The dangers of hate crimes in NYC


Going out and shopping is an activity that most Americans do. Everyday there are people going out and shopping for their needs and of course their cravings. Unfortunately, that plan was destroyed in June 2021 when a man named Jordt ,who was identified as a former marine, allegedly punched a Black 19 year old in a grocery store in Chicago. “The man shouted “White people built this country,” says NBC news. Hate crimes like these disrupt our everyday lives.

 Hate crimes have been increasing so much that the solution seems impossible to reach. “Should we educate more about racism and its roots?” “Should we create more movements to stop the opinion of people?” “Should we try to help out more people with mental diseases?” “Should we limit gun use? But wont that go against what we agreed on in the constitution?” What more can be done? All of these are great questions that we feel we have an immediate answer to. 

Over the course of years, there have been big changes, like how Black Lives Matter has impacted our community. Protests, books, speeches, songs, poems, dances, and more have been used to represent how we should respect every race. It is sometimes the people who don’t pay attention to those big signs and choose to ignore them because their belief in hatred against other races is strong. Everyday,  some people think, “What’s going to happen tomorrow if I go outside?” How many families have educated their kids how to dress appropriately so they won´t be raped, beaten up, or even killed?

“I feel like in our society, Black people are systematically oppressed. They are associated with negative connotations revolving around stereotypes and of their skin color. I think if the government hates crimes on the African American Community or any race in general, there would be more protests,” states Stephanie Chung, a sophmore in the iSchool. 

The Math

“From 1992 to 1996, the number of hate crimes reported against African Americans increased by 52 percent. Factors that may contribute to a social and political climate in which people prejudiced against minorities are prompted to commit a hate crime include unemployment, poor financial circumstances… Scapegoating, stereotyping attitudes, generalized resentment, the exhilaration of seeing someone suffer, and reaction to a personal threat can be reasons for hate crimes,” says the Office of Justice programs.

We have to consider two situations every day.  One of them is “What am I going to do today?” For some people the answer is work, school, eat, exercise etc. But others may ask, “If I dress like this, will I get attacked?” “Should I wear an oversized hoodie just in case?” “Should I carry around a weapon just in case something happens on my way to work?”

“Agencies reported 128 anti-Black crimes, which were the most reported in the past five years, and 31 anti-Asian crimes, the highest number reported during the past 10 years…. Black individuals were the most commonly targeted group (58 of 223), followed by Jewish individuals (48), gay men (25), and Asian individuals (23).” says an annual report made by the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The New York Police department has a monthly report in which they report the amount of crimes that go on in New York. In the report for October, they reported 1 hate crime against Black people which for some people seems a very suspicious small number. In the report for November, they reported 6 hate crimes against Black people. There’s a difference of 5. So now the question that comes to mind is,Are the police hiding information about the amount of hate crimes in the city and say the crimes happened because of another reason or never even happened?

Real stories

Going to work nowadays has become even a danger. At this point in time, we never know what’s going to happen or what we will find on our way to work or school. On July 13, 2019, at 6pm luck wasn’t on the side of two Hispanic men who were closing a construction site.

 “After being denied permission to use the power washer, Madsen became enraged and began screaming racist and xenophobic epithets.  Madsen then picked up a scraper, a long, rod-like construction tool with a sharp metal blade at one end.  He struck one of the victims in the back with the scraper, after which he attempted to stab the victim in the stomach with the blade of the scraper.  At this point, the second victim tried to intervene, and Madsen struck that victim in the face several times, cutting the victim’s face and loosening two of his teeth. Two bystanders saw the attack and stopped to help. One bystander took the scraper from Madsen and remained on the scene until police arrived.  The other bystander called 911…,” says the Department of Justice.

For some people, an increase in these types of crimes are starting to become very annoying because now they feel like they can’t even go outside without being worried about not becoming a victim of a crime in the street. The police say that the police will protect us, but at this rate, the police have no idea what to do anymore. 

