FBI: Hate Crimes at ‘Highest Level in More Than a Decade’
With tensions steadily rising in America over the past few years, new FBI data released Monday shows that hate crime incidents increased 2.7 percent last year — “rising to their highest level in more than a decade,” reports Voice Of America (VOA) News.
UN officials blamed President Donald Trump for the rise in anti-Asian American sentiment, saying he is “seemingly legitimizing … the rising wave of racist and xenophobic attacks,” according to Business Insider.
VOX News contends that this has gone back as far as 2015, noting that the Guardian and ABC News have identified almost 60 people that have enacted violence in Trump’s name, citing him as their “inspiration.”
The last time the U.S. has seen documented numbers like this was in 2018 with 7,120 hate crimes reported.
The FBI mentions that these numbers may sound familiar, as hate crimes have been on a steady increase over the past few years, and VOA News and Business Insider report that hate crimes have surged nearly 21 percent during the first three years of Trump’s time in office, the FBI data shows.
“The latest rise in hate crime signals a new brutal landscape, where targeted attacks against rotating victim groups not only result in spikes, but increases are also being driven by a more widely dispersed rise in the most violent offenses,” said Brian Levin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.
The key findings of the FBI data show that most hate crimes reported in 2019 were motivated by race and ethnicity followed by religion.
According to data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, VOA News reports that homicides committed by white supremacists and other far-right extremists also rose for the third straight year in 2019.
“These racist killers dominated the overall category of ‘extremist motivated’ homicides with a total higher than that of all extremist killings combined for 2018,” the center said in a report.
One incident, described by researchers at the Stop AAPI Hate, a colation formed to combat racism during the pandemic, took place in Los Angeles California, where a Japanese American woman was walking with her two-year-old son when a white man rolled down his window and said, “Tell your kid when he grows up that China did this all.”
On the other side of the country, another reported incident took place at a grocery store outside Scranton, Pennsylvania, where a man yelled to an Asian American, “This pandemic wouldn’t have happened if you stayed in your country where you belong,” followed by a racial slur.
“Our data and evidence of the real-life stories confirm that Asian-Americans are facing increasing racist and xenophobic attacks, catalyzed by rhetoric from the president and other government leadership,” Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, and a leader of Stop AAPI Hate, said in a statement obtained by Business Insider.
To combat the rise in hate crimes, House Democrats passed a resolution in September calling on officials to publicly condemn anti-Asian racism and “refrain from using terms such as ‘Chinese virus” and ‘Kung Flu’.”
Members of the GOP resisted the pleas. Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio and a close Trump ally, dismissed the resolution as “just another opportunity to attack the president;” while Rep. Andy Biggs, of Arizona, deemed it “woke culture on steroids,” according to Business Insider.
This summary was prepared by TCR staff writer Andrea Cipriano.