This Week in Hate: July 17

Pre­pared for SAALT by Rad­ha Modi

For the first time since the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, the total num­ber of hate inci­dents against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, South Asian, Arab, Mid­dle East­ern, and Asian has sur­passed the total from the pre­vi­ous year. Cur­rent­ly, 113 hate inci­dents have occurred since Novem­ber 8, 2016. At this rate, we sus­pect hate inci­dents for the first year of Trump pres­i­den­cy to be dou­ble that of the pre­vi­ous year.

Three major cat­e­gories of hate inci­dents are verbal/written threats, phys­i­cal assaults, and prop­er­ty dam­age. Ver­bal and writ­ten threats are by far the most com­mon cat­e­go­ry of hate inci­dents. These types of threats are typ­i­cal­ly ver­bal harass­ment of the vic­tim by strangers. Recent­ly, a mid­dle-aged white man, Fed­er­ick Sorell, fol­lowed a Black Mus­lim cou­ple for 20 blocks and bar­raged them with racist lan­guage such as: “Take off the fuck­ing bur­ka, this is Amer­i­ca; go back to your fuck­ing coun­try.” Addi­tion­al­ly, he threat­ened to run them over with his car and made a ges­ture of a pulling a trig­ger on a gun at them leav­ing the cou­ple ter­ri­fied.

Hate inci­dents such as these not only sig­nal a rise in Islam­o­pho­bia but also reveal the ways Islam­o­pho­bia inter­sects with anti-Black­ness and xeno­pho­bia. Sorell indi­cat­ed that he harassed the cou­ple because he was fear­ful for his life. This is a com­mon­ly used defense to jus­ti­fy vio­lence towards Black com­mu­ni­ties. Fur­ther, Sorell yells to the vic­tims to “go back to your coun­try,” an anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment that sup­ports white suprema­cist notions of Amer­i­ca as a white only coun­try.  As shown, on-the-ground harass­ment is often a com­bi­na­tion of var­i­ous forms of hate.  

The fight against hate crimes and racial pro­fil­ing will then involve col­lab­o­ra­tive com­mu­ni­ty work across com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. South Asians will need to show up on the front lines for issues fac­ing Black, Native, Mus­lim, Lat­inx, queer, and immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties as these issues are inter­sec­tions of mul­ti­ple sys­tems of oppres­sion.