Rantz: Despite fearmongering, no rash of coronavirus hate crimes in Seattle
Some Seattle-area activists seem weirdly hopeful that there will be a rash of coronavirus related hate crimes. This would feed into their narrative that the city and nation is racist. No doubt, they’ll blame President Donald Trump because, to be a progressive activist or social justice warrior, you must hate the man.
Luckily, data doesn’t back their narrative or hopes: There’s been no significant rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in Seattle. Indeed, internal Seattle Police Department data shows there wasn’t much of a response to the Police Chief’s widely-panned PSA encouraging people call 9-1-1 to report “racist name calling.”
While this news should be celebrated, since no one should want a hate crime to occur, activist columnists and community members continue to push fear-mongering.
Hoping for coronavirus hate crimes?
When the pandemic began, a bevy of hot takes were printed locally and nationally about the fears that Americans would target Asians, blaming them for the coronavirus. Leaning heavily on third-hand anecdotes and fears of what could conceivably happen, some would have you believe the hate started quickly and ferociously.
At the Tacoma News Tribune, woke white dude/columnist Matt Driscoll proudly highlighted the plight of Asian-Americans who could become victims of coronavirus-related hate. He wanted to tell their story of despair. Only, the story was (thankfully) missing something: an actual crime.
“Overall, [Tacoma Human Rights Commission Nick] Bayard noted there have been ‘no reports of hate crimes within Tacoma,’ describing what he’s heard as ‘general concerns.'”
One of the concerns Driscoll highlighted was a business “posting information about the ‘Chinese virus’ in a work setting,” which isn’t a hate crime (or illegal). In fact, it’s accurate: The virus started in China and the communist regime, trying to cover it up, is responsible for the death and illness of hundreds of thousands of people.
The only basis for the concern that we’ll have a rash of hate crimes? Driscoll’s worldview.
Downplay coronavirus to virtue signal
At the Seattle Times, social justice columnist Naomi Ishisaka jumped on so-called “yellow peril” scares in early February. Around the same time Democratic lawmakers, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, were encouraging folks to head to their respective Chinatown neighborhoods to celebrate the Asian culture. This transparent virtue signaling cost people their lives.
Ishisaka downplayed concerns of the coronavirus, implying we should be more worried about the flu. Instead of being concerned with what would become a global pandemic, she urged us to not “let our fear drive us to create a new ‘yellow peril’ and perpetuate racist patterns of discrimination and scapegoating.”
Only, instead of focusing on the threat of the coronavirus, they focused on pushing a particular worldview: Americans are racist, this country hates people of color, and a handful of anecdotes make their point, darn it!
SPD data shows three crimes
Though activists will have you believe there’s a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the area, if they’re happening, they’re not being reported.
Between March 10 and May 1, the SPD sent me seven “Anti-Asian hate incidents which may be related to coronavirus.” But, of the seven, only three appear to be crimes, not all of them definitively tied to the coronavirus. Two on the list weren’t even anti-Asian in nature and, after I brought it to their attention, at least one was removed from the list.
One Asian man complained about juveniles shouting “coronavirus” from a house as he and his family walked by. According to SPD records, “The juveniles denied having shouted out the window at the complainant and his family.” Another incident saw a man “described as having white grocery bags tied around his neck and as possibly homeless” angrily telling an Asian woman, “It’s caused by you.” Neither of these are crimes, though certainly rude, racist, and potentially scary.
Two other cases aren’t related to coronavirus, nor Asian Americans.
In one case, a complainant reported three young men posting Patriot Front stickers throughout the neighborhood. Patriot Front is a racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist group. In another case, a complainant reported a man, possibly high, drawing swastikas and “Nazi take over” on two building windows. The complainant was Asian, so, out of an abundance of caution, this was listed as an anti-Asian hate incident. Neither are anti-Asian hate crimes. (After I noted to the SPD that this list, which was compiled to react to media inquires, was wrong, they removed the Nazi incident; it’s unclear what they did with the Patriot Front issue.)
The three remaining cases are crimes. Disgusting, racist crimes.
One Asian woman was assaulted by a man who screamed an obscenity at her and said “get out, China!” A second case had a man spitting at an Asian woman saying, “That’s what you get, get used to it.” In the third case, an “extremely intoxicated” homeless man was shouting slurs at Asian passersby while swinging his cane at them. He was arrested but not booked due to the county’s coronavirus policy of releasing most misdemeanor charges.
Every one of these incidents, crime or not, is disgusting. Luckily, however, this is not evidence of an alarming trend of hate crimes.
This news should be celebrated, not ignored for a greater agenda. If there’s ever an uptick in coronavirus hate crimes, count me as one of the people who will proudly and quickly speak up to condemn and help fight back. Until then, I’ll keep an eye out (as you should) without forwarding a dangerous agenda that will condition people to see hate when it doesn’t occur.
Playing into the worldview
There’s a large movement within the progressive wing of the Democratic party that believes racism that undoubtedly existed at our founding is still alive and well; no meaningful progress at all.
Most reasonable people will acknowledge racism (or any -ism) still exists. But it doesn’t permeate through every facet of American life the way some of these activists claim. The unreasonable folks think literally everything negative that happens is directly tied to an -ism, which they’ll happily point out.
But when they don’t have the data, they don’t change their tune. Of course you can’t see the racism, silly, it’s hidden in your unconscious bias. Here, I have a seminar you can take to teach you how to think the way we’d prefer you to think. Oh, you don’t think that language is racist? Well, it’s coded! Here’s a list of words we’d like you to stop using.
Some activists in and out of the media presumed anti-Asian crimes would occur with abandon. But rather than wait for data, they jumped to warn us against being the evil, racist people they believe we are. That way they can been seen as woke, compassionate leaders protecting vulnerable communities. They’re heroes! Ask them — they’ll gladly tell you.
And when they have no data, they frame non-existent crimes or incidents (which are are not crimes, but are purposefully conflated into being seen as one) because it forwards their worldview.
There’s undoubtedly been some cases of ignorant, anti-Asian hate crimes or incidents related to the coronavirus pandemic locally and nationally. Like I said, all sorts of -isms exist. And we should call it out when we see it.
But a handful of cases locally doesn’t mean there’s a trend locally. And rather than take the time to call them out when they happen, something that’s easy when so few incidents occur, activists create the impression that they’re already happening. It serves their worldview. (Though not when a conservative Asian man is targeted by Antifa.)
Meanwhile, we have actual data about a true rise in hate crimes toward Jews, but Progressives don’t talk much about it because we’re seen as influential white people (which, ironically, is a racist viewpoint). Indeed, they participate in it.
Holding on to data
Just as a side note: The SPD data I used was unusually hard to come by. Trying to get answers from SPD civilian employee Jonah Spangenthal-Lee was like pulling teeth; he’s not a fan of mine.
On April 14, I asked if there were any 9-1-1 calls regarding coronavirus hate crimes since Chief Carmen Best’s PSA. He told me “yes.” When asked how many, he said, “This would be a data question and thus something that takes more time to gather.”
It turns out, it was so complex to pull the data, he asked me to submit a public disclosure request. That would would have resulted in a response until at least 6/12/2020. I recently wrote a piece for Newsweek on how I think some public officials (or, perhaps, a low level SPD employee) is using the coronavirus to stall PDR requests.
This implication to me was the data of hate crimes was so large he couldn’t do the legwork to get me the info. Except clearly that’s not the reality. After working with the newly hired public information officer, the data came relatively quickly without having to go through the PDR.