By Lauren Victoria Burke 

NNPA Newswire Contributor

According to the FBI, the number of hate crimes in America rose 6 percent from the previous year in 2020. The increase was the highest level in 12 years. The main targets of hate crimes in the U.S. are Blacks and Asians. 

The FBI reports that there were 7,759 hate crimes in 2020. That total was an increase of 6 percent from 2019 and the most since 2008. Hate crime numbers have risen steadily over the last seven years. 

The new numbers feature attacks targeting Black people. Hate crimes on Black people went up from 1,930 to 2,755 in 2020.  

“These statistics show a rise in hate crimes committed against Black and African-Americans, already the group most often victimized. Notably, they show a rise in hate crimes committed against members of the Asian-American Pacific Islander community. This also confirms what we have seen and heard through our work and from our partners,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement on the report. 

“Preventing and responding to hate crimes and hate incidents is one of the Justice Department’s highest priorities. The FBI Hate Crime Statistics for 2020 demonstrates the urgent need for a comprehensive response,” Garland added. 

During the presidency of Donald Trump hate crimes rose. With a President who has mainstreamed the rhetoric of White nationalists, the groups have become more emboldened. Trump’s policies on immigration gave preference to certain countries as Trump spoke of “building a wall” at the Mexican border. 

During the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, which included the participation of members of The Proud Boys and The Oath Keepers, several Black members of the U.S. Capitol Police reported racist slurs being hurled at them during the attack. 

The FBI’s report on August 30 is one of several that has focused on rising hate crimes in the U.S. 

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke