Hate Crimes

MacKenzie Hurd

History repeating itself is a controversial part of everyday life, and what is repeating itself today is hate crimes. In the world today, hate crimes are on the rise. Most of these horrible actions have been race related and are leaving citizens speechless that even in today’s world people still think such horrible things. Hate crimes aren’t new to people, we have all learned in history class of some of the horrific actions that have occurred just because of race. We would think that when people learned about those events they would learn lessons from them and how they are bad, but sadly, that is not always the case.

It is very disappointing that still some people commit acts of violence because a person has a different level of melanin in their skin or practices a different religion. When there is an increase in hate crimes, there is usually an event that influences people to commit these acts. Reporters have stated that these last two years have had the most hate crime occurrences since 9/11. In a New York Times report, the number of hate crimes in 2015 was around 6,000, six percent more than the previous year, and 2016 had the most documented hate crimes since right after 9/11. Nationwide, hate crimes have been more of a factor for our law enforcement. Another statistic that proves that hate crimes are on the rise is from California State University; researchers there found that hate crimes against the Muslim community have increased 78% since the year 2016. The events have become intense: there have been threats of violence, violent acts, and vandalism to property to show hatred. Lots of these hate crimes have involved graffiti as a way of spreading their word. People spray paint cars, buildings, and even houses. The victims in these situations become scared for their lives and the safety of the people around them. History repeats itself in these recent hate crimes through the use of the Nazi symbol, the swastika. One would think that the horrible events associated with that symbol would be left in the past, but unfortunately, they have followed us up to the present and are being used to terrorize specific groups of people again. This horrific symbol has been plastered on walls with the saying “Make America White Again,” which connects directly to our recent presidential election. That saying connects to our president, Donald J Trump, through his campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again.” 

Donald Trump has been seen by some as contributing to the rise of hate crime occurrences. With his intense language use towards different races, he is seen as the fire that sparked the huge rise of hate crimes in America. For one, Trump set a ban on immigration travel of Muslims, which has been halted by the Supreme Court. That action could be seen by extremists as hatred towards the Muslim community. The amount of hate crimes has increased in the last two years but some event is usually the cause for the extremists to fully develop their ideas and cause terror to groups of people. Some think that Donald Trump being elected president is the event that influenced the rise of hatred in the nation, and I agree with that, but also the rise of terrorist related events happening has also had a part in the increase of hate crimes. Trump reacted to the documented 867 cases of harassment and intimidation of hate related actions occurring right after he was elected president by telling the world when at an interview to “stop it.” Some of the racial comments Trump said during his campaign has triggered some of the extremists in today’s society. Some comments Trump made were interpreted wrong or been taken way too seriously, like “When Mexico is sending their people, they’re not sending their best…..they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists”(CNN). The actions that are taken due to statements made by the president have been pushed to the limit. People doing some hate crimes have been documented using “Trump” in their work. For example, an Uber driver in New York City that was Muslim was verbally harassed by a person he picked up. The driver recorded the whole dispute on his phone and one of the things the man says that relates to Donald Trump is “Trump is president now. They’ll deport you soon, don’t worry you terrorist,” as told to CNN officials.  

Some of the hate crimes that have happened over the past year have been towards people of different sexual orientation, African American, Middle Eastern, and Jewish people. People of different sexual orientation have been getting letters threatening attacks and their property has been vandalized. These actions have put them on the edge and scared for their lives, just like many of other people(CNN). In the Jewish community, dozens of synagogues have gotten threatening letters stating a genocide needs to happen again, and that “the Nazis should’ve finished off your kind when they had the chance” (CNN). The things that were said to them were very disturbing and has everyone scared for what is actually going to happen. Another hate crime that happened was in Philadelphia. A group of people went around the area and spray painted Nazi sayings and symbols all over. The group sprayed painted “Sieg Heil 2016,” and “Trump” on buildings in very public areas. A hate crime that was recent and local was in Wellsville, NY, where someone spray painted a swastika onto a dugout with the saying “Make America White Again” next to it. This hate crime was very unusual for this area because nothing this extreme about race has occurred here.  Another example of people taking their thoughts to the extreme is a hate crime case that happened in Georgia. A couple got arrested for going into the local park near them and yelling racist remarks at a family of African Americans celebrating their son’s birthday. The car they were in had a confederate flag flying and they threatened some of the adults at the party. The couple each were sentenced to twenty years in prison(CNN).

Hate crimes are very disturbing and still occur today. The things that are said and done make me sick to my stomach. It’s wrong that someone would even think to single out a person because of their skin color or religion. Things that are taken to the extreme and used to make people frightened for their family’s safety are not right. We are supposed to be people of the future where we see no color and every religion is fine. People have the choice to do what they believe is right, but it is not right when the action causes fear or physical pain to others. Even with our new president’s ideas on immigration, all the hatred being pursued lately needs to decrease so we can have a less threatening nation for all people.  


Work Cited

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/10/us/post-election-hate-crimes-and-fears-trnd/index.html   By Holly Yan, Kristina Sgueglia and Kylie Walker, CNN

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/us/politics/hate-crimes-american-muslims-rise.html?_r=0  By ERIC LICHTBLAU