Hate crimes rise to highest level in 12 years amid increasing attacks on Black and Asian people, FBI says

By David Nakamura, The Washington Post

Mary Altaffer/AP Protest signs are displayed during a preview of “Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism” at New York’s Museum of Chinese in America.

The number of hate crimes in the United States rose in 2020 to the highest level in 12 years, propelled by increasing assaults targeting Black and Asian people, the FBI reported Monday.

In all, the federal agency tallied 7,759 hate crimes last year, a tumultuous 12 months marked by a global pandemic, a divisive presidential election and upheaval in the economy. The total represented an increase of 6 percent from 2019 and the most since 2008, when 7,783 hate crimes were reported.

It is the sixth time in the past seven years that the number of attacks rose. The number of hate crimes reported has increased by nearly 42 percent since 2014, according to federal data.

Attacks targeting Black people rose from 1,930 to 2,755, and the number targeting Asian people jumped from 158 to 274, the data showed. Those figures come as civil rights groups have warned of increasing hostility toward minorities amid a rise in white nationalism and an increase in violent crime nationwide….

John Yang, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, said the FBI statistics were “woefully underreported.” He expressed guarded optimism that increased public attention on anti-Asian hate incidents, after several brazen attacks were captured on video, would help efforts to improve accounting of hate crimes.

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In May, Congress approved the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which requires the Justice Department to appoint an official to expedite investigations into hate crimes reported to federal authorities. The act also seeks to improve reporting among localities by bolstering online channels and offering resources in more languages to help immigrants.

“The fact that so many law enforcement agencies did not participate is inexcusable, and the fact that 64 jurisdictions with populations over 100,000 affirmatively reported zero hate crimes is simply not credible,” Jonathan Greenblatt, [CEO of the Anti-Defamation League] said in a statement. “Data drives policy and without having a complete picture of the problem, we cannot even begin to resolve the issues driving this surge in hate and violence.”

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(Curator’s Note: Hateful speech has multiplied in our Comments section in the last couple of years. We move hateful speech to its own exhibit: here.)

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