The rise of racially motivated shootings and violence


The United States has seen a rise in racially targeted shootings.

Adina Saks and Dara Fisher

Killing 10 people and injuring three, the racially motivated slaughter in Buffalo, NY was one of the deadliest mass shootings this year. With the perpetrator being a known white supremacist, the Buffalo shooting is only one example of the recent increase in racially targeted violence.  

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, the FBI reported last year that hate crimes in the U.S. had risen to the highest level in 12 years, with a total of 56% of race-based hate crimes being motivated by anti-Black bias. 

Being that individual hate crimes have spiked since 2019, Black Americans are the most targeted racial group in the U.S. by a large margin, as reported by CNBC. The rise in hate crimes and mass shootings has not only affected the Black community, but other minority groups as well.

Hate crimes towards Asian communities have increased over the course of the pandemic, having risen by 76% in 2020, according to ABC News, as well as there being countless reports of increased anti-Asian hate in 2021 and 2022. The 2021 Atlanta spa shooting took the lives of eight victims, six of which were of Asain descent, and a shooting as recent as May 11, 2022 wounded three people at a Korean-owned salon as potential hate crime (CNN).

The Jewish community has additionally seen an increase in hate crimes and mass shootings. According to PBS NewsHour, Antisemitic crimes hit a record high in 2021, with a 34% rise from 2020. Attacks on the Pittsburgh Synagogue, Poway Synagogue, and more in recent years have had Jewish communities on alert with the rise in antisemitic violence.

“It’s sad how desensitized I am to this situation,” said sophomore Molly Deming of Red Bank, commenting on how often the media reports mass shootings and hate crimes. 

The increase of racially motivated violence is closely associated with the increase of white supremacy, which was found to have reached an all-time high in 2020, according to USA Today. The Washington Post found that white supremacy groups commonly found on the internet directly cause real world violence. 

There has been limited legislation passed to address the increasing statistics of targeted hate crimes. The Department of Justice enforces federal hate crime laws, and the FBI continuously works on ways to help prevent and respond to active shooters, yet minority groups continue to suffer from violence.

“The shootings and hate crimes are obviously very prevalent issues, and there will probably be periods where a lot is said and a lot is done, but then it will be blown off once again,” Deming said.