By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
The age of Trump has ushered in a wave of vitriol in the American political discourse, perhaps unprecedented in the country’s history. And accompanying the nation’s increasingly poisonous political air is a burgeoning wave of intolerance and a rise in hate crimes.
A new report published by the Baltimore Sun indicates Maryland has not been insulated from the rise in hate rippling across America. In fact, hate crimes in Maryland have outpaced the rest of the country.
According to the Sun article, Maryland law enforcement agencies received 398 reports of hate or bias in 2017, an increase of 35 percent from 2016. The increase in Maryland is significantly more than the national rise in reported hate crimes from 2015 to 2016. According to the FBI, hate crimes rose to 6,121 in 2016, an increase of five percent from 2015. The Sun report also indicates hate crimes reported to law enforcement in the 10 largest U.S. cities rose 13 percent in 2017, according to researchers at California State University, San Bernardino.
Perhaps, the two most high profile incidents of hate emanating from Maryland in 2017 captured national headlines.
In Oct. 2017, Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, a Black student from Bowie State University, one of Maryland’s HBCU’s, was stabbed to death by Sean Urbanski, a White student from the University of Maryland, near the College Park campus. Urbanski was a member of a racist Facebook group.
In March 2017, James Harris Jackson, a 28-year-old White man seemingly so filled with hate and fear of Black men specifically, traveled from Baltimore to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City and stabbed Timothy Caughman, 66, to death with a sword. According to police, Jackson, a graduate of the Friends School in Baltimore, killed Caughman for “practice prior to going to Times Square to kill additional Black men.”