This Week In Hate: October 25 — The Vulnerability of Youth as Hate Violence Continues to Increase

Pre­pared by Rad­ha Modi

This week’s report on hate vio­lence against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, South Asian, Arab, or Mid­dle East­ern high­lights two notable shifts in trends. For the first time, phys­i­cal assaults post-elec­tion have sur­passed pre-elec­tion num­bers. Addi­tion­al­ly, there has been an increase in hate inci­dents in the Mid­west region of the U.S., with per­cent­ages close to the West­ern and East­ern region­al per­cent­ages.

As we approach the close of the first year of Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­cy, the total num­ber of hate inci­dents have increased to 191 result­ing in a 46% increase from pre-elec­tion year to post-elec­tion year (see Fig­ure 1).

Of the 191 report­ed hate inci­dents, 65 inci­dents are phys­i­cal assaults, 77 inci­dents are ver­bal or writ­ten threats, and 50 inci­dents involve prop­er­ty dam­age (see Fig­ure 2). The most dra­mat­ic increase in hate inci­dents has involved ver­bal and writ­ten assaults over the past year. Recent­ly, a Delaware man, Ger­ard Med­vec, is fac­ing hate crime charges for spy­ing on and threat­en­ing his neigh­bors who he thought were Mus­lim. Post-elec­tion totals on phys­i­cal assaults have also sur­passed the totals from pre-elec­tion year. Phys­i­cal assaults include acts such as shov­ing, punch­ing, pulling, and spit­ting by the per­pe­tra­tors. On Octo­ber 7th, a 43-year old white man walked into a con­ve­nience store in Seat­tle, WA, and pep­per sprayed two men and one woman wear­ing hijab. This attack was pre­ced­ed by an anti-Mus­lim rant in the store. Final­ly, prop­er­ty dam­age often con­sist­ing of van­dal­ism com­pris­es the third cat­e­go­ry of hate inci­dents. Mosques are the most com­mon tar­get of hate inci­dents involv­ing prop­er­ty dam­age. For exam­ple, fig­ure 3 demon­strates that 21% of hate inci­dents involve dam­age or van­dal­ism of mosques and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty cen­ters. This past week, Dar Al Farooq Islam­ic Cen­ter in Min­neso­ta, which was bombed in August, was bro­ken into and bur­glar­ized.

The most com­mon vic­tims of hate inci­dents are often women. Twen­ty-nine per­cent of the 191 doc­u­ment­ed hate inci­dents are against women who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab (see Fig­ure 3). A major­i­ty of these hate inci­dents involve women wear­ing hijabs. Hate vio­lence towards women under­scores the role of inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty and the need for iden­ti­fy­ing these inter­sec­tions in doc­u­ment­ing hate.

The com­bi­na­tion of gen­der, reli­gious attire, skin col­or, accent, and oth­er fac­tors all play a part in how women are per­ceived and tar­get­ed in dai­ly life. For men, as well, inter­sec­tions of mul­ti­ple fac­tors con­tribute to how they are per­ceived and treat­ed by oth­ers. Twen­ty-two per­cent of hate inci­dents are against men who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab. Youth are also vul­ner­a­ble to hate inci­dents due to the inter­sec­tions of race, name, skin col­or, gen­der, and reli­gion with young age. Eigh­teen per­cent of hate inci­dents involved stu­dents and youth (Youth num­bers over­lap with per­cent­ages of hate inci­dents against women and men). Inci­dents not only occur on the streets from strangers but also in insti­tu­tion­al set­tings where oth­ers bul­ly and haze them.

A recent inci­dent stands out in high­light­ing the vio­lence that youth who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab face reg­u­lar­ly, and the men­tal health cri­sis that can result from that trau­ma. Raheel Sid­diqui, a young Mus­lim enlist­ed in the U.S. Marines, com­mit­ted sui­cide dur­ing train­ing this past March. Accord­ing to his par­ents, his drill instruc­tor inces­sant­ly hazed him for being Mus­lim. The instruc­tor report­ed­ly called him a ter­ror­ist and forced him to run laps until he col­lapsed. Supe­ri­ors denied Raheel Sid­diqui med­ical assis­tance and did not take seri­ous­ly his threats to com­mit sui­cide. With increas­ing hate vio­lence, com­mu­ni­ty groups will need to hold insti­tu­tion­al spaces such as schools, the mil­i­tary, and after­school pro­grams account­able in cre­at­ing safe space for all youth.

Last­ly, the rise in the num­ber of hate inci­dents is region­al­ly rel­e­vant (see Fig­ure 4). The West Coast and East Coast con­tin­ue to lead in hate inci­dents with slight­ly over half of inci­dents occur­ring in those regions of the U.S. Their lead, how­ev­er, has shrunk over the weeks as the occur­rence of hate inci­dents increased in the Mid­west. Cur­rent­ly, 25% of hate inci­dents have occurred in places such as Min­neso­ta, Wis­con­sin, Michi­gan, Ohio, Indi­ana, and Illi­nois. South­ern regions of the U.S. have the low­est num­ber of inci­dents mak­ing up 18% of the total.