Hate violence is a growing and urgent crisis facing many communities in the U.S.
As anti-immigrant sentiment spilled over into the racist “papers please” law in Arizona in 2010, violence against immigrants has been on the rise. In New York City, 2010 saw a spate of attacks directed at Mexican immigrants in Staten Island, and the virulent Islamophobia laid bare by the opposition to the Cordoba House project at 51 Park Place was accompanied by the vicious slashing of a Muslim cab driver.
Meanwhile, three men were tortured and sodomized for hours in a horrific anti-gay attack in October. The case was unusual only in its brutality; in 2009, 360 people were victims of anti-gay hate crimes in the city, according to the Anti-Violence Project’s annual survey. Two of the Mexican Staten Islanders attacked in July were also gay, an attack reminiscent of the 2008 murder of Jose Sucuzhanay, whose attackers beat him and his brother shouting both anti-Latino and anti-gay slurs. And while the perpetrators in that crime as well as the recent attacks in Staten Island were black youths, it was a gang of white youths that killed Marcelo Lucero in Patchogque, just a month before Sucuzhanay’s murder.
While these crimes have generated headlines, so many others go on without notice. In fact, according to national (FBI) statistics, 9,691 people were victims of hate crimes in 2008 (the last year for which numbers are available): 51% of them based on race, of which 72.9% were anti-black attacks; 17.9% based on religion, including 66.1% anti-Jewish and 7.5% anti-Muslim crimes; 17.6% based on sexual orientation; and 12.7% based on ethnicity or national origin, of which 64.6% of the victims were Hispanics.