All Hate Incidents are Important

Shane Shuma ‘22, Opinion Columnist

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There has been much outrage and criticism leveled at Jussie Smollet in the last week after being caught perpetrating a hate crime hoax on January 29. Many have rushed to his defense, arguing that his actions have helped bring a spotlight to the rise of hate related crimes in America. 

According to the FBI hate crime incidents increased by 17% from 2016 to 2017, however much of this increase has been attributed to the fact that 1,000 additional law enforcement agencies began reporting data that year. That’s not to say that these crimes are not important, they are. In fact, anyone who perpetuates violence against another person for political, ethnic, disability, gender, sexuality, and other characteristics is reprehensible. However, as Jussie Smollett was causing a stir, another telling hate incident fell under the radar. 

The FBI does not consider violence perpetrated against someone for political reasons as a hate crime. For that reason I will refer to those situations as hate related incidents. College campuses are no stranger to these hate related incidents. For example, Antifa, though not as present in the news cycle now as it was, has been a major force for hate. They have not only shut down speakers and events they disagree with, but there are also countless examples of them assaulting or planning to assault people they believe are Nazis. 

One of English Classical Liberal Carl Benjamin’s political events at King’s College London was sabotaged and his audience attacked, and in the last few years there has also been massive civil unrest caused by BAMN and Antifa at UC Berkeley. Just this week, a conservative activist at UC Berkely was punched, harrassed, and humiliated while trying to recruit students for a nation leadership group for conservatives. Of course, he took the abuse as any conservative should, standing up and without resistance. 

Why is this old news and random incident at UC Berkely relevant? It’s relevant because the lack of attention and the lack of condemnation these incidents get seems to embolden people to continue committing violence. Just as not condemning or in some cases not arresting a member of the KKK would embolden them to commit more heinous acts, so too does our society’s nonchalant attitude towards hate incidents against conservatives emboldens people to commit more violence. All hate incidents are bad, and are deserving of inspection, condemnation, and reflection. 

I would never excuse someone commiting a hateful attack against someone else as “going against the system” or them “fighting the bigots”, just as I have a no tolerance policy for hate crimes against people of protected status. A great and easy way to achieve more national unity would be for more people to support conservatives in their struggles and put an end to excuses for hate and violence against anyone.