Amongst the vitriol of the 2016 presidential campaign cycle, perhaps the most important headlines were those focusing on rising bigotry in the country in the best case scenario and downright hate in the worst. Since last November, the United States has been learning how to deal with white supremacist rallies and hate speech. And if you're wondering whether that rhetoric has had real consequences, the answer is yes.
The U.S. saw a significant increase in hate motivated offenses in 2016, according to the FBI.
More than 6,100 incidences in 2016 fell under the definition of hate crimes — a 5 percent increase from the 5,800 reported attacks the year before.
The official definition of a hate crime is “a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias,” according to the FBI website.
More than half of the incidences were motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry bias. Almost a quarter of the attacks were due to religious bias, while about 17 percent were targeted at the LGBT community. The rest were motivated by other factors, including gender identity, disability or gender bias.
White people committed 46.3 percent of hate crimes, while blacks committed 26.1 percent.
Jews were targeted in 55 percent of the religious attacks, while Muslims were the victims in 25 percent of them.
In May, former FBI director James Comey said that “hate crime is different from other crime. They strike at the heart of one’s identity — they strike at our sense of self, our sense of belonging. The end result is loss — loss of trust, loss of dignity, and in the worst case, loss of life.”