Hate crime. What it is exactly? Opinions vary but in essence it means that a given crime, such as assault, murder or defamation, will be treated more seriously if the perpetrator is judged to be motivated by certain politically disfavoured prejudices.
It means that if someone smashes a bottle in your face because you are black (or catholic or muslim or homosexual), rather than because they want to steal your wallet or because they caught you in flagrante delicto with their girlfriend, then that is more serious. The actual substance of the crime is not what makes it a ‘hate’ crime, just the motivation to commit it against a member of a designated group of people based on their race (which in reality means ‘certain races’), religions (meaning ‘certain religions’) or sexual orientations (meaning ‘homosexuals’), that then becomes a hate crime… crimes against philanderers, drunks, football supporters, loud mouths etc. are not hate crimes.
You may hate supporters of Celtic Football Club but if you bash one of them over the head with a two by four, that is not a ‘hate crime’, it is just assault and perhaps GBH. Unless of course the Celtic supporter in question happens to be a nominal Catholic but you are a nominal Protestant.
It is a criminal act which attracts extra sanction because of what the perpetrator was thinking at the time. In short, a ‘hate crime’ is a ‘thought crime’, albeit one usually only applied to thoughts held by certain politically disfavoured classifications of people.
Do you really trust something as corrupt and fallible as a political process to create laws not on demonstrable facts (who hit who with the two by four) but on what people think? Sure, motivation matters: for example being put in fear of your life can justify violence in self-defence, even (sometimes) in Britain. But to legislate that certain groups are more sacrosanct than others is collectivism at its most intellectually pernicious because it denies the individual basis of rights and assigns value on the basis of group membership. We all know where that can end up.
If you think laws should be based on crimes against individuals regardless of what race/religion or sexual orientation they have, then you might want to go over to the Hansard Society on-line consultation on Hate Crime in Northern Ireland and tell them that group rights are not a form of human rights, they are their antithesis.