Jews, African Americans, and Arabs experience upturn in hate crimes and racial bias incidents.
For the fifth consecutive year, hate crimes rose by nine percent in the United States last year, even as overall crime slumped, according to a new report.
California State University at Santa Barbara’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism’s (CSHE) report, published on Tuesday, noted that the most targeted groups included African Americans, Jews, and members of the LGBTQ community.
The CSHE’s findings draw on a slew of violent attacks, some of them deadly.
Surveying 30 cities across the US, the report also found that homicides carried out by white supremacists increased, reaching 17, although the overall number of extremist killings decreased.
The report found that 70 percent of police departments surveyed reported an increase in hate crimes, and that partial data from 2019 suggests the rise in hate crimes is ongoing.
Transgender individuals were targeted at least 26 times, the report added.
Last November, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released its annual hate crimes tally for 2017, noting a 17 percent increase when compared to 2016.
Of the more than 7,000 recorded incidents, the FBI noted that more than 4,000 targeted people, while upwards of 3,000 included instances of vandalism, arson and robbery.
The FBI tally included a near doubling of bias incidents targeting Arab Americans, a sharp spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes, and a 15.8 percent rise in incidents involving attacks on individuals owing to their sexual orientation.
As the US heads into the 2020 presidential election campaign season, critics have pointed the finger at US President Donald Trump’s administration for stoking racism and political strife.
At time of publication, the White House had not replied to TRT World’s request for a comment.
On Thursday, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at CNN’s Don Lemon for insinuating that the president was racist during a debate between Democratic presidential contenders.
“CNN’s Don Lemon, the dumbest man on television, insinuated last night while asking a debate ‘question’ that I was a racist, when in fact I am “the least racist person in the world,’” Trump wrote.
During the 2016 election and since Trump came to office in January 2017, the far-right has surged around the US, a phenomenon that has seen an uptick in both hate crimes and political violence at demonstrations.
Trump has vowed to crack down on immigration, has slashed the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the US, and has promised to build a wall on the country’s southern border with Mexico.
Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today, does not expect that findings like these will hurt Trump’s popularity among his Republican Party.
“Some branches of the Republican Party might not support his militant nationalist politics, but they certainly want to bet on a winning horse,” he told TRT World.
Tuesday’s CSHE report also predicted that the trend will continue, speculating that “the risk of extremist violence by [the far right] will likely continue into this current nascent political season”.
The report comes on the heels of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual survey of anti-Semitic crimes.
“White supremacists stepped up their activities, and the number of incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism remained at near-historic levels,” the ADL audit found.
Although the ADL found a slight decrease in anti-Semitic incidents last year, the number of physical assaults saw a “dramatic increase”, including the country’s worst anti-Semitic massacre to date.
That incident occurred in October 2018, as Americans geared up for midterm elections, when Robert Bowers allegedly stormed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and opened fire, killing 11 worshippers.
The spate of reports on US hate crimes comes at a time when several US lawmakers, including Trump and Republican Senator Ted Cruz, have promoted labeling Antifa—or anti-fascists—a terror group.
The CSHE report, however, found that although Antifa had been involved in a handful of violent incidents, the group had never carried out homicides, unlike the far-right, white supremacists and white nationalists.