By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
A new report released yesterday has found a dramatic rise of hate violence and xenophobic rhetoric against South Asian Americans.
The report from South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) found 215 incidents in the one year period ending November 15, 2016. The group says that’s a 34 percent increase over an entire three year period from 2011 – 2014 which was documented in its report Under Suspicion, Under Attack.
The report Power, Pain and Potential points a finger at the rhetoric of President-elect Donald Trump for the increase in violence.
“The unprecedented violence we saw following the September 11 attacks has returned, electrified by a hostile 2016 presidential election,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “With over 4.3 million South Asians in the US, policymakers must make it a first priority to address and dismantle the paradox of our communities living at the intersection of growth and hate.”
It also comes one day after the farewell speech by President Barack Obama who declared “I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are.”
SAALT’s report says much of the violence reported has come in the South.
“Notably, 30% of South Asians in the United States reside in the South, an increase from half a million to over one million since 2000. Our communities’ population growth, particularly in the South, has been met with a rise in xenophobic political rhetoric and hate violence in this region. The number of hate violence incidents we documented in this report compared to our 2014 report show that the largest spike in hate violence incidents against our communities occurred in the South.”
In 2014, SAALT found over a three year period 20 incidents of hate violence in the south. During a one year period in the latest report, that number increased to 43 incidents.
The 2016 presidential election only reinforced the continued challenges the United States is grappling with around race and racism directed at communities of color. Freedom, equality, and liberty, however, are not abstractions. They are the irreducible ideals on which America was founded, and these promises, as always, are the only solution to repair the divided State of America.