News & Updates

  • Anti-AAPI Hate: A Conversation With Dr. Jennifer Lee

    Posted by · January 24, 2022 9:06 AM

    Southern Poverty Law Center - The rise in anti-AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) hate incidents and hate crimes has finally started a national conversation on the history of anti-AAPI hate in this country, what might be driving the latest increase, and how to address it.

    While there was a 7% decrease overall in hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities in 2020, those targeting Asian people increased by almost 150%, according to an analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

    The violence has resulted in deaths, most recently in the Atlanta area when a young white man targeted spas at which Asian women worked. Police say he shot and killed eight people March 16, six of whom were Asian women ranging in age from 44 to 74.

    Hatewatch conducted an interview with Dr. Jennifer Lee, the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University, who has written and researched extensively on the recent wave of anti-AAPI hate and violence. She is also a senior researcher at AAPI Data. In this interview, Lee discusses anti-AAPI hate, its history, current drivers and what allies can do to help.

    Hatewatch: This country is seeing a horrible increase in anti-AAPI hate incidents and violence. What are you seeing with regard to the targets of this violence?

    JL: First I’ll address the prevalence of the violence, which earlier estimates show that there have been close to 4,000 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian hate since early 2020, according to the website Stop AAPI Hate. This website was created because the Trump administration did not provide any kind of resources by which we could measure or help victims who were targeted because of their race or their gender or the intersection of both. Stop AAPI Hate allows victims to safely and anonymously report incidents that they’ve experienced, and the website also provides resources for individuals who have experienced any kind of anti-Asian or anti-AAPI hate.

    Now, one of the things we know as social scientists is that the number of people who report incidents is only capturing the tip of the iceberg of the number of all hate incidents. Because if you’re going to report something, you’re first identifying it, defining it and processing it as a hate incident, and then you’re going one step further to report it, whether it’s on a website or to local authorities. So, the numbers that we’re seeing are extremely low because they really are just the tip of the iceberg – they are the self-reports, and since most people don’t self-report, the numbers are under-reports.

    Second, our team at AAPI Data worked with Survey Monkey to field a survey immediately after the mass shooting in Atlanta. We surveyed not only Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, but also whites, Blacks, and Hispanics or Latinx [people]. And what we found was rates of anti-Asian hate incidents are far higher than the 4,000 self-reported to Stop AAPI Hate. So just to give you a figure, upwards of 2 million Asian American adults experienced an anti-Asian hate incident since the onset of COVID-19. We calculated that based on our survey. We found that in 2020 about one in 8 Asian American adults – these are just adults, not even children – experienced an anti-Asian hate incident.

    In 2021 – in the first quarter of 2021, mind you – and this was fielded in mid-March, this was one in 10. So when you calculate that, it winds up being at least 2 million based on the survey data. So I should caution that anti-Asian hate incidents aren’t always the things that become most viral in the media. So, the mass shooting in Atlanta or the horrific videos of elderly Asian Americans being punched, being shoved to the ground and kicked, hurled with anti-Asian epithets. They’re everything from being verbally harassed; being told that you are the reason for the coronavirus; being shoved; being body-slammed, which happened to one of my colleagues at Columbia. Being spit on, being coughed on – these are the less physical kinds of assaults, but these are much more prevalent.

    This is one of the reasons why a number of Asian American civil rights organizations have said that just increasing law enforcement is not going to solve this problem because the harassment doesn’t meet the bar of a hate crime. So being told to go back to China or go back to where you came from or being hurled an insult that you are the reason for the coronavirus – that does not meet the bar for a hate crime, so these kinds of incidents are not able to be prosecuted legally.

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  • How antisemitism fuels white nationalism

    Posted by · January 20, 2022 8:51 AM

    PBS NewsHour

    Listen Here


    • Hari Sreenivasan:

      Four leading authorities joined me recently in an online forum to detail that connection.

      Racial justice activist Eric Ward, American University professor Pamela Nadell, former homeland security analyst Daryl Johnson, and former white nationalist Derek Black tackled extremist groups, the conspiracy theories driving their beliefs and the current and historic roots of antisemitism that underlie their convictions.

      This segment is part of our ongoing series "Exploring Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and Extremism."

      Derek, I want to ask, is anti-Semitism, a sort of binding agent.

