Recently in May, a shooter targeted shoppers at the only Black-run grocery store in Buffalo, New York, USA. This is the latest episode in a troubling rise of violence against African Americans, built upon historic racial fault lines and a polarized social climate. The man accused of the attack in Buffalo, a white 18-year-old armed with a semiautomatic rifle and a white supremacist ideology embraced during the idle hours of the pandemic, opened fire at a supermarket in a mostly Black neighborhood several hours away from where he lived.
The authorities say he killed 10 people and injured three others, almost all of them African American. In a screed the suspect posted online detailing his plans, he made clear they were driven by hate, scrawling a racist slur on his weapon and referring to replacement theory, a far-right belief that the white population is at risk of being replaced by people of color and immigrants.
Many said they were unsurprised that police had arrested, and not shot, the white 18-year-old suspect. “If was Black he would have been shot,” said one man, who gave his name as Alias John, who was standing nearby. “They wouldn’t have given him a chance to surrender. They’d have shot him up.”
“We want deep history to be taught, for the truth be told, and all of this racism to stop,” jazz promoter Denise McMichael-Houston told The Guardian. “History taught correctly, tell history the way it happened. We were brought here as slaves, white people enslaved us because we are Black and nothing else. We need to know our contributions, and that would change how we look at ourselves,” said Ellen Lucas, an educator.
In 2020, a year marked by the triple forces of the coronavirus pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and a social justice movement protesting police violence and racism, the F.B.I. reported a surge in hate crimes targeting African Americans. About 64.9 percent of the 8,052 reported hate crime incidents that year were based on race, ethnicity or ancestry bias, according to the F.B.I. Within that category, Black Americans made up more than half of the victims.
While national hate crime statistics for 2021 have not yet been released, hate crime experts say the assault on Black Americans and institutions has continued: About a third of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities were targeted with bomb threats this year, along with more than a dozen houses of worship and other faith-based and academic institutions, according to the F.B.I.
The F.B.I. defines a hate crime as a crime against a person or property motivated by bias. That can include everything from bomb threats and vandalism to physical violence and murder. The federal data shows that in the past decade, hate crimes against Black Americans, who make up 12.1 percent of the population, have far exceeded those reported against any other group, including biases based on a victim’s religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
A group of national civil rights and social justice organizations called on US President to convene a summit this week to address hate crimes and right-wing extremism.
This content was originally published here.