Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hate Crime Spike in LA Mirrors National Trend

It's been a hot summer in Los Angeles and not just because of the fires.

The mainstream media isn't really devoting a whole lot of coverage to the recent rise in Latino-African-American tensions in the Los Angeles, CA area. Probably because a lot of the victims and perpetrators are minority gang members, but also because it seems as if there is this sense that the growing violence between Latinos and blacks isn't related to a larger national trend of increased hate crimes.

A lot of the problems in LA specifically, including physical assaults, vandalism and shootings stem from the large increase of Latino immigrants, legal or otherwise, into the LA County region in recent years. Black residents who have lived in economically-challenged areas of LA, like Compton and Watts for years are now seeing enormous spikes in Latino populations in areas that were once largely African-American.

LA Times writer Teresa Watanabe is writing about it.
She penned a recent article about some of the statistics contained in the LA County Human Relation Commission's annual report showing a disturbing 28% rise in hate crimes in the City of Angels.

The statistics highlight some alarming trends. Of the 763 crimes that were reported, 50% of them were committed against African-Americans. Also disturbing is the fact that there is a growing diversity in the hate crimes being committed.

The city of Los Angeles is one of the most diverse communities in the nation. For years ethnic tensions between the various cultures who live there have made headlines in the national and global media.

Watanabe's LA Times article quoted a Cal State San Bernardino's official as saying:
"What we're seeing is the democratization of hate crimes," said Brian Levin, who directs the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. "We're not only seeing a diversification of victims but also increased diversification of offenders."

In the 60's the world watched as many of the nation's urban communities, including LA, erupted in violence in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Why aren't they watching the smaller scale violence that's happening right now?

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