The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or, property, motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
Hate crimes are crimes directly aimed at a person(s) for a specific difference they have from others. Over the last few years, the rate of hate crimes has been increasing. For example, in 2016, 6,121 hate crimes were committed compared to 7,175 committed in 2017, according to the FBI.
As hate crimes are categorized, there are also subcategories for each one. For crimes towards race/ethnicity, there are statistics for African Americans, White Americans, Asian Americans, etc. The same goes for religion, sexual orientation and other distinctions.
In most years, and in 2017, race/ethnicity hate crimes are the most common. Anti-black crimes are the most reported at 4,131 compared to 3,310 in 2015. Black people are the most marginalized group of people in the United States, as they account for 49 percent of race/ethnicity based crimes are committed against them.
The second most common hate crimes are based on religion. There was a 23 percent increase of religion-based hate crimes from 2016 to 2017. The two most discriminated religions are Jewish and Muslim faiths. This is believed to be due to the prevalence of non-Christianity in a mostly “Christian nation.”
The LGBTQ community is the next largest discriminated group, with a 7 percent increase from 2015 to 2017. There were 1,130 crimes against people based on their sexual orientation, 119 for transgender and gender non-conforming citizens in 2017.
When looking at these single-bias incidents, we are able to see which specific groups are targeted in the United States, ranging from African Americans to Transgender Americans as well. With hate crimes being committed more and more every year, their must be a change. There is an issue within America where certain groups are becoming more and more targeted for who they are or for what they believe.
This all comes with a wave of hateful rhetoric coming from those in positions of power, spreading their messages to the naïve and ignorant who are looking for blame.
In one of the strongest nations in the world, why must there be so much hate and division between one another? Why is it that these crimes are rising every single year? There must be a conversation about what is happening within the nation and change has to come. If not, there will only be more consequences in the future.