Last week, “A series of shootings at Atlanta-area massage parlors left eight dead … and after an extended manhunt, police have arrested a 21-year-old man who is believed to have confessed to the crimes.”
“Although a motive was not immediately apparent, media, including The New York Times, began to speculate that the suspect’s decision to target the massage parlors, staffed largely by Asian females, was indicative of an anti-Asian hate crime and connected the shooting spree to recent attacks on elderly individuals of Asian descent in places like San Francisco, California, and New York City,” the Daily Wire reported.
The New York Times reported that “Six of the victims were Asian, the authorities said, raising fears that there may have been a racial motivation to the crimes.” The other two victims were white or hispanic.
There currently appears to be no evidence to suggest that these attacked were motivated by racism. Indeed, “Authorities said in a news conference that, based on his confession, they believe the shootings were ‘not racially motivated’ and that ‘[the shooter] instead allegedly opened fire because he saw the locations as ‘an outlet for him’ to succumb to purported sex-addiction temptations.’”
However, the narrative being promoted is that such violence is a symptom of anti-Asian hate being specifically promulgated by white supremacists as an ongoing result of Trump’s presidency, with the Washington Post reporting that “Biden, Harris denounce attacks on Asian Americans,” while CNN wrote, “White supremacy and hate are haunting Asian Americans.”
“Many Asian Americans feel exposed by a torrent of dangerous and racially motivated rhetoric by national figures on a cultural crusade. Most prominently that includes ex-President Donald Trump, who presided over four years of rising racial tensions and often used division as a tool of personal power,” Stephen Collinson wrote for CNN.
What is the political goal?
If tragic incidents can be used for partisan gain, then they are condemned as further evidence of the central problem — in this case, white supremacy. If they cannot be used for partisan purposes, then they are either mischaracterized as necessary, or ignored completely.
One such example of this strategy is the Left’s attitude towards anti-Semitism, with hatred from white supremacists condemned — as they should be — while hatred from other groups is often dismissed or forgiven.
All forms of violence committed against innocent victims is despicable, and those responsible for committing such acts should be punished as the law dictates. This conclusion makes no exception and applies no special treatment based on race. Instead, it treats each person with respect as an individual worthy of safety and respect.
However, this is unfortunately not the attitude demonstrated by much of the Left, who appear intent on keeping people focused on the “racist legacy” of Trump by leveraging certain forms of violence. The terrible attack in Atlanta is simply the latest instance of this cynical strategy.
What does the data say?
The available data on the subject of violence against racial groups essentially disproves the central assumptions of the Left.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Justice from 2018, there were 3,581,360 violent acts committed against white people, 563,940 against black people, 734,410 against Hispanic people, and 182,230 against Asian people. Every race except for Asians was most likely to be victimized by someone of their own race. 62.1% of attacks against white people were committed by someone who was white, 70.3% of attacks against black people were committed by someone who was black, and 45.4% of attacks against Hispanic people were committed by someone who was Hispanic.
The relevant portion of this data runs counter to the Leftist narrative that anti-Asian violence is a crime unique to those apparently associated with the ideology of “white supremacy,” since the largest proportion of attacks on Asian people were committed by black people in 2018. 27.5% of attacks against Asian people were committed by black people, compared to 24.1% by white people and 24.1% by Asian people. Just 7.0% of these attacks were committed by Hispanic people.
What about anti-Asian hate due to COVID-19?
Available data clearly indicates that the number of anti-Asian hate crimes has increased, and it is reasonable to argue that these are fueled — at least in part — by rhetoric regarding COVID-19. However, the problem here is not that hate crimes are condemned — after all, racism should always be rejected — but that other forms of hate are ignored despite a larger rate of incidence and growth.
According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there has been an increase of 149% in anti-Asian “hate crimes” in 2020 compared to 2019 in America’s largest cities. Looking at the data, New York City had the largest increase of 833%, with 3 incidents in 2019 compared to 28 in 2020. Philadelphia and Cleveland were tied at second with a 300% increase, both with 2 anti-Asian incidents in 2019 compared to 6 in 2020.
Yet again, it’s crucial to acknowledge that every individual instance of violent crime or racist hatred is an immoral act which should be widely condemned. The important point demonstrated by this data, however, is that the narrative being pushed by the Left of widespread anti-Asian hatred fueled by unfettered white supremacists in every area of our society is simply unfounded. It is also demonstrative of an opportunistic and cynical political class who are seeking to use race to divide for electoral gain.
This is supported when we consider the differences in reaction to other — less politically advantageous — forms of hatred. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, for example, the number of hate crimes targeting Asians increased from 140 in 2014 to 158 in 2019. Given an Asian American population size of approximately 22 million according to the United States Census Bureau, this indicates an incident rate of 0.007 per 1,000. According to the same data set, the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes rose from 609 in 2014 to 953 in 2019. With a liberal estimate of 7 million Jews in the United States, that amounts to an incident rate of 0.14 per 1,000.
In terms of rate per 1,000, the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes is twenty times greater than the rate of anti-Asian hate crimes. However, just like anti-Asian hate, the issue is only raised when it can be used to launch a political attack against the American right by attributing every incident to “white supremacy.”
One final time: all individual instances of hate should be condemned. In order to combat hate effectively, we need to understand the reality on the ground, which includes an honest analysis of the data.
When the data is ignored, one can only conclude that there are other objectives at play.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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