In law, a crime directed at a person or persons on the basis of characteristics such as race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The concept emerged in the U.S. in the late 1970s, and since then laws have been passed in many U.S. states mandating additional penalties for violent crimes motivated by bias or bigotry against particular groups. Several other Western countries, including Australia, Britain, and Canada, have adopted laws designed to curb violent crime against racial and religious minorities. For example, German law forbids public incitement and instigation of racial hatred, including the distribution of Nazi propaganda.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on hate crime, visit Britannica.com.
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