Pick the Lowest Hanging Fruit: Hate Crime Law and the Acknowledgment of Racial Violence

Bell, Jeannine | April 3, 2023

The U.S. has had remedies aimed at racial violence since the Ku Klux Klan Act was passed in the 1870s. Hate crime law, which is more than thirty years old, is the most recent incarnation. The passage of hate crime law, first at the federal level and later by the states, has done very little to slow the rising tide of bigotry. After a brief discussion of state and federal hate crime law, this Article will critically examine the country’s approach to hate crime. The article will then discuss one of the most prevalent forms of hate crime—bias-motivated violence that targets individuals in their homes. The Article will conclude with a discussion of the approach taken by the Justice Department in the Ahmad Arbery case as a potentially positive solution for the handling of hate crime cases.