This Week in Hate: One year after Charlottesville, hate continues to rise

Six years ago, on August 5, 2012, a white supremacist entered a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and killed six people — Parmajit Kaur, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Suveg Singh, Prakash Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka — and wounded several others.

One year ago, on August 11, 2017, over 500 white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia to display their hate and bigotry. Neo-nazis, klansmen, and white supremacists chanted racist and anti-semitic slogans such as “blood and soil,” “you will not replace us” and “hail Trump”. The protest ended violently as we witnessed the brutal murder of Heather Heyer, an anti-racist counter-protester.

On the anniversaries of Oak Creek and Charlottesville, we remember those who showed up against hate and reflect on the climate of hate since these tragedies.

The tremors of violence and bigotry displayed by white supremacists are a function of the larger system of white supremacy, a system which was established well before November 2016. The vitriolic rhetoric and rise in hate we have seen since Oak Creek and Charlottesville, however, have been further exacerbated by white supremacist rhetoric disseminated by this administration.

We have felt the tremors of hate through the state sanctioned disempowerment of Black communities, issuance of anti-immigrant policies targeting Latinx communities, and implementation of the Federal Government’s Muslim Ban.

In SAALT’s 2018 report Communities on Firewe draw a direct line between this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda and increasing attacks. Of the 213 documented incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans during the first year of this presidential administration, one in five perpetrators invoked President Trump’s name, one of his administration’s policies (the Muslim Ban), or one of his campaign slogans (“Make America Great Again”) while committing the attack.

In the year since Charlottesville, SAALT documented 131 incidents hate violence targeting South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities. Fifty-two incidents were verbal/written assaults, followed by forty incidents of property damage, and thirty-nine physical assaults. Additionally, there were fifty-eight incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric. See Figure 1.

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In the past month alone between July 7, 2018 — August 13, 2018 SAALT has documented eight incidents of hate violence. The trend of anti-Sikh hate crimes continues as those who are visibly perceived as Muslim remain the primary targets of hate violence in our communities.

On July 31, 2018, Surjit Malhi was attacked by two white supremacists in Turlock, California. The men spray-painted a neo-Nazi symbol on his truck and threw sand in Malhi’s eyes before beating him in the head, shoulders, and neck. They told Malhi, “go back to your country.”

  • On August 7, 2018, in Manteca, California, seventy-year-old Sahib Singh Natt, was attacked by two young perpetrators while taking a walk around his neighborhood. The perpetrators repeatedly kicked Natt on the ground and spit on him.
  • On July 29, 2018, in Maplewood, Minnesota, two white men spray-painted “666,” “Jesus saves,” and other slurs on the Islamic Institute of Minnesota.
  • On July 27, 2018, in Leesburg, Virginia, members of the community found KKK recruitment fliers on the lawns and around local businesses.
  • On July 27, 2018, radio hosts, Dennis Mallow and Judi Franco, of New Jersey 01.5 WKXW-FM called the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, Gurbir Grewal, a “turban man” while on air.
  • On July 16, 2018, NYC food vendor, Hassane Elbaz, was stabbed with a pen and repeatedly punched by an unknown perpetrator. The perpetrator told Elbaz “I’m going to f — k you up, terrorist m — — — — — r! Arab, go back to your country!”
  • On July 12, 2018, a woman verbally assaulted a Muslim woman while traveling on a city bus from Brooklyn to Staten Island, New York. The perpetrator, Ashley, mocked the woman for wearing a headscarf and telling her that “ICE is here for you.”
  • On July 9, 2018, Saira Rao, an Indian woman, Saira Rao, an Indian woman, who ran for office in Colorado’s 1st congressional district received death threats for speaking out against white supremacy. She was forced to temporarily leave the state to keep her family safe.

As we mark the first anniversary of Charlottesville, white supremacists continue to be emboldened to commit acts of hate against communities of color. We as a community must #TakeOnHate and remain steadfast in our message: we are not going away.

Written by

A national social justice org working on policy analysis/advocacy on issues affecting the South Asian community: immigration, post 9/11 backlash. www.saalt.org

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