    • Derek Black:

      Yes antisemitism is the fiber of white nationalism, it is the ideology that in many ways is absolutely at the core and motivates all of its organizing. All of its core ideology and its worldview.

    • Hari Sreenivasan:

      Derek, I want to stay with you for a second. Tell me a little bit about that. I mean, the role of lore here, when you're a child, I mean, the stories we are told as children are there conspiracy theories that you remember hearing as if it was established fact.

    • Derek Black:

      I mean, absolutely. I think it's important at the beginning of this panel that people understand how white nationalists see the world is that more so than organizations for racial justice, more so than civil rights movements. White nationalists believe that all of their problems with society are created by an organized conspiracy of Jewish people who are motivating and pushing immigration laws, civil rights laws, And it's a belief system that in many ways disregards people of color so that it's not possible that that organizing is coming from actual racial justice organizations, but that it is a secret cabal, a conspiracy by Jewish people and therefore Jewish people are the main targets of white nationalists.

    • Hari Sreenivasan:

      Daryl, I want to ask you from your work in the Homeland Security Department, can you help us see how this idea, or these ideas that Derek just rattled off binds both domestic terror groups, but also internationally? I mean, does it transcend white nationalism make for some sort of strange bedfellows?

    • Daryl Johnson:

      Yeah, I think it's an important aspect that your audience needs to understand is this anti-Semitism is not just limited to white nationalists, it spans the spectrum. We have sovereign citizens that believe in these conspiracy theories of this elite Jewish cabal, of people that are secretly manipulating government and infringing on our rights and things of this nature. It also bridges over into Black nationalism, as well as Muslim extremism and even some of the militia groups that we have here embrace some of this anti-Semitic belief systems like the new world order, gun legislation. All of this, they believe, is some sort of Jewish conspiracy to undermine their Second Amendment rights. So that's an important aspect is, you know, many hate groups and different types of extremists embrace anti-Semitism as a core belief.

    • Hari Sreenivasan:

      Eric, you also say, you know, the antisemitism is an effective conspiracy theory that dehumanizes all of us. I mean, how do you say that based on your own experience as a civil rights leader?

    • Eric Ward:

      You know, one thing I've learned is you can't convince a person of something they don't already kind of believe. The first thing we have to understand is white nationalist or other politically violent movements are racially biased movements. They don't bring anti-Semitism or other forms of bigotry to our community. They merely organize the bigotry that already exists. Anti-Semitism exists in American society. White nationalists are tapping into it in order to build political power. It means we have to understand anti-Semitism, and one of the things we should understand about anti-Semitism is it doesn't just impact Jews. Non-Jews are just as vulnerable to the violence of anti-Semitism as the Jewish community.

    • Hari Sreenivasan:

      Professor Nadal, I mean, we might be able to better understand these connections today if we're given a little bit more context about the past. I mean, some of the tropes that we are hearing from my guests here, they seem ancient. I mean, you can kind of, you can almost take this verbatim from biblical times to now.

    • Pamela Nadell:

      Exactly. Hari, even even though there is anti Judaism before the birth of Christianity, what we're really seeing is we're seeing a kind of line from the Gospels where John says to the Jews, in the gospel of John he says you, you are from your father, the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. And by the time we get to the Middle Ages, where Christendom is in power across Europe, we get these terrible images of the Jews who are seen as diabolical, that they murder children because they need them for ritual purposes. We have the image of the evil, greedy, wicked moneylender, and we also get the image of the Jews during the Black Death, the bubonic plague of 1348-49. We have the image of the Jews have poisoned the wells and that's why people are dying. And the result is across Jewish history is legislation restricting Jewish behavior, confining Jews to ghettos, but also outbursts of violence that run across history down until today.

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    Posted by · January 17, 2022 5:47 PM

  • Less than half of hate crimes are reported

    Posted by · January 13, 2022 8:21 AM

    In 2015, the rate of violent hate crime victimization was 0.7 hate crimes per 1,000 persons age 12 or older (figure 1). This rate was not significantly different from the rate in 2004 (0.9 per 1,000).1 The absence of statistically significant change in rates from 2004 to 2015 generally held true for violent hate crimes both reported and unreported to police. However, between 2012 and 2015, the rate of unreported violent hate crime declined slightly, from 0.6 to 0.3 victimizations per 1,000 persons 12 or older (90% confidence level).

