Today: Jun 19, 2024

Expert sheds light on reasons behind hate crimes

Olivia Richman, General Assssignment Reporter:
He’s been on “20/20,” “Dateline NBC,” “Oprah” and now he’s been to Southern. He’s Jack Levin, an authority on serial killers and hate crimes, and he was the guest lecturer at Alpha Kappa Delta and the Sociology Club’s annual initiation ceremony. The title of the program was called “Why Haters Hate,” and focused on hate crimes in the post-9/11 world.
“For more than 25 years,” said Levin on his website, “I have specialized in the study of violence and hate, especially of the most irrational and despicable kinds. During this period, I have had many opportunities to examine the methods and mentality of brutal killers and other violent criminals-serial killers and rapists, mass murders, and vicious hatemongers.”
Levin, the author of 14 books on this subject, began his lecture by stating what he figured was the obvious: He looked exactly like Albert Einstein. He clicked through the slides of different famous people he’s been told he resembles, from Einstein, Super Mario, Captain Kangaroo, Captain Crunch, Gepetto and Mr. Monopoly. Then it was time to get serious.
Levin said that people are born in the world with a preference for “in-group members,” whether it be race, gender, religion or class. Strangers are often seen as the enemy because they are so easily “dehumanized.” Levin stated that it’s possible for people to overcome this in-born predisposition. An example is non-Jews hiding Jewish citizens in their houses during the time of the Holocaust.
Levin, during his speech, said that there were two different types of hate, from cultural to pathological.
“Cultural hate is very easy to pick up,” he said.
Pathological hate, on the other hand, is a lot more serious. People who pathologically hate, according to Levin, are delusional, paranoid and self-destructive.
Levin said there are four types of hate crimes: thrill, defense, retaliatory and mission.
A thrill hate crime is done for bragging rights, usually by bored teenagers at the “expense of victims.” One example was Jennifer Daughtry, a mentally disabled young woman who was tortured for four days and finally killed by a group of teenagers.
The second kind of hate crime is defense against a minority; an example is 9/11. The result of 9/11 was a new target of hate: Muslims. According to Levin, Anti-Muslim hate crimes went up 1,600 percent since 9/11, and some people who are killed as a result are not even Muslim.
Retaliatory is the third type of hate crime, said Levin.
“I hate these type of crimes,” he said. “People that have been oppressed just go after a random victim who often were not involved in the act of oppression.”
An example was John Oldgren, 16. Oldgren had been picked on, according to Levin, because of his autism. Instead of getting help or getting back at his attackers, Oldgren took out his anger on a random 15-year-old boy in the bathroom, stabbing him to death.
The fourth type of hate crime, mission, is when it’s practically a career of the person committing the hate crimes.
“They are attempting to rid the world of ‘evil,’” said Levin.
Kenty-Drane said she took a lot from the lecture, but mostly relearned what a great lecturer Levin was.
“He’s really entertaining,” she said. “Not only was he entertaining, but he really reminded me of the fact that forms of hate crime stem from fear of a new world.”
At the end of the lecture, Levin wrapped up by stating: “Don’t be a couch potato. Feel a sense of social responsibility.”
“I definitely learned a lot from (Levin),” said Jessica Santora, a sophomore who attended the lecture. “I feel he brought to light a lot of facts I never knew about such a serious topic. I was so disgusted by some peoples’ behavior and violence towards others, but at least now I understand why haters hate.”
After his lecture, it was time to initiate the new 2011 AKD members. The new initiates were Jennifer Demaurez, Rebecca O’Neill, Katie Finnegan, Stephano Stravorsavdis, Joy Flynn, Janeth-Andrea Veloza and Jessica Whitmore.
So far the members of the AKD have done “volunteer work,” according to faculty advisor Jessica Kenty-Drane.
“The idea is to bring sociology into the larger community. We want to share sociology ideas to sociology majors and with the community as a whole.”
And most importantly?
“I agree that (Levin) looks like Einstein,” she said with a laugh. “I do.”

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