Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

Hate Toward Black People Rising?

Recent incidents in Wisconsin raise troubling questions.

By - Jul 26th, 2023 12:39 pm
Black Lives Matter sign held by marchers crossing Locust Street bridge. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Black Lives Matter sign held by marchers crossing Locust Street bridge. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Last week WTMJ reporter Taylor Lumpkin was “left humiliated” after reporting on the Country Thunder concert in Twin Lakes in southeastern Wisconsin. Lumpkin tweeted that “a guy ran up and yelled at me (unprovoked), and called me a N***** twice. No one helped. Everyone stared at me, and laughed.”

“Do better people,” the tweet said, the most sadly modest of requests.

Lumpkin declined to comment to reporter Piet Levy, but his story on the incident offered a statement from Joe Poss, vice president and general manager for TMJ4, who said. “We are appalled that one of our reporters was subjected to a racial slur while producing a news story… What happened to Taylor Lumpkin at a music festival should not happen to anyone, anywhere. It is painful and heartbreaking.”

Lumpkin, who grew up in New Jersey and had previously worked for a TV station in Salisbury, Maryland, started with Milwaukee’s Channel 4 in 2000, declaring that she was “extremely humbled to be here in Milwaukee to tell the stories” of its people. What a fine welcome she got from Wisconsin last week.

That same day a 45-year-old West Allis man was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for making racist threats and harassing his Black neighbors. William McDonald, 45, slashed the tires and broke the windshield of a Black woman’s vehicle parked outside her apartment and left a note using the N word and threatening to slash her throat and demanding she move out of West Allis.

He also left notes with racial slurs threatening other residents of color in the neighborhood and demanding they “go back to the North Side.” The full run-down of all his ugly threats was reported by Isiah Holmes for the Wisconsin Examiner.

Just a few months before this, Beloit Memorial basketball players at a game at Muskego High School found “drawings of swastikas, the ‘N’ word and the word monkey in the dust on the top of the lockers they used,” as Fox 6 reported. “Parents recorded videos of Muskego students wearing black face masks and tank tops – outfits they say depict black people in a racist light. The students wore black ski masks, black tank tops, and pajama pants.”

The Muskego-Norway School District later investigated and issued an apology and announced some policy changes for future games.

All of which are the sort of incidents you might have expected back in the 1960s or 1970s, perhaps, but in the 21st century? Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, it seems increasingly as though racist language and threats toward African Americans are getting normalized.

Actually, FBI data showed an 11% increase of hate crimes against all groups, including whites, in 2021, the most recent year measured, with crimes against Asian people skyrocketing by 187%. By contrast hate crimes against Black people rose by 14%.

But by far the largest number of crimes, nearly one third of the total, was against Blacks, versus 746 crimes against Asians.

In 2020, nearly 35% of all hate crimes were against Blacks, and the number of incidents involving Black Americans rose from 1,930 in 2019 to 2,871 in 2020 to 3,277 in 2021.

Prior to that, during the 5-year period of 2015–19, nearly half (49%) of all hate crimes involved anti-African American bias, the FBI data showed.

In short, hate crimes against Black people have been a continuing problem, but have gotten worse, even as crimes against other groups, especially Asians have risen. But Black people remain the most targeted.

That trend was documented by Brian Levin, a criminologist at California State University San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. In 2021, Levin and his research team analyzed hate crimes reported to police in the nation’s 10 largest cities, and found a nearly 55% collective increase compared to the previous year, as Time reported. And the biggest category was anti-Black hate crimes.

In the first six weeks of 2022, 57 historically Black colleges and universities and houses of worship were targeted by bomb threats, according to the FBI.

Jeannine Bell, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and an expert on hate crimes, attributed the recent rise in anti-Black hate crimes in part to a backlash against the Black Lives Matter protests. “Black victimization was in the news,” she told the New York Times. “And if it’s anything that angers white supremacists, it’s seeing African Americans being seen sympathetically.”

There have always been white supremacists in the U.S., but as recently as 10 years ago, politicians from both parties condemned this. “The gravitational pull of white supremacy in America is not new,” journalist and commentator Erin Aubry Kaplan has written. “What is new is that in 2022, under the increasingly thin guise of conservatism — and greatly aided by the internet, social media and big media like Fox News — the culture of white supremacy has gone fully, almost gleefully mainstream… In one of the most indelible moments captured on video during the Capitol riots, white rioters surrounded and screamed “fucking n—–r” at a Black cop.”

The recent incidents in Wisconsin are part of that mentality, which is nationalizing the divide between political parties and ideologies and normalizing racial hate. These incidents are less about “segregated” Milwaukee or Wisconsin and more about a national rise in hatred. It’s about the America of today, and it’s truly ugly.

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Categories: Murphy's Law, Politics

4 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: Hate Toward Black People Rising?”

  1. Colin says:

    The right has been emboldened by Trump, GQP, and everything that supports all that.

  2. mkeumkenews09 says:

    Why were these people not kicked out of the event?

    Do Country Thunder and Twin Lakes support this blatant display of racism?

  3. lobk says:

    In reply to the second question asked above: Yes, apparently they do. 🥺

  4. kenyatta2009 says:

    fight back against racist attacks

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