    Findings are primarily from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which has collected data on crimes motivated by hate since 2003. The NCVS and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Hate Crime Statistics Program are the principal sources of annual information on hate crime in the United States. BJS and the FBI use the hate crime definition established by the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. § 534): “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” The NCVS measures crimes perceived by victims to be motivated by an offender’s bias against them for belonging to or being associated with a group largely identified by these characteristics.

    Racial bias was the most common motivation for hate crime during 2011–15

    The NCVS asked hate crime victims about the types of bias they suspected motivated the crime. During the aggregated 5-year period from 2011 to 2015, victims suspected that nearly half (48%) of hate crime victimizations were motivated by racial bias (figure 2). About a third of victims believed they were targeted because of their ethnicity (35%) or their gender (29%). About 1 in 5 believed the hate crime was motivated by bias against persons or groups with which they were associated (23%) or by sexual orientation (22%). About 1 in 6 hate crime victimizations were thought to be motivated by bias against the victim’s religion (17%) or disability (16%).


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  • Jan. 6 Didn’t Set Off A Wave of Right-Wing Terrorism. Here’s What Happened Instead.

    Posted by · January 10, 2022 8:21 AM

    Opinion - Colin P. Clarke is the director of policy and research at The Soufan Group and a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center.

    Politico - Over the past year, extremism has gone mainstream, creating a new — and tougher — counterterrorism challenge for the U.S. government.

    One year out from the Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, how worried should we be about far-right extremism in the United States? After that tragic day, many analysts (including myself) predicted we’d see a surge in violent attacks throughout the rest of the year. This didn’t happen — but in its place, something arguably more worrisome has occurred.

    Rather than a spate of attacks by organized groups — largely what the Biden administration has prepared for — instead we have seen a massive expansion of the broader ecosystem of far-right extremism. I study terrorism and regularly monitor the rhetoric traversing Telegram and other platforms frequented by far-right extremists. Over the past year, it’s become clear that the violence underpinning the Capitol rioters’ ideology has seeped into mainstream culture and politics. As a result, many more people can — and do — engage in extremist thoughts and actions, not just members of groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. This raises risks of violence by radicalized “lone wolves,” who are much harder to track and thwart.

    What some scholars call “mass radicalization” — the mainstreaming of extremism beyond a more organized core — presents a different sort of counter-terrorism challenge for the Biden administration. Rather than playing defense through a law enforcement-driven approach, the administration needs a comprehensive strategy that cuts across different parts of society to weaken the growing pool of extremists prepared to use violence to advance their ideological goals.

    Remarkably for a year that started off with an unprecedented display of political violence, 2021 saw zero major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, nor did we experience anything resembling the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. One reason is that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has artificially suppressed terrorism plots and attacks that we might have seen otherwise. At the same time, lockdowns, isolation and stress have exacerbated many of the underlying factors that contribute to extremism, while also making mental health matters more acute. Meanwhile, 2020 and 2021 were record years for the sale of weapons and ammunition. Americans are anxious, angry and well-armed — a combustible combination.

    Another reason for fewer incidents of domestic terrorism during 2021 is that far-right extremists, both individuals and formal organizations, have likely been cowed by an aggressive law enforcement response to Jan. 6. To date, more than 700 individuals have been charged with federal crimes for their role in the insurrection. The city of Washington, D.C., has sued the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, seeking severe financial penalties. Given how paranoid many far-right extremist groups are about being infiltrated by law enforcement, many have gone underground and attempted to drop off the grid to avoid further entanglement with the authorities.

    However, it would be a mistake to conclude that the problem has faded away. Though we haven’t seen the most visible signs of growing extremism, a more extreme climate is permeating our society, culture and politics. Far-right talking points about election interference and comparisons of public health officials to Nazis are now part of mainstream political dialogue among Republicans. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci needs around-the-clock personal security for him and his family, who regularly receive death threats. In November, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted an anime video that depicted him murdering his Democratic colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging swords at President Joe Biden. Slogans like “Let’s Go Brandon,” a euphemism for more vulgar language denigrating the president, are commonly seen on everything from bumper stickers to baseball caps. Whereas terrorism analysts are used to seeing violent language on niche platforms like Parler, it’s far more unusual for the discourse to spill into statements by elected officials and political candidates.

