The Rise in Hate Crime: Anti-Immigration Policy

Please read the following speech and answer the questions afterwards.  Use proper grammar and usage.

After answering the questions, check and see if we have a hate crime law today.  Do we?  Tell me the source of your information using MLA citation(s). If you are in ESL 107, not 108, 109, or English 101, then go ahead and just tell me information about the sources. 

The Rise in Hate Crime: Anti-Immigration Policy

By Deval Patrick

On July 8, 1994, Deval Patrick addressed the Organization of Chinese Americans about the rise in hate crimes, specifically dealing with those against Asian Americans. At the time of the speech, Patrick was serving as an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and spoke on its behalf regarding efforts to decrease hate crimes in America. Patrick employs many statistics and refers to past cases in order to demonstrate both the severity of these crimes and the nature of the ongoing fight against discrimination in the United States.  Patrick’s speech is meant to persuade his audience that the Civil Rights Division is working to protect their rights and that they ought to join in this fight against prejudice. As you read, identify the persuasive tools that Patrick uses to sway his audience.

Thank you so much, Daphne Kwok, for that extravagant introduction.  One of the few “perks” of public service is that, when one is asked to speak somewhere, one gets to have one’s accomplishments exaggerated.  I take it warmly, but with a grain of salt.  I say to you, as I do to many audiences, that I only hope someday to be worthy of the many compliments you have given me.

My thanks go out to the Organization of Chinese Americans for inviting me to join you today.  I have so much to learn about the concerns and the practical problems of the various different groups in whose interest we work in the Civil Rights Division, and being able to attend even a small part of the conferences like yours is always helpful and informative.  …

In the Division right now, in a way, everything is up for grabs—by design.  Last month, we embarked on a strategic planning process by which we will, frankly, define the civil rights enforcement priorities of the Department of Justice, consulting broadly both within the department and among many distinguished advocates outside of the department as well.  Our aim is to have a set of specific enforcement goals, practical problems to help solve and on which to concentrate our resources and attention.  But I can tell you—with or without a strategic plan—that some serious problems already cry out for our attention.

Like you, I’m sure, I have been troubled by the rise in hate crime over the past several years, including anti-Asian violence.  The latest figures from the FBI, under the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, showed 236 incidents of anti-Asian violence in 1993, against 293 victims.  The National Asian Pacific Legal Consortium reported 335 incidents in 1993.  According to the Consortium, at least 30 of these incidents resulted in death.  Imagine:  30 homicides just last year in which Asian Pacific Americans were killed simply because they were Asian Pacific Americans.

And that’s 30 reported homicides, 335 reported incidents.  No doubt these statistics represent only a fraction of the incidents of anti-Asian violence in this country.  Language barriers, mistrust of police by recent immigrants, ignorance of hate crimes protections and civil rights laws, a reluctance of law enforcement to identify hate crimes as such—all can and often do suppress the figures reported.

The Civil Rights Division has prosecuted a number of anti-Asian violence cases in the past, most notably the Vincent Chin case in Detroit.  But we can do better. … Our objective is to identify particular problem areas and patterns of violence—including those involving the growing numbers of organized hate groups—and to pounce on problems as we learn of them.  We will need your help to get the information, to find the cases appropriate for federal prosecution.  And we will vigorously pursue these cases where we have the information and the evidence.  Personal safety, freedom from violence based on status, is a central concern….  In the Civil Rights Division, we will do our part by bringing the federal prosecutions that demonstrate that such violence has no place in this society today. …

In the Civil Rights Division we have targeted jurisdictions with minority language populations to provide more effective assistance.  For example, in New York City recently, we objected when the jurisdiction refused to translate the names of candidates into Chinese.  That produced a change.  Now, New Yorkers more comfortable in Chinese than in English can join in the political process.  There is much more we can do, and we are working to develop an aggressive enforcement plan for minority language issues. …

I have to note a personal concern, too, perhaps a bit outside of my official role and duties.  I have been very troubled by the rash of anti-immigrant politics sweeping certain parts of the nation. … [M]ore troubling than anything we have seen in Washington is the so-called “Save Our State” (SOS) initiative on the ballot here in California this November.  If passed, among other things, SOS would:

—Limit public education to children who can prove citizenship or legal residency;

—Require school districts to verify the legal residency of all students, as well as the status of their parent or guardian, under threat of expulsion;

—Deny publicly-funded health services to non-citizens; and

—Require government officials to report “suspected” undocumented persons to INS, nullifying any sanctuary ordinance already passed by local governments in the states. …

There are chilling incidents we can envision for Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans in particular who will get reported to and hassled by immigration officials because they “look” like undocumented aliens, whatever that means.  As a response to immigration problems, “SOS” is like swatting a flea with a sledgehammer.  As a symbolic matter, this initiative will simply permit the narrow-minded to deny that we are a multicultural society—as we have always been.  It is wrong for politicians to stir up and exploit anti-immigration sentiment, passing it off as comprehensive immigration and border control policy rather than the rank, political maneuver it is.

