Gender-motivated bias crimes: examining why situational variables are important in the labeling of hate crimes
Hertl, Jordan Thore
CommitteeSinclair, C. Hillary
Giesen, Martin J.
Jacquin, M. Kristine
Prototype theory states that people have certain expectations when it comes to perpetrators and victims of acts of discrimination. A scenario was developed wherein victim type, severity of assault, assault location, and victim-perpetrator relationship were varied. The perception of bias as a motive and the labeling of the scenario as a hate crime were significantly affected by the independent variables. Scenarios featuring an African American victim were more likely to be labeled as a hate crime than those targeting a non-minority woman. Other factors that resulted in an increased application of the hate crime label were a) the attack was committed by a stranger, b) the attack was more severe, and c) the attack occurred following a political meeting instead of a college class. Overall this study showed that participants did not perceive crimes committed against women to be hate crimes unless that woman was of prototypical minority.