Hate crimes have been a problem since the United States of America was founded. America was founded on discrimination of other ethnicities, religions, and other factors that identified individuals as minorities.
However, as we move into the present we sometimes forget about these negative crimes or turn a blind eye to it. Even though the 1992 Los Angeles riots for Rodney King and the 2020 George Floyd riots were 28 years apart, they still hold the same emotional weight behind them. Many of us even lived during both of these events and even some of the older generation remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march at Washington on August 28, 1963. These are events that we must always remember and hold in our hearts to learn from and grow to be able to address the current hate crimes that are still happening today and will happen in the future.
These crimes happen daily, however with the advancement of technology and social media it has become a lot easier to record. We can receive multiple perspectives now with anyone able to become a reporter with the click of a button on their phone and it has become harder for individuals to deny their crimes with evidence from multiple sources. With the advancement of technology too, we can let our opinions and voices be heard. Even something as simple as individuals posting hashtags on social media, for example, #stopasianhate, #blackouttuesday, and #blacklivesmatter are just a few to name. While we do not have to participate in peaceful protests and marches, we as individuals can spread our influence through our phones and still make a difference by addressing the problem.
The number of hate crimes has increased overall from previous years. From data on hate crime events gathered by Bias Motivation, the overall racial bias events increased by 67.3 percent from 2019 to 2020. Anti-black or African American bias rose by 87.7 percent, Anti-Hispanic or Latino events rose by 38.2 percent, and Anti-Asian events rose by 48 percent. While this is the physical number reported, there are still numerous unreported numbers that may even exceed these and this is where it becomes our responsibility to report and speak up. The crimes in previous years were compiled from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.
In California, the amount of hate crime incidents reported was 1054 crimes against persons and 483 crimes against property. Out of all the motives behind these crimes, race/ethnicity had the highest at 882 crimes being committed because of this. This number drastically increased between 2018 being at 596 crimes committed because of race/ethnicity and the number continues to grow as we move throughout 2022. Hate crimes are not only limited to other citizens committing them but also can be from our justice system from corrupt individuals or organizations. In recent incidents like George Floyd, the officers who committed these crimes were able to be convicted because of the unity of the people speaking and protesting along with all the evidence they were able to take from numerous sources.
Some cases reported from the Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs press releases stated that these reports. Most of these crimes consisted of individuals who were confronted because of their race, color, national origin, and religion. An example of this was that a California man attempted to cause injury to another person with a dangerous weapon because of that individual’s perceived race or color on April 9, 2021. Another example a few weeks later in the Los Angeles area is that other men have been found guilty of attacking a Turkish family-owned restaurant and threatening to kill them and stating that they were planning to go “hunting for Turks”. This was reported on April 27, 2021, and they were convinced and now face the maximum penalty for hate crime charges and conspiracy. Hate crimes are not just isolated to one particular minority, however, they are any type of minority group suffering inequality whether it be through race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and others.
While these are all numbers and events being stated to show an increase in the number of hate crimes committed in California alone, we must remember that this is something engraved into our nation’s history and even after hundreds of years still exist. While it may be reasonable to have every single person coexist without any hate towards one another, we can address and bring these issues to light which in return may lower these numbers. With the efforts of everybody, together we can stop the spread of this hate.