Rebecca Klapper, Newsweek, July 28, 2021
Hate crimes documented by police disproportionately list Black people as attackers, according to a new report by several civil rights groups for better protections under hate crime laws.
Released Wednesday, the report is a comprehensive national review of hate crime laws that shows where laws variate. It also cited widespread flaws in data collection and reporting. Though the majority of hate crimes in the U.S. are committed by white people, motivated by racial or ethnic bias, the crimes disproportionately reported Black Americans as the attackers.
“These repeated disparities … show that — despite the fact that people of color are far more likely to be the victims of hate violence — the instances of hate violence that are actually documented by police … are disproportionately those alleged to have been committed by Black people,” it read.
More than half a century since they were modernized, hate crime laws in the U.S. are inconsistent and provide incomplete methods for addressing bias-motivated violence, according to the report.
Due to the complexity of hate violence, certain statutes meant to protect racial minorities and marginalized groups are less effective, as a consequence of bias in the criminal justice system, the report says.
The report’s release comes after a more-than-yearlong focus on COVID-era hate violence directed at Asian Americans and Asian immigrants, and ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which saw an uptick in anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh attacks.
The FBI said the U.S. reached a 10-year high in reported hate crimes in 2019. Earlier this year, the SPLC said the number of active hate groups in the U.S. declined as far-right extremists migrated further to online networks that are harder to track.
As racist attacks on Asian Americans and Asian immigrants gained widespread attention in recent months, so did a false perception that Black Americans were the main culprits of such attacks.
“We don’t have a true and accurate understanding of what anti-Asian hate during the pandemic has looked like,” said Marita Etcubañez, senior director for strategic initiatives at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC in Washington D.C.
“But we do know that these commonly discussed perceptions that the perpetrators of anti-Asian hate are mainly Black or African American are not accurate,” she said.