Tag Archives: hate crimes

Amid the Blaring Headlines, Routine Reports of Hate-Fueled Violence

by Joe Sexton ProPublica, July 25, 2017, 3 p.m.

In just the ten days following the 2016 election, there were 867 hate incidents reported in the US. Graphic: SPLC

Last Wednesday, July 19, was something of a busy news day. There was word North Korea was making preparations for yet another provocative missile test. The Supreme Court, in its latest ruling in the controversial travel ban case, said that people from the six largely Muslim countries covered by the immigration enforcement action could enter the U.S. if they had a grandparent here, refusing to overturn a ruling that grandparents qualified as “bona fide relatives.” And then, late in the day, President Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to The New York Times, one that, among other things, laid into Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The day also produced its share of what, sadly, has come to qualify as routine news: A Muslim organization in Sacramento, California, received a package in the mail that included a Koran in a tub of lard; police in Boise, Idaho, identified a teenage boy as the person likely responsible for scratching racist words on a car; in Lansing, Michigan, police launched a search for a suspect in the case of an assault against a Hispanic man. The victim had been found with a note indicating his attacker had been motivated by racial animus. Continue reading

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‘Off the Charts’ Violence Against Muslims Ravaging US Communities

New data confirms anecdotes of rising Islamophobic violence reflect nationwide trend

Written by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-18-15.
A view of damage at the burned Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley on December 12, 2015, in Coachella, California. Image vis Facebook.

A view of damage at the burned Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley on December 12, 2015, in Coachella, California. Image vis Facebook.

From an attack on a hijab-wearing sixth grader in the Bronx to the arson of a mosque near Palm Springs, reports of hate crimes targeting Muslims are more than troubling anecdotes, but rather, reflect a measurable nationwide rise in Islamophobic violence, according to two separate studies released this week.

Researchers with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University (CSU) found that anti-Muslim hate crimes have tripled in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

According to The New York Times, which obtained the study ahead of its public release, there has been an average of 12.6 “suspected hate crimes” against U.S. Muslims per month for the past several years. But since the Paris attacks in mid-November, that monthly number has climbed to 38 attacks that are “anti-Islamic in nature.”

Such crimes include arson and vandalism of mosques, shootings, and death threats.

“The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger,” CSU researcher Brian Levin told Timesreporter Eric Lichtblau.

While the researchers said the attacks have not quite reached the levels seen in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, they identified similarities in the climate, including attacks on Sikh people falsely believed to be Muslim.

The university’s data corroborates a report released this week by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which noted a severe rise in attacks on mosques, including vandalism, destruction, and intimidation.

In fact, CAIR said the 29 documented attacks on Mosques in 2015 is the highest annual number the advocacy organization has recorded since it began keeping track in 2009. The group noted that “November 2015 was the most significant spike, with a total of 17 mosque incidents, with all but 2 of those incidents occurring in the wake of the November 13 Paris terror attacks.”

These attacks are not happening in a vacuum.

“We are seeing an unbelievably toxic, anti-Muslim environment in our society that is being encouraged and exploited by public figures like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, and others,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for CAIR, told Common Dreams. “This is leading to fresh incidents of hate crimes nationwide.”

Hooper described the violence as “off the charts,” adding: “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it.”

Fresh incidents this week underscore the trends highlighted in both reports.

All schools in Augusta County, Virginia were closed on Friday after a world geography class taught a lesson on Arabic calligraphy—which then prompted a racist and Islamophobic backlash.

And in Grand Rapids, Michigan this week, a Sikh store clerk was reportedly called a “terrorist” and then shot in the face by an individual demanding money from the register.

Over the past month, people across the United States have staged rallies, vigils, and speak-outs against rising Islamophobic violence, including a mobilization in New York earlier this month under the banner of “Human Rights Trump Oppression.” Large numbers are expected to gather at a demonstration on Friday in San Francisco, organized by the Arab Organizing and Resource Center, calling for the “upholding of the dignity of communities.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Racism is not a mental illness

Racism isn’t all in individual heads; it doesn’t just reveal itself in interpersonal relations. History, politics, and economics matter.

By Jeremy Adam Smith. Published June 26. 2015 at openDemocracy.

Little Rock, 1959. Rally at state capitol, protesting the integration of Central High School. Photo by John T. Bledsoe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Little Rock, 1959. Rally at state capitol, protesting the integration of Central High School. Photo by John T. Bledsoe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last week a young white man named Dylann Roof killed nine black people at prayer in South Carolina. Some have called it racism. Others say it was a crazy, isolated act. “He was one of these whacked out kids,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “I don’t think it’s anything broader than that.”

Does Graham have a point? After the news of Charleston broke, many of my Facebook friends referred to racism itself as a “sickness” or “disease,” and some described Roof as “insane.” A great deal of research suggests that racial discrimination can harm the physical and mental health of its targets, mainly due to the increased stress racism can cause.

But are mentally ill people more likely to embrace and express racial prejudice? Could racism itself be a mental illness?

Probably not, says the research. Even proponents of this view, like psychiatrist Carl C. Bell, argue that mental illness is associated only with certain forms of prejudice, as when people with paranoid disorders “project unacceptable feelings and ideas onto other people and groups.” Prejudice becomes pathological only when it interferes with functioning in daily life, which is part of the definition of mental illness provided by the DSM (the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists). Continue reading

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