November 17, 2020: Yesterday, the FBI released its 2019 Hate Crime Statistics Report, showing the deadliest year on record and the highest number of hate crime murders since 1991. A total of 7,314 hate crime incidents were reported by law enforcement agencies. The FBI data illustrates a slight decrease from last year’s report, and yet we know that communities of color, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities continue to be targets of hate violence by white supremacist individuals and institutions.
Major findings of the report:
- The FBI report cites the Sikh community saw a slight decrease in the number of reported anti-Sikh incidents in 2019, after a record 200 percent increase in 2018. And while crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment decreased, with 176 reported, overall hate crime incidents targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslims has been up since 2015. As of November 1, 2020, SAALT and our partners have tracked 348 incidents of xenophobic or Islamophobic rhetoric, and 733 incidents of hate violence targeting Muslims and Asian Americans, and those perceived as Muslim or Asian American, since November 2015.
- Racially motivated hate crime incidents made up the majority of hate crimes reported in 2019, with nearly half of the incidents motivated by anti-Black racism. The number of anti-Black hate crimes was the highest it’s been since 2011.
- There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019. 22 of those were the racially motivated murders in the single El Paso shooting last August. There was a nine percent increase in reported hate crime incidents against Latinos, and yet the deadly El Paso shooting was categorized under “anti-other race/ethnicity/ancestry” despite well documented anti-Mexican sentiment. As reported in SAALT’s COVID report, the “other” categorization often obscures the true impact on communities.
- Of the known offenders, over 50% identified as white.
The numbers depict a far from accurate picture of the real prevalence of hate violence incidents in the U.S. The federal government has yet to mandate hate crime reporting at the state and local levels. During an extraordinary year of uprisings and state violence against Black and brown communities, it is imperative for Congress to pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, (H.R. 3545; S. 2043), which helps close vast gaps in hate crime statistics and improve data collection on hate crimes by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The bill also includes a restorative justice component which provides an “alternative sentencing” provision that would allow specific defendants supervised release to undertake educational classes or community service directly related to the harmed community.
Hate violence targeting South Asian, Arabs, and Muslims is fueled by state sanctioned white supremacy. Policies and practices like the Muslim Ban, family separation, and ongoing police violence endanger our communities because they embolden white supremacists. From the constant vandalizing of mosques, harrassment of Muslim women, to the targeting of South Asians in their own neighborhoods, we have seen the very real and constant impact of this violence. SAAT is committed to advocating for policy and community based solutions that address hate violence from its root cause — by fighting all the manifestations of state sanctioned hate.