"Hate Crimes against Latinos" are increasing at the same rate as "Hate Groups in America" are rising.
The FBI reports that since 2003 - "Hate Crimes against Latinos" increased by 41%. SPLC reports since 2000 - "Hate groups in the US" have increased by 48%. It is clear these hate groups are recruiting on the web. Their audience? Young people. Their target? Illegal Immigrants.
The recent hate crimes in Patchogue, NY and Shenandoah, PA provide specific examples of this. In Patchogue, Jeff Conroy, a swastika tattooed young jock and leader of his teenage gang, ritually conducted frequent “Beaner Jumpings.” Their rallying call, “Let´s go fxxx up some Mexicans!” Members of the group said they went "Beaner Jumping" at least weekly.
They sought their targets by going to Latino neighborhoods. They physically assaulted, robbed, harassed, insulted and abused their victims. The gang had no way of identifying their victims as illegal immigrants or Mexican, so instead, they selected their victims based on their assumptions of what an illegal immigrant looks like. The characteristics they chose: a brown person in a Latino neighborhood. Someone who spoke Spanish or with an accent. In Patchogue, one of the victims these teenagers attacked was Marcello Lucero, an immigrant from Ecuador. Conroy stabbed and murdered him.
Another example is the Shenandoah, PA case. In that case a gang of high school jocks attacked Luis Ramirez. As the drunken teenaged jocks punched and kicked him, witnesses said the teenagers shouted racial epitaths including, “You F´n Spic”, “Go Back to Mexico,” “Tell your Mexican Friends to get out of town.” Mr. Ramirez died in the hospital of fatal trauma to his head.
Patchogue, NY and Shenandoah, PA are less than 200 miles apart. If you study the Hate Group Map between the two cities, you see numerous National Socialist Movement (NSM-Neo Nazi) groups, Skinheads, KKK and White Nationalist groups dotted along the path between both cities. (click for larger view)
Also between the two locations is Hazelton, the home of Mayor Lou Barletta, the city that put, as Barletta said, "Illegal Immigrants on Notice." Barletta said he wanted to make Hazleton "the toughest place on illegal immigrants in America." In 2006 he passed the “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” one of the most restrictive laws in the nation. He declared English to be the citys official language and forbade employees to translate documents without official authorization. In 2007, a judge ruled the Act was unconstitutional.
Activitists from the restrictionist groups “Save our State” and “Voice of the People” conducted numerous demonstrations. Many demonstrators included members from Neo-Nazi, Skinhead and White Nationalist groups. Both SOS and VoP are affiliated with CAPS, the Minutemen, PA Pundits, Diggers Realm and other like-minded restrictionist groups and websites.
Beyond Hate Crimes are the Racial Profiling raids occurring across the country in locations where restrictionist laws were introduced. Examples include Maricopa County in Arizona and Tulsa, Oklahoma. State and Local law enforcement agencies in partnership with ICE through 287 (g) agreements have conducted numerous “Suppression Sweeps” in towns with large Latino populations which have resulted in Racial Profiling, not only for Latinos but anyone who “looks Latino” including Native Americans, Asians, Middle Easterners and Pacific Islanders. In Maricopa County, these suppression raids have caused all Brown people (and people with loved ones that are Brown) to live in fear, constantly carrying their Passport, Social Security Card and Birth Certificates along with their Driver´s License. If they are caught up in a suppression sweep, without these documents, they are likely to be incarcerated into a Detention Center until these documents are produced. This has caused Latino parents across Maricopa County to ensure their young children have these documents on their person at all times, along with a cell phone and numbers to call. Their children live in fear of being stopped by the police.
It is no wonder that Hate Crimes are rising. As the SPLC notes, “The growth of these groups is being helped by conspiracy theories and other racist propaganda about immigrants (legal or illegal) that is being spread by mainstream politicians and pundits.”
So the question becomes, what can every day Americans do to Stop the Hate?
First: We should acknowledge these Hate Crimes are occurring and the number of Hate groups are rising. As with any catastrophic change in our lives, the first reactions are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, but we finally must come to Acceptance. Once we do this, then we can start putting in place steps to Change.
Second: If we acknowledge these Hate Crimes are occurring, then what logically follows is, when these Hate Crimes occur, the perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If left unpunished, these crimes will continue to occur.
Third: Become informed. Be aware of the Hate Groups in your area. Be aware of Hate Crimes that occur across the nation.
Fourth: Talk to your family. Talk to your children. Let them know all Hate Crimes are wrong. Be aware the number of Hate Groups are increasing. Be aware these groups are targeting young people. Talk as a family so no one in your family is brainwashed into joining one of these groups.
Fifth: Communicate! Join a blog. Join a forum. Talk to your City Council. Share your thoughts and ideas on improving Race Relations in our country.
Finally, remember our President Elect, Barack Obama´s words:“Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now… the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – (are) a part of our union that we have yet to perfect.. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.”