Another case was in Massachusetts in which a man from Maine had traveled to Massachusetts to turn a Black Church in Massachusetts into complete flames. 

According to the Department of Justice, they said “The government alleges that the man is also responsible for a string of other crimes leading up to burning the church. Setting fires on the church’s property and a series of tire slashings. A search of the defendant’s vehicle and electronic devices revealed his hatred of Black people. The defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 for using fire to damage religious property, and faces a sentence of at least 10 years in prison for using fire to commit a federal felony,” 

This man had committed more crimes in the past leading to the one of burning a Black community church. This means that the consequences after multiple crimes don’t really stop them from committing another one and another.  It becomes a line of hatred that becomes more and more dangerous as time goes on. Some say it’s because of the treatment they get when they are completing their years or months in jail. 

There are times that when people are in prison, they get treated very poorly and cruelly. In jail, there are many fights and of course are hit by guards if they don’t listen to the rules. Some of them are even threatened to be killed. NYC 311 says that if you know that a person is in danger or is being threatened to death, to call 911 and for the report, this person cannot be anonymous since they may become part of the incarcerated person’s case. 

Why so much hate against the African American Community? 

 The roots of hate crimes against Black people goes all the way back in Europe. The book Stamped: Racism, Anti Racism, and You: Aremix by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds is a remix of the original book Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi. In the book, Ibram explains how he researched the history of racism and he combines a bit of sarcasm and humor into his book. The point of the book is to teach kids and people the REAL way slavery and racism started.

According to Ibram, racism started back in Europe around the 1400s. Racism started with books. And some people think “Books?” Well think about the phones and computers you have now. People in the 1400s didn’t have that type of technology. 

In Europe, many people really prioritized the study of the Bible and faithfully believed everything written in the bible, since they were very religious and trusted what was there. In the Bible it said that Black people were animals and had to serve for Europeans because according to the bible, they are worth nothing. This is the start and the spread of such a cruel idea. 

In the book, it says “Storytelling…But he upped the brag by also explaining what made portugal different from their European neighbors in terms of slave trading. The Portugese now saw enslaving people as missionary work. A mission from God to help civilize and Christianize the African ‘savages.’” 

As we can see, the information given by Ibrahm X. Kenedi is valuable and precise. His goal was to inform the public of information that is sometimes not taught in most schools. I didn’t even know about this information until the book was used in lessons in the Middle School I went named Dual Language Middle School (M.S. 247). 

I’d like to ask you to look for that on the internet. Search for this, “When did racism start?”  and I can assure you that it will not just give you a simple answer and tell you “Well it started in the 14th century.” No, you’re going to read a long article and THEN see it. It’s there, just hidden. 

After much research, Ibram X. Kendi discovered the true motive behind expanding racist ideas. He said, “Think of it this way. There are only two potential explanations for racial inequity, for why White people were free and Black people were enslaved in the United States. Either racist policies forced Black people into enslavement, or animalistic Black people were fit for slavery. You will produce and circulate this racist idea to stop abolitionists from challenging slavery, from abolishing what is making you rich. You see the racist policies of slavery arrive first and then racist ideas make people ignorant about racism and hateful of racial groups.” 

What do we think the Police have done to stop this?

“I feel like police officers should take further action in stopping hate crimes in the city, but also educate themselves. On the news, there are more and more articles on police brutality corresponding to Black people and how they took innocent lives,” says Stephanie. People think that the government isn’t really doing enough. What surprised me the most is that most of the people in the city, if you were to ask them if the government is doing enough, out of 9 people, only 1 will reply yes. 

“I think the government doesn’t pay attention to African Americans hate crimes because they think they are less important in some way and I do feel like the police aren’t doing enough to protect every group because they give some community’s less importance. I feel like the BLM show was kinda like a lie, people just wanted to show that they support black people but in reality it was just a show to show empathy. The news doesn’t do anything about it, they chose to not show some true things,” says Daniela Zamora Inguil, a freshman in the iSchool. 

