The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report was released on November 14, and the numbers show a dramatic spike in crimes against Latinos.
The number was up 11% since last year to 66.6 percent of victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes in 2010. In California, they went up 50%.
These figures for those targeted because of anti-Latino bias are the highest percentage in almost a decade.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said of a previous spike in 2007:
There’s no doubt that the tone of the raging national debate over immigration is growing uglier by the day. Once limited to hard-core white supremacists and a handful of border-state extremists, vicious public denunciations of undocumented brown-skinned immigrants are increasingly common among supposedly mainstream anti-immigration activists, radio hosts and politicians. While their dehumanizing rhetoric typically stops short of openly sanctioning bloodshed, much of it implicitly encourages or even endorses violence by characterizing immigrants from Mexico and Central America as “invaders,” “criminal aliens” and “cockroaches.”
Latino blogger Marisa Treviño noticed an increase in hate crimes categorized as ‘intimidation’:
One can only surmise that more and more offenders felt empowered, and maybe even justified, to verbally threaten Latinos — especially those assumed to be undocumented.
It’s not a stretch of the imagination.
The FBI’s Erik Vasys did say in a press conference:
“There’s a lot of factors that go into possible rises in statistics. It could be anything from more agencies participating to better and more accurate reporting.”
But Mark Potok, a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Huffington Post:
One thing to understand is that Latinos, and in particular undocumented immigrants, are among the least likely to report hate crimes because they fear deportation.
Nsombi Lambright, executive director for the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Clarion-Ledger that she believes the number of hate crimes in Mississippi is much higher than the FBI report suggests.
She said her office regularly gets calls from victims of hate crimes.
The report also shows that 71 per cent of all anti-religious hate crimes in 2010 were directed at the Jewish community.
It follows the anti-Semitic incident in a Jewish section of Brooklyn, New York last week, in which three vehicles were set ablaze and swastikas were scrawled across park benches. A van was painted with ‘KKK’.
Image by eman_winston