Hate crimes

Is the Murder of Indian Americans by Xenophobes Getting Enough Attention?

Yes and no


Three Indian Americans have been killed in the US in the last few weeks sending shock waves in the Indian press that is blaming Trump's belligerent anti-immigration rhetoric.

Immigrant Rally
JC Olivera via Foter

Stunningly, there are even calls that the Indian government issue a travel advisory to those thinking of coming to the United States. Meanwhile, in America, the murders have elicited barely a peep.

At first blush, the American media response seems rational, I note in my morning column at The Week. Hate crime stats are notoriously unreliable and, even at close quarters, three murders, one of which may not even be a hate crime, may not a newsworthy pattern make.

But even if it turns out that these numbers have gone up significantly since President Trump's election, it would still likely be the case that Indian Americans (and other minorities), on the whole, are less likely to be targeted by a fellow American than, say, Muslims are by fellow Indians in majority-Hindu India. And Muslims in India are less likely to be targeted than Hindus in majority-Muslim Pakistan.

So why all the fuss?

Because communities don't form their threat perceptions based on stats and data. If they did, Islamic terrorism would not get nearly as big play as it does in the American press given that the odds of any American actually being killed in a terrorist attack are lower than him/her getting struck by lightning.

And Indian Americans, along with anyone who might remotely look like a Muslim, face a triple whammy in this country.

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