Hate crimes targeting Asian and Black people in U.S. reaches highest mark in 12 years

hate crimes against Asians and Black people hit highest

Due to notable spikes in anti-Asian and anti-Black attacks, hate crimes in the U.S. hit a 12-year high in 2020, according to FBI data released on Monday.

Key findings: The agency recorded a total of 7,759 hate crimes in the past year. This is a 6.1% increase from 2019 and is the highest tally since 2008.

  • Hate crimes against Asian Americans soared from 158 in 2019 to 274 in 2020, marking a 70% increase, as per CNBC. This surge coincided with the outbreak of COVID-19, whose Chinese origin has triggered a wave of anti-Asian sentiment.
  • While Asian Americans saw the largest increase in hate crimes, the vast majority of the cases targeted African Americans. Attacks against the community jumped from 1,930 in 2019 to 2,755 in 2020, an increase of nearly 40%.
  • The FBI defines hate crimes as attacks motivated by bias toward “race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity.” After African Americans, the largest groups that suffered such crimes in the past year were whites (773), Jewish (676) and gay men (649).
  • Of the 7,426 hate crimes classified as crimes against people, 53.4% were for intimidation, 27.6% were for simple assault and 18.1% were for aggravated assault. Meanwhile, of the 2,913 hate crimes against property, a whopping 76.4% were acts of destruction, damage or vandalism.
  • The FBI compiled data from 15,136 law enforcement agencies for its 2020 report. However, the number of agencies participating in data collection has dropped for at least two consecutive years, according to The Washington Post.

The bigger picture: The tally, while comprehensive, is far from complete. In a statement, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said the numbers “do not account for the many hate crimes that go unreported.”

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  • Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that tracks anti-Asian incidents amid the COVID-19 pandemic, received 9,081 reports between March 19, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Some of these cases had taken place weeks or even months before the organization received them, because “they [incident reporters] just were either not aware of our reporting center or didn’t take the time to report,” co-founder Manjusha Kulkarni told AP News.
  • AAPI Data, which publishes demographic data and policy research on the AAPI community, estimated that up to 2 million Asian Americans have experienced a hate crime, discrimination or harassment since the pandemic started. “What is missing from reported incidents, therefore, are the majority of cases that comprise the mass beneath the tip of the iceberg that go unreported, unseen and unheard,” the publisher said in a blog post.
  • Lawmakers, organizations and community leaders have all made efforts to help stop Asian hate. Recently, more than 20 AAPI groups came together to express concerns about further hate with the arrival of a report on COVID-19’s origins from the U.S. intelligence community.

Featured Image via Becker1999 (CC BY 2.0)

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