We have troubling news about hate crime in America

If you’ve been paying attention to the news (and not just CNN and such, but also the AP and other outlets), you might’ve picked up on the fact that there seem to be more reports of hate-based violence against the Muslim and transgender communities. And unfortunately, a new FBI report, or rather an advanced copy obtained by the New York Times, on hate crime seems to confirm these public perceptions:

From 2014-2015, hate crimes against Muslims have gone up by 78% and those against transgender people have gone up 40%.

For the Muslim community, hate crimes are at their highest rate since post-9/11, and an overwhelming number of victims in the trans community are trans women of color, a statistic pulled from the Human Rights Campaign.

The study was conducted by researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, and was compiled from data from twenty states. While there are things we can presume are behind these hate crime incidence rises, there are also several explicit pieces of legislation, as well as public figures, forcibly inciting violence against members of the Muslim and trans communities. Brian Levin, the author of the CSU paper, specifically cites Donald Trump, who never misses a chance to hold American Muslims to task for the activity of a tiny slice of a global population which tops over a billion people, with bolstering not just anti-Muslim sentiment but also anti-Muslim violence.

While it isn’t named in the paper, anti-trans legislation in states like North Carolina also push for anti-trans sentiment and, implicitly, violence. It’s almost as if by villainizing entire groups of people, you make their humanity more open to attack by people bolstered and whipped up by “us vs. them” frenzies. Who would’ve thought that by telling people Muslim and trans folks don’t deserve to live in America and are in fact the enemy of the “common people,” that they would then be disproportionately targeted for instances of horrific violence. If it sounds like we’re mad, we are, and we hope that these troubling trends don’t continue, for the rest of 2016 and beyond.

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