Hate Crimes Are At Their Highest in Over a Decade

Eventually Donald Trump will go.

Even though he is refusing to concede, he has no standing come January 20.

The people have spoken whether he likes it or not.

Should he refuse to leave the White House, he will be considered a trespasser, and fair game for the United States Secret Service.

But some things don’t go away so easily after an election.

One harsh reality we must contend with after Donald Trump leaves 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue–one way or another–is the cultural wound he has enflamed.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Trump supporters committed hundreds of hate crimes in the weeks following his 2016 victory.

In the ensuing four years, Trump demanded four female House members of color to “go back” to the “crime infested places” from which they came.

He called South American countries “shitholes.”

He accused three to five million “illegals” of voter fraud.

He floated ending birthright citizenship via executive order.

He praised pro-Confederate protesters in Charlottesville, Va. as well as those intending to force governors to lift orders designed to stop the coronavirus spread while calling BLM protesters “thugs.”

He calls COVID-19 (which he has contracted) a “Chinese virus.”

He still believes he’s building a wall to prevent Mexican and South American immigrant entry.

Trump and surrogates have regularly been exposed for their more obvious dog whistles.

In September, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was ordered to identify and cut funding for “critical race theory,” or federal worker diversity trainings intended to expose and prevent bigotry and systemic bias within government institutions and agencies.

That some month Trump delivered a speech at the National Archives at which he announced the formation of the “1776 Commission” intended to discredit The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” dedicated to chronicling the country’s history beginning the year Europeans shipped the first enslaved Africans to American shores.

And who can forget his instructing the white supremacist group “The Proud Boys” to “stand back and stand by” when pressed to denounce the hate groups who support him during a debate with then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden?

This is by no means a complete list.

Last month, acting Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf released his department’s annual assessment of violent threats to the nation, stating:

“[I am] particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years. [They] seek to force ideological change in the United States through violence, death, and destruction.”

Donald Trump’s own hand-picked DHS acting secretary is admitting what FBI director Christopher Wray confirmed to Congress in February:

“Racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists [have become the] primary source of ideologically motivated lethal incidents [in the US].”

The Associate Press reported Monday, according to an FBI report, American hate crimes climbed last year to the highest in more than a decade–7,314.

The year before that number was 7,120.

Federal officials also recorded the highest number of hate-motivated murders since the FBI started compiling data thirty years ago.

Religious-based hate crimes are up seven percent–953 targeting Jews and Jewish institutions last year, an increase from 835 in 2018.

Anti-Hispanic hate crimes were up to 527 in 2019.

They were 485 in 2018.

20 more hate crimes against LGBTQ men were reported.

These numbers could be higher since 2,172 out of approximately 15,000 participating law enforcement agencies reported their hate crime data to the FBI, motivating advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League to demand Congress and law enforcement to improve collection of hate crime statistics.

Jonathan Greenblatt, Anti-Defamation League’s president, warned:

“The total severity of the impact and damage caused by hate crimes cannot be fully measured without complete participation in the FBI’s data collection process.”

Perhaps many police departments are reluctant to report since white supremacists have been infiltrating law enforcement for years.

Excising Donald Trump from our body politic might not be easy, but he will be an ex-president in two months.

Excising the malignant cancer he has fed will be harder.

As The Guardian recently reported, Joe Biden’s election cannot heal a divided nation by itself.

Image credit: https://lehighvalleyramblings.blogspot.com

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.