Saturday, April 22, 2017

Globalisation, Diversity has eroded mutual faith leading to 'hate crimes': American scholar

Laws are obviously not the only answer to hate crimes and even as some quarters push about stricter laws to deal with it, it is a "hard proposition" to believe that awarding higher penalties can really help, an American expert and a noted writer on right-wing populism has said here.
Mark Potok, also associated with US-based civil rights organisation Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said that "the real answer has to come from building inter-communal relationship".

"There is a sociologist study which has found that with increasing diversity, communities have become less trust worthy," Mr Potok told a select group of Indian journalists through a video conferencing interaction here last evening.
This is not to suggest that the sociologists' study opposes multi-cultural identity and the spirit of diversity, but he said, "while society becoming more diverse, it is good for the society in certain ways; in certain ways it creates loss of trust".

Giving at length various facets of historical perspective of racial crimes and both old and new legislation in at least 45 provinces in the United States besides federal law on hate crimes, he said, "One aspect is that the hate crimes typically have more target than the individual who is attacked".
He further said another issue of worry is that the hate crimes "tend to split" the communities into various categories. In other words, the hate crime gives an impression that here is a country that struggles to get different kinds of communities together.

He said at present 45 out of 50 provincial states besides the federal government have the anti hate crime laws in the United States. To a question, he sought to counter the perception that "snobbish" attitudes of Americans have also led to increase in number of hate crimes in that country and rather said "there is lot of anger" among the native people as they feel their rights and privileges are being taken over by migrants and foreigners.

The Asian share of legal immigrants into America has increased from nearly 7 percent in the 1950s to 35 percent by the 1980s and about 40 percent in 2013-14. "There is a major demographic change and therefore the role of globalisation is also crucial with regard the emergence of right wing," he said.It is in this context, Mr Potok, Editor of 'Hate Watch', said, there is much about politics of 2016 in the United States that triggered hate crimes. "There is no doubt that they were related to the elections. One, largest number of hate crimes occurred a day immediately after the elections and the numbers west down virtually every day for about a month," Mr Potok said.

“Besides, in 37 per cent of the cases the perpetrators, in one way or the other reference Donald Trump while attacking or abusing the victim, like ‘Get Out of here, Trump is our President now’ or his ‘Making America Great Again’,” he said. On this backdrop -- triggering the hate campaigns and hate crimes, he said, "a very, very similar thing happened in the United Kingdom immediately after the Brexit and Britons voted out of the European Union". 

Such crimes are directed against all kinds of people - including the immigrants.

Therefore, he maintained it may not be erroneous to believe that "The world, much of the western world is seeing the rise of the right wing populism". Asked to comment on India, he admitted, "I know less of India, but it is a similar phenomenon". To another question about the recent attacks on people from the Indian community in the United States, he said, there is no consolidated data on it as such, but in 2015, the number of anti-Asian hate crimes stood at 111, which showed a steady fall from its tally of 199 in 2005. “From 2015, two new categories anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh were added to the list. So, five of these crimes were anti-Hindu and six anti-Sikh.” 

 Quoting America’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, Mr Potok said an estimated 293,800 violent and property hate crime -- non-fatal victimisations occurred in 2012 against persons age 12 or older residing in US households.The report further has suggested that In 2012, victims perceived that the offender was motivated by bias against the victim’s ethnicity in 51 percent of  hate crimes. 

This was a statistically significant increase from 30 per cent of hate crimes motivated by ethnicity bias in 2011 and 22 per cent in 2004. The percentage of hate crimes motivated by religious bias was nearly three times higher in 2012 (28 per cent) than in 2004 -- 10 per cent.

(This also went on as UNI story)


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