Paulette Brown-Hinds, PhD
I wrote about hate crimes three years ago. It was July 2014, and using the threat of illegal immigration to attract new members, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had left recruitment fliers in an Orange County neighborhood. It was part of a nationwide recruitment push for new members in preparation for an early August rally to be held in North Carolina, my dad’s home state.
At the time, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center there were 939 active hate groups in the United States, 77 of them in California. And although the SPLC reports that nativist extremist groups have declined since reaching their peak in 2010, overall hate groups have increased. And now they report there are currently 917 hate groups currently operating in the United States, the number in California has increased to 79.
The number of hate crimes has increased has well. In a report released last month, the California Attorney General confirmed back-to-back increases in the state for the first time since 1996. According to the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at CSU San Bernardino the number of hate crimes in California increased from 837 in 2015 to 931 in 2016. And African-Americans are the “single largest group” targeted for hate crimes in the United States.
As part of a partnership with New America Media will be tracking these hate crimes, and based on data analysis and what experts have identified as best practices, we’ll report on how to best combat them. We believe that by better understanding what motivates the perpetrators of hate crimes, we can move toward solving the problem.