2023: The year of the hate crimes


Photo used with permission from Google Commons

Protesters attended a “#StopAsianHate Community Rally” in downtown San Jose on Mar. 21, 2021.

According to the recent hate crime report released by the FBI, there is a clear indication that incidents of hate crime have become pervasive in American society. Between 2020 and 2021, there has been a 12% increase in the prevalence of hate crimes. As of 2023, the situation appears to have escalated, with daily press releases reporting new cases of hate crimes across the nation.

Reporting incidents of hate crime is widely acknowledged as challenging, but criminologists concur that the FBI’s incomplete record of such crimes implies an upward trend in recent years. The 2022 Stop Asian Hate movement report highlights that transgender Americans are over four times more likely than cisgender individuals to be victims of violent crime, and the recent increase in drag shows has resulted in protests and violent attacks. Additionally, the Anti-Defamation League reports a 36% increase in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. in 2022. The compilation of hate crime data published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism further reveals a significant surge in anti-Asian hate crime, with a 339% increase in the past year compared to the previous year.

​​The 10,840 bias incidents reported in 2021 represent a 31 percent increase from 8,263 crimes in 2020 and a third consecutive annual increase. Nearly 65 percent of them were motivated by bias over race or ethnicity, nearly 16 percent were a result of sexual-orientation bias, and more than 14 percent of them resulted from religious bias.

It is evident that national hate crimes are on the rise; however, who is at fault for the recent rise? There is not one answer to this question, but idolizing public figures who execute hate only amplifies this issue.

Leaders in the United States have made it OK to discriminate against certain groups of people. Kanye West recently mainstreamed antisemitism by posting anti-Jew posts on social media. His influence and following has now learned that if their idol, Kanye West, can say these antisemitic remarks, why can’t they?

Moreover, it isn’t just singers and influencers feeding into the crisis, but now elected officials are equally as bad. Beginning with former President Donal Trump becoming elected in 2016, Americans have watched him countless times make racist remarks in his speeches, only teaching Americans it’s OK to say that. Furthermore, Florida governor Ron DeSantis amplified the anti-gay agenda by signing the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”

These influential forces are now powering those who have said discriminatory language in quiet the freedom to say it out loud.

Now we turn the question back to society. Has American society been the cause of these hate crimes by powering and idolizing these harmful public figures? The only way is to dethrone these dominant figures and promote positivity and love.

Hate crimes are far less socially acceptable now than they were in the 20th century. But it also seems much more acceptable today than it was prior to 2015 — and perhaps more lethal than it ever has been in this country.