (there have been several TV news items of recorded abuse by nurses, for example) and in job interviews.

Hate crimes also target race and national origin. Examples are attacks on East-Asians that resemble, or are, Chinese individuals. This has occurred in the last three years due to binary views and incendiary remarks made by Trump and others, who wrongly blame them for the pandemic … even if these people were nowhere near China when Covid initially broke out there.

It has been shown that in colleges, usually presumed to be full of enlightened young people, bullying and intimidation of the above-mentioned groups is no better than anywhere else. It is unfortunate that bullies still thrive in schools and go on to post-secondary education with their behaviours unchecked. Their victims can suffer academic impacts due to decreased motivation to study or due to intimidation and lack of inclusion in classroom group debates and team assignments.

It is important to realize that there are myriad factors contributing to bullying and other crimes, including problems at home, peer pressure, insecurity and more. Some teenagers have a sadistic streak, and adults need to acknowledge this fact. These young adults often end up charged with crimes later in life, but it is possible to guide turn them around: counseling and mentors are two of the ways to create change.

Families of college bullies need guidance as well, because a lack of proper direction at home can lead children and teenagers down the wrong path. One issue is that parents themselves may be prejudiced and this influences their children. It would be helpful for colleges to arrange meetings with perpetrators of abuse against other students, along with their parents or other family members. In some cases, not much can be done to combat deep-set attitudes towards other races and religions, but perhaps warnings of possible expulsion, and suggestions of counselling, would eliminate the abusive acts, so that other students can study in peace.

Below is a link to an excellent webpage called “100+ Statistics on Crime in US Schools” written by Tom Read, a Cybersecurity Researcher. The site contains many ideas, and although the focus is on US schools, the information and advice within applies to other countries too.—Racism