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  • What Really Happened to Capitol Police During the Insurrection

    Posted by · January 06, 2022 8:24 AM

    VICE News - On January 6, 2021, hundreds of people breached the United State Capitol Building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 election. Many participants documented their actions on social media for the world to see. The attack left 5 dead, at least 138 police officers injured and resulted in more than $30 million in damage and security upgrades. On July 27, four of the police officers who helped defend the Capitol that day provided testimony to Congress. In this special episode of Source Material we hear their testimonies and see the violence they were subjected to.

  • NYPD reports 361 percent increase

    Posted by · January 03, 2022 8:25 AM

    NBC - New crime statistics in New York City show a significant increase in anti-Asian hate crimes this past year. 

    Incidents targeting Asians rose by 361 percent, from 28 last year to 129 as of Sunday, the New York Police Department said at a news conference this week.

    With several potential factors behind the surge, like increased awareness around reporting these crimes, Russell Jeung, co-founder of the hate incident reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate, cautioned against interpreting the data as an exact reflection of the extent to which Asian Americans experienced racism. 

    “It is consistent with a general surge in racism against Asian Americans, first of all," Jeung said. "It’s consistent with the increase in crimes during the epidemic. And then thirdly, reflective of the Asian American community more likely to report."  

    The news conference featured findings from the NYPD Hate Crime Review Panel, a civilian group that helps law enforcement identify potential hate crimes. James Essig, chief of detectives, said that anti-Asian incidents in part drove the city’s 100 percent overall increase in hate crimes this year. Crimes relating to sexual orientation also fueled the general jump, growing from 29 to 85 cases, as well as those targeting the Jewish community, which went from 121 to 183. 

    Officials said that in the 503 total hate crimes this year, the NYPD made 249 arrests, representing a 106 percent increase from last year. Crimes included a range of “heinous” assaults to vandalism, Devorah Halberstam, the panel’s chair, said. Perpetrators included individuals with mental illness. 

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  • Far-right terror poses bigger threat to US than Islamist extremism post-9/11

    Posted by · December 16, 2021 8:24 AM

    Guardian - Since the 9/11 attack, far-right extremists killed more people in the US than did American-based Islamist fundamentalists

    Donald Trump’s presidency was bookended with two of the ugliest outbursts of white nationalist violence in 21st century America – the 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville and the 2021 storming of the US Capitol by his extremist supporters to sabotage the election results.

    Rightwing apologists like to downplay these lethal events or dismiss them as aberrations, but experts warn this is a form of terrorism that’s not only entrenched but has ballooned to become the biggest domestic security threat in the US.

    In the 20 years since 9/11, far-right extremists killed more people in the US than did American-based Islamist fundamentalists – but that’s often hard to discern from the way the federal government has treated domestic terrorism.

    Earlier this year an intelligence report warned that racially-motivated extremists posed the most lethal domestic terrorism threat. It said the menace was now more serious than potential attacks from overseas, and the White House published a strategy for countering the problem.

    The FBI director, Christopher Wray, told Congress that the 6 January insurrection wasn’t an isolated event and “the problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a number of years”.

    Wray added that white supremacists comprise “the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio overall” and “have been responsible for the most lethal attacks over the last decade”.

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  • White supremacists who stormed US Capitol are only the most visible product of racism

    Posted by · December 13, 2021 8:31 AM

    The Conversation - Among the Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were members of right-wing groups, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.

    The increasing violence and visibility of these groups have turned them into symbols of white supremacy and racism. They were involved in the deadly Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 and street clashes with racial justice protesters in Portland, Oregon, last year. At a Trump rally in Washington, D.C., in December, Black Lives Matter banners were torn from two historically Black churches and destroyed. The Proud Boys’ leader has been criminally charged in those acts.

    Many Proud Boys reject the label “white supremacist”, arguing their aim is to “save America” and to defend “Western values.”

    White supremacy was itself a longstanding Western value. And white people don’t have to be white supremacists to benefit from the ways it still shapes American society.

    White supremacy, then and now

    As an ideology, white supremacy is the belief that white people are inherently superior to people of color. It relies on the notion that distinct races of people exist, and ranks those categorized as “white” at the top of the racial hierarchy.