This and other initiatives and incidents point toward a larger challenge before the Civil Rights Division,  indeed before the whole nation.  Forty years after Brown v. Board of Education and thirty years after enactment of the Landmark Civil Rights act of 1964, the civil rights of African Americans have not been fully achieved.  Meanwhile, the civil rights landscape has changed dramatically.  Today, issues are no longer just black and white.  America has evolved and matured over the last forty years, and now must learn to embrace a significantly multiethnic and multicultural society.  Fear—felt by some, stirred up by a few—causes us sometimes to recoil from each other’s struggles to see one group’s gains as another’s losses, reducing the civil rights debate to some abstract discussion about entitlements and quotas and like nonsense.

I believe that we must be bigger than that,  because the real and ultimate agenda of our work is to reclaim the American conscience.  Our true mission is to restore the great moral imperative that civil rights is finally all about, to recreate the shared national consensus that discrimination is wrong, and to return the language of civil rights to its essence, back to concepts of equality, opportunity, and fair play.

We must explain to the nation that civil rights is not just of concern to African Americans or disabled Americans or to those whose religion is in the minority; it is of concern to each and every one of us.  Because each citizen is diminished when anyone—on account of a happenstance of birth—experiences anything less than the full measure of his or her dignity and privilege as a human being and an American citizen.

… [T]his effort will only succeed and it will only last if we all learn to invest in one another’s civil rights—not just as a matter of political coalition building, but also as a matter of conscience.

Within broad-based groups, learning to invest in each other’s struggle and to appreciate each other’s perspectives is happening, with marked results.  In the disabilities community, for example, people who use wheelchairs, or are blind or deaf, or have HIV or a mental illness found their way to each other and—together—enabled enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act.  The ADA became law because a wide variety of disability rights groups invested in each other’s struggle and explained to Congress and in the nation a strong collective voice that discrimination is an experience that all people with disabilities share.

There is, of course, a parallel in this audience.  On many issues the Chinese American community has joined with Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Cambodian Americans, and Filipino Americans—and found strength.  But we must learn to cross even these broad group boundaries and invest in our common struggle.  The struggle that your community wages against anti-immigrant sentiment, hate crimes, unfairness in employment, and language discrimination is a struggle shared by Hispanic Americans and Jewish Americans and African Americans as well.  Of course there are differences—large and small.  And there are differences in histories, which we must learn to appreciate and respect.  But we must keep in our minds and our hearts that the indignity of discrimination is just as profound whether it comes because you speak accented English or have dark skin, or worship a different God than your neighbor does.  Discrimination is wrong.  And there is both comfort and strength that comes when we commit to each other’s struggle.

At the most basic level, I think Americans understand this.  Summoned to think about what makes us proud of this country Americans understand at some level that we have a national creed, one deeply rooted in the concepts of equality, opportunity, and fair play.  At some level we understand that civil rights progress—however sometimes wrenching or resisted—is ultimately the measure of the progress of our civilization.  And it is up to us as members of the civil rights community to remind our fellow citizens of that creed and to help them see that the American community as a whole is ultimately the real civil rights community.

We are a great nation, it seems to me, not just because of what we have accomplished, but because of what we have committed ourselves to become.  And it is that sense of hope, that sense of looking forward, that I believe has made not only our civil rights movement, but ourselves as a nation, an inspiration to the world.

Now, it’s up to us.  Neither this administration as a whole nor its Civil Rights Division may have all the answers.  God knows, I don’t.  And it would be absurd to believe that we will always be beyond your criticism or someone else’s.  But we are here with you, looking forward, committed to earning the hope that so many place in us.  Thank you very much.

Discussion Questions

1. What is the general purpose of the speech? What is the specific purpose?

2. What types of evidence and persuasive appeals does Patrick use to support his main points?

3. What does the speaker challenge his audience to do?

4. What argument does Patrick use to demonstrate the importance of decreasing hate crimes in America?