Analysis of US hate crime legislation reveals a significant overall trend involving: (1) the inclusion of a notion of hate motivation on the part of the offender; (2) the provision for enhanced penalties; and (3) the identification of particular victimized groups who are listed in state and federal hate crime statutes. Whether or not a person is recognized as a hate crime victim in US statutes has been shown to be heavily influenced by the strength of social movements based on politicized identities. It is argued that this alignment problematizes the position of victims who are the targets of hate crimes yet who fail to organize on the basis of identity politics, lack political clout, have insufficient moral status, or who see hate crime legislation as an ineffective way of dealing with their particular concerns. This paper examines the barriers to achieving hate crime victim status for persons who are targeted because of their occupations or sexual orientation. The specific examples I will use are doctors and other workers in abortion clinics, sex workers and paedophiles. These widely disparate groups have been selected as examples to highlight some of the moral status, politicized identity and social movement and lobbying strength issues that are currently involved in being recognized as a victim of hate in the US. It is argued that Australia should not proceed down the track of introducing hate crime legislation. Hate crime legislation is the source of serious social disquiet and acrimony in the US. There are inequities built into the alignment between proving hate intent and the enhanced penalty approach that involve giving higher symbolic status to some bodies and not others. As the experience in the US shows, this has a dangerous potential to undermine social cohesion and community faith in equality before the law as well as creating a breeding ground of resentment.

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