Hate crimes in the United States have historically been a pressing issue that is an unfortunate part to our country. The hate crime rate has exponentially increased within the last three years.
According to the 2017 FBI Hate Crime Report, there was a 17 percent increase in hate crimes from 2016, which is the third highest rate increase since a 20.7 percent increase from 2000 to 2001.
The FBI defines a hate crime as an crime committed against another person based on their real or perceived racial status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. These heartless and cruel acts need to be acknowledged , addressed and stopped.
The Associated Press reported an incident in Orange County March 6, where students from Newport Harbor High School posted a Snapchat photo of teenagers posing around a swastika made of red cups with their arms raised in Nazi salutes. A student at a private Jewish school in Irvine posted a screenshot and got a mixed response, with some notably arguing that the students were just joking.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany conducted a 2018 study, which showed that 22 percent of U.S. millennials have not heard of the Holocaust.
This is not the lone incident among California primary schools; last December students at Matilijia Junior High School in Ojai posed in a photo laying down in the shape of a swastika and shared a photo from a group chat that contained racist comments.
Our current administration is partly to blame for the rise in such incidents. In response to the riots at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, in which a white supremacist ran over a counter protester with his car, President Donald Trump said, “There are good people on both sides.” The Trump administration’s passivity enables an environment in which hate flourishes.
It is crucial to voice our stance through peaceful protests and display acts of solidarity to all groups. We must express the value and importance of unity and togetherness in a time of outright division.