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Race Race has played a pivotal role in the history of the United States and in our nations struggle to realize the full promise of our society This paper should assist the understanding of race in the United States and suggest ways in which the American experience can have relevance for other nations and peoples The Impact of Bias Crimes on the Target Community The impact of bias crimes reaches beyond the harm done to the immediate victim or victims of the criminal behavior There is a more widespread impact on the target community -- that is the community that shares the race religion or ethnicity of the victim -- and an even broader based harm to the general society Members of the target community of a bias crime experience that crime in a manner that has no equivalent in the public response to a parallel crime Not only does the reaction of the target community go beyond mere sympathy with the immediate bias crime victim it exceeds empathy as well Members of the target community of a bias crime perceive that crime as if it were an attack on them directly and individually Consider the burning of a cross on the lawn of an African-American family or the spray-painting of swastikas and hateful graffiti on the home of a Jewish family Others might associate themselves with the injuries done to these families having feelings of anger or hurt and thus sympathize with the victims Still others might find that these crimes triggered within them feelings similar to the sense of victimization and attack felt by these families and thus empathize with the victims The reactions of members of the target community however will transcend both empathy and sympathy The cross burning and the swastika scrawling will not just call up similar feelings on the part of other blacks and Jews respectively Rather members of these target communities may experience reactions of actual threat and
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