A new book by a leading authority on hate crimes, Dr. Edward Dunbar, a Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA, has revealed the connection between the election of Donald Trump and the rising tide of hate crimes in the United States.
Titled Hate Unleashed: America’s Cataclysmic Change, the book examines how economic and cultural differences and perceived inequities in this country pushed America away from “liberal democratic principles of choice, secularism, freedom of expression, and multiculturalism” and towards “authoritarian, ultranationalistic, and xenophobic (AUX) social philosophies.”
With two of the largest mass murders in U.S. history taking place since the election of President Trump, the 58 concert-goers killed in Las Vegas last October and the 26 church-goers a month later in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Dunbar draws a connection between the fear-mongering propaganda that Trump utilized while running for President and the increasing number of hate crimes being reported.
“After the election, it became clear that hostility, intolerance and violence targeting minorities, immigrants and socially progressive individuals was more prevalent in the United States than many thought,” Dunbar says, “These hateful sentiments played a significant role in Trump’s unlikely ascension.”
Among his more interesting findings is a conclusion that in essence the American Civil War never really ended, with cultural and behavioral differences persisting in states that were formerly part of the Confederacy. In fact, there is a direct correlation between the number of lynchings that took place in a state and its current level of reported hate crime incidents.
While one would think that areas that tolerated the lawless murder of African Americans by angry mobs would have a higher rate of hate crimes, the evidence actually shows fewer bias-associated crimes in those states, a finding that Dunbar attributes to an under-reporting of hate crimes in those states not only because of a historic culturally-induced reluctance by law enforcement officials to categorize them as such but by a tacit resignation by victims in those communities that the crimes against them won’t be taken seriously enough to be prosecuted.
The correlation also extends to states that Trump won in the election, with fewer hate crimes being reported in those areas compared to the states that Hillary Clinton won, a fact that Dunbar attributes to the victims in the more liberal states feeling more comfortable with calling out crimes as motivated by bias.
While the overall crime rate has been falling, hate crimes have risen in the aftermath of Trump’s election, a phenomenon Dunbar says is caused by a cultural environment that has made expressing bias more acceptable as well as the increasingly accurate categorization of crimes that may not have been reported as motivated by prejudice previously.
Crimes based on racial or ethnic antipathy make up the largest percentage of hate crimes currently, with crimes targeting sexual orientation or gender differences the next largest, but most violent, category. Religious orientation is the other leading reason for hate crime victimization.
In addition to authoring Hate Unleashed: America’s Cataclysmic Change, Professor Dunbar has consulted with the Los Angeles Police Department on evaluating offenders and classifying crimes as bias-related. He’s also worked with the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center on violence prevention in schools.
His analysis of the violent trend that both culminated in the election of Donald Trump and that was amplified by it is thought-provoking and insightful, but the inclusion of a section on how to deal with the psychological ramifications of the increase in hate crimes is particularly valuable.
Professor Dunbar offers solutions on how to endure a time of cultural conflict, cope with oppression, and use individual will to confront social intolerance that will surely be useful in such troubled times.
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