RACISM + POLITICS
Anti-Black Hate Crimes Are On The Rise. Why Can't We Move Past Awareness?
Knowing about the problem should be the first step, not the last.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, "48.5 percent were victims of crimes motivated by offenders' anti-Black or African American bias." To put those digits into perspective, 4.4 percent were due to anti-Asian hate, and 3.5 percent were due to that individual's mixed race — the majority of hate crimes committed in the United States are because of anti-Black racism. Yet, last year, our Congress passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill, which offered protection for Asian Americans, but not Black people. The bill could have addressed both marginalized groups, but it didn't. And in leaving out Black people, the bill passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support.
But, if the legislators passed the bill because of the increase in hate crime, then why have only hate crimes committed against Asian Americans been addressed? While some people scoff at the idea that America is structurally racist, the Stop Asian Hate Bill's passing without those same legislators seriously considering a Stop Anti Black Racism Bill shows the racial reckoning may have only reached shallow depths. Our country is still not willing to tackle anti-Black racism in a way that moves past words and turns to action.
On the Department of Justice's website, a special side-page raises awareness about "addressing hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders." But given the fact that the United States greenlit slavery, Jim Crow, and other discriminatory policies against Black people, isn't it only fair that Black Americans receive the same type of care and protection from the federal government?
This disparity reminds me of a conversation I had a few months back with other activists. One Black man said, “America has not paid reparations to Black people but did so for Japanese people because our nation is conscious of how she looks on the world stage.” His theory of the case was that Japanese people have a unified government outside of America, independent of Western countries rooted in colonialism. Thus, the Japanese people represented a force that could effectively shun…