Well one of the claims heard often this year is that there has been a big increase in hate crimes, the "most ever" according to some. Some claim this is because of the evil President Trump's malign influence, like the shadow of Mordor over America.
There's a bit of a problem with this. First off, the report being cited (from the FBI) is for the calendar year 2017. So its not about 2018 (after all, its still 2018, how could the FBI put out a full report yet?). Also, the reporting is highly subjective, as is the entire category as they require trying to determine the motivations and internal intent of perpetrators. Given that the FBI so diligently tries to avoid assigning any motive whatsoever to any terrorist attack, this seems inconsistent.
The FBI also ignores some crimes (usually crimes which would be considered 'hate' if the victim were not white), and reports others which end up being false. Further, there are more systems in place to collect claims than before, such as Minnesota's infamous hotline and social media, which may be causing more reports than in the past when the incidents are not more common.
And of course, there's the Anti Defamation League's report that antisemitic crimes are higher than ever this year, which as Eugene Volokh notes is problematic at best. Trump opponents want to claim its his supporters and rhetoric are to blame, but ignore Muslim hate toward Jews which has been increasing each year in America.
In any case, here's the annual rundown. There are fewer fake events this year, as it seems to go in cycles depending on the mood of the country. 2016 was a low point, with a huge number particularly right after the election. Most of the fakes were clustered at the end of the year (which seems to be a regular pattern based on previous years).
- January: An 11 year old girl in Toronto is attacked for wearing a Hijab, the claim went. Police find that nothing of the sort happened.
- April: A 13 year old girl claims a knife-wielding man called her a terrorist and threatened her because of her hijab. The event was reported to the police, but an investigation reveals that she'd made the whole thing up.
- July: A viral story erupted about a racist note left for a waitress in Texas. With further investigation, its found that the whole thing was invented.
- August: a woman says that another woman will not leave her doorway and calls the police. Social media pounced on "Doorway Debbie" and her cruel white girl behavior toward a black woman. Except both were Hispanic, and the woman who called the police has autism and panicked because the larger woman would not go.
- September: A woman claims she was assaulted by a group of teenagers who shouted "Trump 2016" and claimed that she didn't belong there. She also claimed that after she parked her car in front of her house, she woke up the next day to find slashed tires and a note that read, "Go Home." Police investigation discovered that none of this actually had taken place.
- September: Students living at an apartment complex at Kansas State University find a racist note attached a door. Police investigate and find out that a student posted it on their own door. Students held a "unity rally" anyway.
- October: A college student receives death threats regarding her lesbianism, repeated notes found in her desk and elsewhere. When investigated, it is discovered that she wrote the notes herself.
- November: Man shouts "Heil Hitler" repeatedly during a Fiddler on the Roof performance. Social media immediately insists this is clearly a Trump Supporting White Nationalist. He's arrested and banned from the theater, and the ACLU immediately insists "more should be done." The man is later discovered to be a leftist who hates Trump.
- November: A man in Antioch California is arrested for painting swastikas, racial slurs, and ethnic attacks on cars, businesses, and city hall. He's black.
- November: Nooses hung around a Mississippi town are viewed as a threat against black voters, spawning outrage on social media and news sites. Upon the slightest examination, signs clearly visible on the nooses show that they are meant to be a statement about racism by a left wing activist, claiming nothing has changed in the state.
- November: Swastikas, the letters "KKK," Racial slurs and other graffiti were found on Groucher College campus in Maryland. They particular targeted hispanics and blacks. An investigation determines that a black student targeted himself and friends with the graffiti. College administrators still claim its part of a bigger racist problem on campus.
- November: Drake University students receives racist notes on campus. Of the five, four are determined to be copycats sent by a leftist student trying to make things look worse, described by college officials and police as a "hoax."
- The Daily Mail collected a list of hate crime claims that the Metropolitan Police ("Scotland Yard") finally released from 2015 and 2016 and it contains gems like a racist dog, a man who said he's voting for "Brexit" and a dispute over a line judgement in a tennis game.
- And as an honorable mention, a study of UK colleges claims that a full third of Muslim college students report abuse while studying on campus. Upon closer examination, however, the study reveals only that "A third of the respondents said they were “fairly or very worried” about experiencing verbal abuse, physical attacks, vandalism, property damage or theft at their place of study, relating to their religion or belief." So no actual attacks, just some personal worries.
Lets hope there are even fewer next year, but I'm not optimistic.
This is part of the Faux Hate series, an ongoing feature at Word Around the Net for 8 years.