    For hundreds of years, American leaders overtly embraced white supremacy. It was used to rationalize the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans and their descendants from the Colonial period to the 19th century. In an 1858 debate, President Abraham Lincoln said, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.”

    Known for abolishing slavery, Lincoln’s position may come as a surprise. But many U.S. abolitionists wanted white people to maintain power in government and everyday life, including after Black people were freed from bondage.

    After abolition in 1865, white supremacy continued in official and unofficial ways. It drove the legal racial segregation of Jim Crow and the banking practice of redlining, which robbed Black families of the loans necessary to buy homes in certain neighborhoods. White supremacy also underlay the forced assimilation and killing of Native Americans.

    Outright racist policies were banned after the civil rights era of the 1960s. But systemic racism remained. Today’s well-documented inequalities between Black and white Americans in savings, longevity, home ownership and health are directly related to the white supremacist hierarchy created centuries ago.

    Hidden white supremacy

    White people need not endorse white supremacy to benefit from this hierarchy. As psychologist Beverly Tatum has explained, the privileges afforded to whiteness are so much a part of the structure of U.S. society that many white people don’t even notice them.

    For example, a white man is unlikely to be stopped and frisked by police. A white high school student probably won’t be asked if she’s in the right room on the first day of an honors class. And it likely won’t occur to either to reflect on these privileges.

    A white person is similarly unlikely to wonder why no one ever asks “but where are you really from?” after introducing themselves. And a white child likely won’t notice that nearly everyone in their textbooks looks like them.

    All of these affronts, both minor and major, are experiences many people of color face throughout their lives.

    Not noticing one’s racial privilege does not make a white person a white supremacist. That racial privilege affects countless aspects of daily life does, however, mean that U.S. society is still shaped by white supremacy.

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  • The idea that anti-racist is a code word for “anti-white” is the claim of avowed extremists

    Posted by · December 09, 2021 8:39 AM

    The Mantra of White Supremacy

    The idea that anti-racist is a code word for “anti-white” is the claim of avowed extremists.

    The Atlantic - Below a Democratic donkey, the Fox News graphic read ANTI-WHITE MANIA. It flanked Tucker Carlson’s face and overtook it in size. It was unmistakable. Which was the point.

    The segment aired on June 25—the height of the manic attack on, and redefinition of, critical race theory, which Carlson has repeatedly cast as “anti-white.” It was one of his most incendiary segments of the year. “The question is, and this is the question we should be meditating on, day in and day out, is how do we get out of this vortex, the cycle, before it’s too late?” Carlson asked. “How do we save this country before we become Rwanda?”

    Some white Americans have been led to fear that they could be massacred like the Tutsis of Rwanda. CRT=Marxism, Marxism→Genocide Every time, read a sign at a June 23 Proud Boys demonstration in Miami. Other white Americans have been led to fear America’s teachers—79 percent of whom are white—instructing “kids to identify in racial terms,” as Blake Masters, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, said in May. “You are good or bad, depending on what you look like. At this point it is straight up anti-white racism. I don’t think we’re allowed to say that. But let’s call it what it is.”

    Even when GOP politicians and operatives don’t openly “call it what it is,” they end up echoing Masters nonetheless, saying without saying that “critical race theory is explicitly anti-white,” to use the words of Christopher F. Rufo, a travel-documentary filmmaker turned leading critic of CRT. At his final campaign rally, in Loudoun County, Virginia, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin said, “What we won’t do is teach our children to view everything through a lens of race where we divide them into buckets and one group is an oppressor and the other is a victim and we pit them against each other and we steal their dreams.”

    Republicans provoked a backlash against CRT, which they also call anti-racism or wokism. Their backlash won 2021 elections. “But it wasn’t a backlash of parents,” William Saletan found in his close study of polling data. “It was a backlash of white people.”

    How many Americans know that the claim that anti-racism is harmful to white people is one of the basic mantras of white-supremacist ideology? Americans are familiar with white-supremacist movements like the Klan, skinheads, neo-Nazis, and the Proud Boys. But they don’t seem to recognize white-supremacist ideology—the most venomous form of racist ideology. I suspect that many Americans don’t know how much white-supremacist ideology shapes their political thought and America’s political discourse, and allows juries to exonerate racism and convict anti-racism.

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