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What is a hate or bias incident in Minnesota?

  • Hate or bias-motivated violence: an umbrella term for any act or expression directed against a person, group or their property that is motivated in whole or in part by a belief or perception regarding their real or perceived identities. Root causes include a rigid adherence to oppressive norms and ideologies that are propagated and reinforced by individuals, social systems and public institutions. Hate violence may be intended to threaten, coerce and/or punish all members (or perceived members) of a group. Three main components include:
    • The perpetrator’s perception of the victim’s identity and their bias or prejudice against that identity
    • The desire to target the victim based upon that perception
    • The belief, at least in part, that the act is socially acceptable or sanctioned
  • Hate crime: A criminal act that involves one (or more) of three specific crime groupings (assault, property damage and harassment/stalking), that is directed toward an individual or group that is (or perceived to be) a member of a protected class as defined by the Minnesota Human Rights Act and is motivated by a offender bias.
  • Bias incident: a bias incident is any expression whether spoken, written, symbolic or other form, which is motivated by some form of prejudice based on the victim’s real or perceived identity (i.e. sexual orientation, race, gender identity, ability, etc.)

Examples and types of hate/bias incidents

  • Examples include: vandalism, direct or physical attacks, pick-up crimes, verbal harassment, murder… to name a few!
  • Community messages include:
    • “We want you gone/we hate you”
    • “You don’t deserve to exist”
    • “You don’t deserve to feel safe”
    • “If you ask for help, we will use our power to further victimize you”
    • “You don’t deserve respect or equality"

Often, when a particular marginalized group is experiencing increased community visibility (especially when publicly highlighting oppressive or inequitable situations or events), that group will experience an increase in bias-related violent incidents. Unfortunately, with an increase in potentially divisive conversations that challenge existing social power dynamics, these attacks can occur with more brutality or a sense of social acceptance on the part of the perpetrators.

OutFront Minnesota’s Anti-Violence Program is dedicated to eliminating hate violence, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence/domestic violence within and against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer-identified (LGBTQ) communities across Minnesota. We complete this work through free and confidential counseling, advocacy, community organizing and education services. We use a community based advocacy approach to empower survivors and communities to feel safer and stronger.

More information on hate/bias incidents and crimes in Minnesota can be found here.


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