Actually We Don't Know If Trump's Win Could Lead To More Hate Crimes, Folks

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Nov 15, 2016 2:00 PM
Actually We Don't Know If Trump's Win Could Lead To More Hate Crimes, Folks

Media outlets, and social media especially, are awash with headlines and stories of hate crimes rising since President-elect Donald J. Trump won the election. Here’s the thing. We actually have no clue if there’s been a legitimate spike in hate crimes, and some of the stories are suspect. At the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, a Muslim student claimed she was robbed and beaten by two white men wearing Donald Trump hats. The problem: she lied and will be charged with filing a false police report. Also, there was a 67 percent spike in hate crimes against Muslims…in 2015. And it’s based on data compared between 2014 and 2015. Yet, if you read The New York Times, you’d think that Donald Trump’s presidency is a harbinger for more hate crimes:

The F.B.I. reported Monday that attacks against American Muslims rose last year, driving an increase of about 7 percent in hate crimes against all victims.

The data, the most comprehensive look at threat crimes nationwide, expanded on previous findings by researchers and outside monitors, who have noted an alarming rise in some types of hate crimes tied to the intense vitriol of the presidential campaign and the aftermath of terror attacks at home and abroad since 2015.

A wave of racially charged assaults, graffiti attacks and other episodes has swept the country since Election Day, prompting Mr. Trump to call for a halt to it during a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on Sunday night.

In its report Monday, the F.B.I. cataloged a total of 5,818 hate crimes in 2015 — a rise of nearly 340 over the year before — including assaults, bombings, threats and property destruction against minorities, women, gays and others.

Attacks against Muslim Americans saw the biggest surge: 257 reports of assaults, attacks on mosques and other types hate crimes against Muslims last year, a jump of about 67 percent over the year before. It was the highest total since 2001, when the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks saw more than 480 attacks.

This crime update was placed in a Times articles titled, “As Transition Pace Picks Up, Trump Nears Cabinet Nominations.” I’m not saying this isn’t a problem. Hate crimes and crimes against minorities are terrible, they should be stopped, and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. But to somehow link Trump’s win to spike in hate crimes is not true. There were also other factors that could’ve driven these terrible people to commit these acts. We’ve had a heated debate over Syrian refugees, the rise of ISIS, terrorist attacks sweeping Europe, specifically France, and a Muslim committed the worst mass shooting by a single individual in our history…at a gay nightclub in Orlando. I think the linkage, the heavy insinuation, or the reference that Trump is a catalyst for hate crimes in the country is horrific overreach. The president-elect said during his 60 Minutes on Sunday interview that he was saddened by the alleged attacks on minorities by his supporters, telling them to “stop it.” He looked right into the cameras and said it as well (via NBC News):

In an extensive interview broadcast on CBS' "60 Minutes," Trump said that such behavior represented only "a very small amount" of his support but that any was unacceptable.

"Don't do it," the president-elect said. "That's terrible, because I'm going to bring this country together."

To reinforce the point, Trump looked directly at the camera and demanded: "Stop it."

Oh, and CBS sat on that clip of Trump telling his supporters to stop their alleged attacks for two days. Yes, hate crimes occur in the United States. It’s terrible, but to say that Trump is the reason, or could be the green light for more such attacks, is a shoddy accusation that should be taken with a grain of salt.