This Week in Hate — August 11 — The Significance of Intersectionality in Hate Violence

Pre­pared for SAALT by Rad­ha Modi



There are now 141 doc­u­ment­ed hate inci­dents against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab since the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump (fig­ure 1). Of these 141 hate inci­dents, almost half (59 inci­dents) are ver­bal and writ­ten assaults, an addi­tion­al third (49 inci­dents) are phys­i­cal assaults, and about a quarter (33 inci­dents) are prop­er­ty dam­age (fig­ure 2). The total num­ber of ver­bal and writ­ten assaults post-elec­tion have already sur­passed the pre-elec­tion total. Prop­er­ty dam­age will soon sur­pass the pre-elec­tion total with the ongo­ing attacks on mosques. The total num­ber of phys­i­cal assaults is steadi­ly increas­ing.  About half of the phys­i­cal assaults are against Mus­lim and immi­grant women (fig­ure 2).

Women by far are the most com­mon tar­get of hate inci­dents. Thirty-three percent of the 141 doc­u­ment­ed hate inci­dents are against women who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab (fig­ure 3). Women wear­ing hijabs are, in par­tic­u­lar, vul­ner­a­ble to hate vio­lence. 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 instance, Noor Tagouri, a Mus­lim Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist, who wears a hijab, was told to “kill her­self” by a fel­low pas­sen­ger as she board­ed a domes­tic flight in the US[1]. This form of rou­tine dehu­man­iza­tion is not only root­ed in Islam­o­pho­bia but also misog­y­ny, xeno­pho­bia, and racism. While men seem less vul­ner­a­ble, they are also a com­mon tar­get post-elec­tion. Eighteen percent of hate inci­dents are against men who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab (fig­ure 3). For men, as well, inter­sec­tions of mul­ti­ple fac­tors con­tribute to how they are per­ceived and treat­ed by oth­ers. Recent­ly, Farid el-Bagh­da­di, a brown-skinned food truck ven­dor sell­ing Mid­dle East­ern sand­wich­es, was pelt­ed with eggs mul­ti­ple times in Queens, New York. One of the eggs had a note attached to it that read: “F**k Arabs and F**k Mus­lims”. The per­pe­tra­tors used Farid el-Baghdadi’s skin col­or, occu­pa­tion, and name to pro­file and tar­get him.

The third major tar­get of hate inci­dents is young peo­ple. Twenty-one percent of hate inci­dents involved stu­dents and youth. Inci­dents not only occur on the streets from strangers but also in schools where they are vul­ner­a­ble to bul­ly­ing. Anoth­er com­mon tar­get is mosques or Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions mak­ing up about a fifth of hate inci­dents. On aver­age, about 3 to 4 mosques or Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions are tar­get­ed month­ly with some mosques hav­ing mul­ti­ple attacks this year. Just this past week, Dar Al-Farooq Islam­ic Cen­ter in Bloom­ing­ton, Min­neso­ta was bombed by unknown assailants. This is the sec­ond time in the last 30 days that a Min­neso­ta mosque has been tar­get­ed. Despite the inces­sant vio­lence against Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has yet to release a state­ment denounc­ing the bomb­ing[2] and thus indi­rect­ly sanc­tion­ing the vio­lence against mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties.