Omair Ali

Perspectives Editor

The proliferation of hate crimes across America has not only coincided with drastic changes in our government’s leadership last year but also has continued with this new leadership. This is because our government has not produced a timely, measured response to address a growing problem in the public.

Prevalence of Hate Crimes

Per most recent data published by the FBI, Hate crimes are a common occurrence in the present and  primarily targets three groups: racial or ethnic minorities; religious minorities; and non-heterosexual individuals. This should be common knowledge to many, as hate crimes generally affect groups that have historically been marginalized. However, it is alarming that the incidence of hate crimes has risen during the last several months.  Last year, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported an unprecedented surge in hate crimes and hate group activity across the United States. These hate groups have gained popularity, which is concerning because these groups in every region of America—even in the greater Chicago area.

However, minorities are not the only victims of hate crimes in America: Hate crimes against whites happens every year in surprisingly large proportions. In 2015, 10.5% of reported hate crimes were directed against whites. One of the most notable hate crime in recent times was the kidnapping of a white individual by 4 African-American teenagers in the Chicago area. The complexity of hate crimes makes it a difficult problem to solve, but does this excuse the government’s delayed action?

An Inefficient Government Response to Hate Crimes

The SPLC attributed this rise in hate crimes to Trump’s campaign, suggesting that it is plausible to assume a relationship between the current administration’s activities during the election and the rise of hate crimes. To make matters worse, over 100 days have passed since the beginning of a new administration, and very little has been accomplished to ameliorate the hatefulness that quietly plagues America.

To say that some of President Trump’s supporters do not commit hate crimes would be a complete misinterpretation of his support base. America’s Voice, a pro-immigration organization, has reported dozens of incidents of racial harassment by Trump’s supporters since the start of his campaign. While Trump has publicly condemned hate crimes, his efforts to diminish hate crimes in American communities are very underwhelming. He has not made hate crimes a priority in his agenda, indicating that his priorities do not lie with the public conscience (most people would condemn hate crimes). He has also not promoted interconnectedness and interdependence among America’s diverse population in his agenda, which could otherwise discourage joining hate groups or committing hate crimes.

Despite my charge that Trump has done little to alleviate hate, he is not the only one who should be blamed. Congress has also been very slow at responding to hate crimes. It was only a few weeks ago that the Senate passed a resolution to “condemn” hate crimes, which is currently being examined by the House of Representatives. But Congress has been far too late at addressing slow at generating an effective response to address domestic hate crimes, which have been occurring well before the Senate passed the hate crime resolution.

Our Community Should Be Hate-Free

As a diverse community, Benedictine University has embraced diversity of interactions skin colors, sexual orientations, and religious/cultural backgrounds. However, this does not mean that it is impossible for hate crimes cannot occur on this campus. In fact, a little more than a month has passed since a Benedictine student was assaulted after he tried to defend minorities.

While it might be impossible for our community to speed up our government’s efforts, or even to stop all forms of marginalization and discrimination on campus, we should continue to focus on what Benedictine University does best: Maintain hospitality to all individuals regardless of identity and provide opportunities for students to share their concerns. But to succeed in an environment that is prone to hate, we must all become more united than ever to stomp hate by sharing love with each other— regardless of identity.