The American Experience is a false historical concept that holds out the promise that America is the “land of opportunity” where people are allowed to compete equally for success, live in peace and harmony with each other, and worship their religious faith of choice.


Nothing could be farther from the truth. 


Hate, unfortunately, is rooted in the very DNA of the American Experience—hatred based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and physical disabilities. It promotes societal distrust, delivers cultural separation, and incentivizes violent political divisions.


It’s not un-American to make this assertion. It simply states a legal, social, and political fact. Today, the federal government has the following statutes that penalize and punish hate and its violence in varying degrees: the Civil Rights Act of 1968; the Violence Against Women Act of 1994; the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Control Act of 1994; the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996; the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Control Act of 2009; and the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act of 2022


In addition to these federal statutes, 47 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of hate crime laws. The only three states that have not done so are South Carolina (the originator of the Civil War), Arkansas, and Wyoming.


But these hate crime laws have done little—some have done nothing—to prevent violent hate crime attacks in America. 


This reality was evidenced by a recent report from the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (“CAIR”), which found that anti-Muslim bias crimes surged in America in 2023 at a dramatic rate not seen in this country over the past 30 years. CAIR received 8,061 complaints about anti-Muslim bias incidents last year—half of which were received in the three months following the Israel-Gaza war, which began on October 7, 2023. The following are the categories of the complaints received by CAIR:


  • Immigration and asylum, 20 percent;
  • Employment discrimination, 15 percent;
  • Education discrimination, 8.5 percent; and
  • Hate crimes and incidents, 7.5 percent.


The CAIR report said the sharp decline of anti-Muslim bias incidents from 2021 to 2022 provided a glimmer of hope that the American Muslim community had moved beyond the Muslim hate pandemic triggered by the administration of former President Donald Trump between 2015 and 2020. The report said that hope was dashed by the resurgence of anti-Muslim bias in 2023.


The Israeli war on Gaza has unleashed an avalanche of both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic hate incidents across America. This war has claimed the lives of more than 32,000 Palestinians (mostly children and women) and at least 1200 people in Israel.


This is a conflict of immeasurable hate that has spilled across the waters onto the shores of America. Its hate fueled a 71-year-old deranged Chicago landlord, and Air Force veteran, to stab Wadea Al-Fayoume, a six-year-old Palestinian boy, to death and severely wound his mother while yelling, “you Muslims must die”—just weeks after the war started.  


This racial and religious hate is not a new phenomenon in America. 


Hundreds of U.S. troops in December of 1890 surrounded Lakota Native Americans at the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota, near the Wounded Knee Creek, and machine-gunned 350 of them, mostly women and children, to death. And slightly more than 30 years later, in June 1921, thousands of white citizens in Tulsa, Oklahoma, descended on a thriving African American community consumed with racial hatred and killed anywhere from 100 to 300 Black people.


Since 2012, America has experienced nine racially and religiously motivated mass shootings in America that claimed at least 80 lives. These mass shootings, and thousands of other individual shootings, are clear evidence that the Wounded Knee and Tulsa massacres were not anomalies. All these shootings were fueled and driven by hate. 


The Center for Public Integrity reported in 2018 that millions of people in America are the victims of hate crimes, though many never report them. That same year, The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Cas Mudde titled “Hate Crimes Are As American As Apple Pie.”


Hate is endemic in this country. 


Hate is so prevalent in America that civil rights attorney Arjun Singh Sethi wrote a book, “American Hate: Survivors Speak Out,” to give the survivors of hate crimes a platform in which to describe their experiences. And these survivors are in every corner of our society, and the hate that attacked them now infects virtually every component of our criminal justice system.