Two Sides of the Same Coin

Increase of hate crimes due to results of Brexit and U.S. elections

by Daniel Henry, correspondent


In order to show solidarity with minority groups in the U.S., people in Europe have begun wearing safety pins as a symbol of their support (USA Today). Photo by Caleb Wotring/freelance

In order to show solidarity with minority groups in the U.S., people in Europe have begun wearing safety pins as a symbol of their support (USA Today).
Photo by Caleb Wotring/freelance

In the weeks after the Brexit vote, the U.K. saw a significant spike in hate crimes. There was a 46 percent increase in violence the week after the referendum. It then dipped down to 27 percent and gradually increased until it peaked at a 57 percent increase five weeks after the vote . And these are only the reported hate crimes.

It’s suspected that more hate crimes were committed and not reported due to fear. Even after the spike, when things had settled down to a new average of about 15 percent, this was 15 percent more hate crimes than the previous year. People of religious and ethnic minorities continued to live in fear, especially after the murder of a Polish man, Arkadiusz Joz  two months after the referendum.

Before Jozwik’s death, a Sri Lankan man reported being subject to racial abuse for 12 years. He says he made several complaints to police, but they refused to do anything and even refused to accept video evidence.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination wrote in a report, “Many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn

As of Monday, Nov. 14, the Southern Poverty Law Center had recorded over 300  .

Joshua Jones, a sophomore in the pastoral studies major said, “It is like people now see me and they think they can do what they want. They see me and they don’t see the same level of significance that they see in other people.”

Jones said that he feels safe from violence at Moody but is concerned for family members living elsewhere. Much like the U.N. committee after Brexit, Jones holds politicians responsible. “It is a product of what he (Trump) created and you can’t ignore that,” he said. “There no coincidence that since he has been elected there’s been a spike in hate crime. There’s no way around that.”

Orlando Blanco, a junior youth ministry major, said, “It’s a real fear that I’m facing. .” He said he is frustrated that as hate crimes are being reported and investigated some people are choosing to label the laments of their minority brothers and sisters in Christ as whining.

“We are in a state of mourning,” he said. “One question to ask ourselves is, ‘How do you deal with someone that is in a funeral?’ The reason I ask that is because we feel like we are going to a daily funeral. The most important thing is to hear us out and be there for the hard journey instead of trying to use Christian sayings and silence us by not hearing us out.”

After the Brexit, the Racial Justice Network in the U.K. released the video “Five Ways to Disrupt Racism.” The first way is to avoid becoming a bystander, by standing beside victims or talking to victims once verbal attacks or threats have begun. Secondly, report the incident. Don’t assume someone else will; that’s part of how bigots get away with it. Third, be available to the victim after the attack when the shock and adrenaline wear off and their emotions hit them. Fourth, confront racist opinions when you see them on social media, in entertainment or in the news. Finally, be an ally by joining anti-racist campaigns, opposing racist and racialized structures and promoting racial justice.

For people willing to take those steps, another thing that came out of Brexit was the safety pin. People all over the U.K. started pinning safety pins to their clothes to assure their neighbors who were visibly different due to race, ethnicity or religious garb, that they were not only a safe person but an ally.

Another idea is to safety pin an MLK quote or a verse like Psalm 146:9 to your clothes. Christine John, senior pre-counseling major, suggested verses like “Colossians 3:14, John 17:23, and 1 John 4:12. It reminds believers the important command God has given us to demonstrate his love and stand together in unity,” she said. “It appeals to unbelievers because the verses display the power of love, something all humans need and value.”

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