Are ‘hate crimes’ and racism on the rise in the US?

By Terry Evans
March 25, 2019

There are growing cries from Democrats, the liberal media and the middle-class left that “hate crimes” are soaring in the U.S. This charge — which isn’t true — is grounded in their conviction that the working class is becoming more and more bigoted, racist and reactionary and needs to be controlled. This line is also pushed by the ruling class, which increasingly fears the working class and our capacity to fight against their assaults on living standards, as yellow vest protesters have done in France.

The liberals and the left also claim there is a growing fascist threat today encouraged by Donald Trump in the White House.

These charges are being used to call for more thought-control laws in the name of combating the alleged rise in hate crimes. The New York Times featured an opinion piece Feb. 22 by Thomas Cullen, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, entitled “The Grave Threats of White Supremacy and Far-Right Extremism: Hate Crimes Are on the Rise. Police and Prosecutors Need Better Tools to Fight Back.”

Cries of “rising bigotry” were taken to a new pitch at this years Oscars’ ceremony. When Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv received an award he said, “My grandparents are Holocaust survivors. The bigotry that they experienced in the Holocaust — we see that everywhere today.”

But there is no significant fascist uprising today. What working people face in the U.S. is nothing like the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime in Germany.

The fact is that through their experiences in struggles over decades — from the popular movement that overthrew Jim Crow segregation to workers’ actions to defend co-workers and neighbors without papers from raids by Washington’s immigration police — there is less racism, less anti-immigrant sentiment and less Jew-hatred among workers than ever before.

Jew-hatred is a permanent feature of capitalist rule. Speaking out against it whenever it rears its ugly head is essential for advancing the unity of working people. Doing so does not need to be justified by false claims that it is on the rise.

So determined to give credibility to their claims of “rising bigotry,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the liberal press and others rushed to condemn a supposed racist and homophobic “attack” on actor Justin Smollett, who is Black and gay, without bothering to check the facts. The press widely repeated Smollett’s claim that two “assailants” had tied a rope around the actor’s neck and told him, “This is MAGA country [Make America Great Again],” as good coin.

But then the two people arrested for the assault told Chicago cops that Smollett had in fact paid them to stage the fake “attack,” in an effort to bolster his efforts to get a raise. Smollett now faces multiple charges of lying to the authorities.

Claims that “hate crimes” are soaring are used to bolster the push for new, stronger laws and sentences for anyone charged with one. This means you can get longer time in prison not based on what you do, but on what you think. Thought-control laws like this are dangerous. The rulers always end up using them to target working people and those who fight against exploitation and oppression.