Prepared by Radha Modi
September 11, 2017 marked the 16 year anniversary of 9/11, and hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Asian continues to rise. While the campaign and election of Donald Trump is heralded as the impetus for the growing hate speech and violence nationally, Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, and anti-immigrant sentiment had become normalized and institutionalized in the U.S. over the last sixteen years: from profiling by TSA to police brutality to excessive delays in processing of immigration applications. Trump as well as others would not have been able to advocate and sanction white supremacy so deftly had it not been for the continued embedding of these principles in the foundations of U.S. governance.
The latest numbers in hate show that in the ten months since the election, a total of 168 incidents of hate have occurred against those who identify or are perceived to be Muslim or immigrant. Figure 1 illustrates that the percent increase is up by 29% as compared to the year prior to the election which had a total of 130 incidents.
There is a persistent increase in all categories of hate violence as shown in Figure 2. Verbal and written hate speech – at 68 unique incidents and property damage at 40 unique incidents – have surpassed the totals from the prior year. Acts of physical violence, now at 60 incidents, will soon exceed the total of 64 from last year. Recent examples of these hateful acts occurred over the previous week. On September 4th in Ohio, a truck driver fired a gun thirteen times at a Muslim woman in her car. She was struck four times and is currently recovering at a local hospital in Columbus, Ohio. CAIR is urging police to investigate this crime as a hate crime. Then on September 6, a Sikh Temple in Hollywood, CA was vandalized with hate speech. The words, “Nuke all Sikhs,” was scrawled on the walls of the temple. Further, a Filipino-Turkish man was beaten by a white supremacist in a parking lot in Fullerton, CA on September 7th.
Figure 3 demonstrates that the rise in the number of hate incidents are regionally relevant. The West Coast continues to lead in hate incidents with a third of incidents occurring in that region of the U.S. The hate violence occurring in the Eastern and Midwestern regions make up about half of all incidents. Southern regions of the U.S. have the lowest number of incidents making up 16% of the total. The higher proportion of documented hate crimes in certain regions is due to a variety of issues: 1) a higher proportion of the population that is of color and immigrant, 2) an ease and access to reporting structures, 3) the visibility of the crime, and 4) the visibility of the victim.