People like Daniela feel the same way and are worried about the future of New York City. As New Yorkers, we are supposed to be united working through this together. But it seems as if most of our city is now just filled of criminals and there is nothing to stop it. 

Edgar Galvez, a freshman in Manhattan, has agreed with what Daniela stated. “I don’t think the police are doing enough to stop hate crimes as I’ve seen many instances myself on the street. I feel like the Black Lives Matter movement hasn’t been paid attention as much as it should because you don’t usually see it as much until something happens. I don’t think the news is doing enough to inform people about public hate going around because there are still some races like latinos/ HIspanics that are being hated on that aren’t being as talked about as the Blacks and Asians. I think there should be a no tolerance rule against anybody who intentionally hurts someone because of their race and to publicize movements more often,” says Edgar. 

As shown above, people have blamed the government and the police for not doing enough to protect the people. Is it really the fault of the police that hate crimes are going on? And the reality is that sometimes it is the police themselves who commit these crimes. But we do also have to think about how police can’t always be everywhere. When we do look at what train station police are in, I’ve noticed that they are normally in downtown trains but rarely do I ever see them in uptown stations such as 145st or all the way in the Bronx. 

“Feels great when going to school but when I come back it feels different. But sometimes I feel like something is off. I don’t know how to really explain it but it just feels like something is off. I feel like the most unsafe borough in New York City is Queens,” says Natalie Valle, a freshman at Harvest Collegiate. 

I don’t think police officers are doing enough , as shown especially in cases like George Floyd, where often the police are the ones who are committing the crimes against African Americans. I think recent movements such as black lives matter are really important to spread awareness about topics such as police brutality but I also think that especially during the pandemic, social media influencers used it as a way to gain a bigger following and saw it as more of a trend,” says Golchin Dabashi, a freshman in High School. 

With this, we are already seeing that people don’t even feel comfortable going out anymore! “If the police are not showing themselves as open to the investigation of hate crimes and catching perpetrators, if the police department does not show they are willing to help victims, individuals who are targeted by hate crimes, then there is little impetus to report,” Bell said at an interview by Wttw. People no longer believe in the protection of police officers. Even my own mom said, “We shouldn’t go outside much anymore because nowadays, we have no idea what’s going to happen out there.” 

The Solution

In 2019, the NYC Office for the prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC) was launched. The main goal of the office was to respond and prevent hate crimes. They plan out ideas with communities to prevent the increase of hate crimes. They help victims who have been through hate crimes and their family. The OPHC has great partners such as Community Advisory Services Team (CAST) and Partners Against The Hate (PATH) to help with the ideas of OPHC. 

Something interesting that the OPHC wrote in their FAQ page was “There are a number of reasons that hate crimes are under-reported, including that a victim may believe that the incident was not important enough to report to police, may feel that their complaint will not be taken seriously or may not trust the government to act on it, or may be concerned about their immigration status or about retaliation.” This means that the reason why some people don’t report many hate crimes is because they are worried and scared that the government won’t do anything to help them at all. 

The Mayor’s office of Criminal Justice, who proposed the creation of OPHC, said “Bias-motivated crimes strike at the heart of a victim’s identity and create insecurity and fear. On an individual level, research shows that victims of hate crimes are particularly vulnerable to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and are more likely to suffer from health issues and struggle with employment, leading the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize that hate crimes “inflict distinct emotional harms” on their victims.”

 Now that we know that the reason racism even exists in the first place, it’s important to keep in mind that we are fighting against something that the people before us created, and we have been doing a very bad job in trying to eliminate it. In some way, we all think something is wrong with another race. One calls Mexicans drunks. Another calls African Americans savages. Another calls Dominicans animals. And even though these are very cruel names, people don’t care and will say it to someone without even knowing how badly it could hurt them. 

As Ibram X. Kenedi once said, “Fooled by racist ideas, I did not fully realize that the only thing wrong with Black people is that we think something is wrong with Black People.