June 14, 2005
Written by C.N.
The Christian Science Monitor has an article which chronicles recent signs that hate crimes are on the rise in the U.S. The article postulates that some of the rise may be due to anti-immigrant sentiment in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the Iraqi War, some is a backlash against gay marriage, while others are influenced by increasing religious fundamentalism. As some observers note,
Such trends can be difficult to gauge. States and localities use different definitions and reporting requirements. As the subject grows in public consciousness, incidents that may have gone unreported in the past now become known, giving the sense of an increasing problem. But, says Chip Berlet, an analyst at Political Research Associates in Somerville, Mass., who specializes in hate groups and far-right activity, “I have seen what appears to be an increase in anger toward gay people and immigrants, as well as anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” . . .
The underlying conflict over such “values” issues in politics and society has sharpened the tone of public discourse, with opponents characterized as “evil” or “immoral” on talk radio or the Internet. What’s missing today, says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, “is the idea of democracy as compromise, as opposed to all-out victory at any cost.” The result, he says, is a divided country and a lack of goodwill exemplified by personal attacks in politics and the media. In turn, that can lead to individual threats and assaults.
I think there is something to the argument that American society is becoming increasingly polarized between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, blue states and red states, Christians vs. non-Christians, and perhaps many other axes of differences. A more difficult question to answer is, how will this affect Asian Americans?
Since many Asian Americans are immigrants and are non-White, it would seem that many of us would be targets for these kinds of hate crimes. Further, if we as a community continue to achieve socioeconomic success, we may feel more resentment from Latinos and Blacks. Conceiveably, we may even begin to encroach upon White-controlled institutions and be seen as a threat to their power.
In other words, unless we unite as a community and form alliances with other groups of color, we may end up being left high and dry, disparaged and despised by both Whites and other groups of color.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Hate Crimes on the Rise?" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/06/hate-crimes-on-the-rise/> ().
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