LOS ANGELES — Skyrocketing hate crimes reported across LA County have some leaders concerned about the state of our city as we enter a new year.
There are several agencies that keep track of hate crimes with slightly different parameters, however LA County’s Commission on Human Relations shows 786 reported hate crimes in 2021. It’s a staggering record of hatred against Asian residents, the Jewish and LGBTQIA+ community, and especially African Americans.
As the first Black woman in LA to host her own commercial AM talk radio show, Dominique DiPrima has been hearing from the African American community almost every day for over two decades.
“I am not surprised, but quite disturbed to hear that there has been a 23% increase in hate crimes between 2020 and 2021,” DiPrima said on her KBLA 1580 talk show.
She discusses everything from gender roles to race, but her primary focus for this hour was the staggering statistics about hate in Los Angeles.
A report just released by the LA County Commission shows in 2021, reported hate crimes in LA County rose to the highest level in 19 years.
Specifically, Black residents were the target for 46% of racially based hate crimes, despite making up only 9% of the population.
This doesn’t surprise DiPrima. She says she’s faced racism since she was 7 years old, harassed and even called the N-word while growing up in a small, predominately white neighborhood.
“Anti-Blackness is the tip of the sphere. It’s almost like we’ve normalized hate against Black people. It’s the default,” she said.
It’s why she’s speaking out against Black hate every chance she gets, showing this panel discussion on the topic hosted by the LA Civil Rights Department several months ago.
Executive Director Capri Maddox says it’s part of the city’s ongoing LA for All campaign, launched to combat the skyrocketing Anti-Asian hate seen post pandemic.
“I would’ve never thought that this would be something that the city would have to spend so much effort fighting, however we are where we are,” Maddox explained.
In terms of anti-Black hate, Maddox shares a similar concern that hostility against this demographic has been normalized after centuries of discrimination dating back to slavery, Jim Crow laws and redlining.
“The FBI has been tracking hate crimes for 30 years and the consistent number one population of victims are African Americans,” she added.
The numbers are reflective across the country, says Professor Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino.
He said it’s time to put the guard rails back on our discourse.
“What we have seen is when invective goes up online, we see it go up on the streets in the form of violence time and time again,” Levin explained.
It’s a narrative that DiPrima says must change.
“The data shows that we are the victims, so why are we not being given the consideration, the resources and the empathy that victims deserve?” she wondered aloud.
A question that she hopes we as a society find an answer to for anyone in these shoes.