Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres spoke at a commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Concerned about the current state of affairs, he voiced them while recounting this dreadful past. Already in 1933, he said, “the alarm bells were ringing,” but “too few bothered to listen,” and even fewer “spoke out.” Antisemitism, hate speech, and disinformation, he warned, are perennial problems. Guterres went on to say that there is a “surging” of white supremacist and Neo-Nazi ideologies, a rise in antisemitism and other forms of religious bigotry and hatred, and a general disregard for human rights and the rule of law. The world needs to be wary of the “siren songs of hate.”
This date is significant because it commemorates the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration and Extermination Camp by Soviet troops. Despite the passing of nearly a century since that tragic event, hatred and prejudice have taken on new forms and continue to pose a threat to global stability. It’s not long before the ground freezes over into solid ice when hoarfrost is present. A more severe repercussion will be felt by human society if hate speech is allowed to grow and spread.
A lot of people automatically associate the United States with this topic. One could say that Guterres is sounding the alarm primarily for the United States capital. This is not due to anti-American sentiment but rather to a general familiarity with the country and its culture. President Joe Biden, speaking at a Lunar New Year reception in the White House on the same day as Guterres’ address, acknowledged the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in response to two recent mass shootings in the Asian American community, saying that the community has experienced “profound hate, pain, violence, and loss.” Biden blamed the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes on inflammatory rhetoric related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can easily form two initial impressions. To begin, the United States has emerged as the world leader in hate speech and ideology. Second, the main target of hatred in the United States has shifted from Jews to Asians, which is linked to the various iterations of the “China threat theory.” There were nearly 12,000 violent incidents targeting Asians in the United States between March 2020 and March 2022, and hate crimes targeting Asians increased by 177% in 2022, according to data. These numbers should shock you.
The position of the Biden administration toward hate crimes is relatively straightforward. Actions taken against hate crimes, however, are neither strong nor effective enough to be considered even mediocre. Hate speech and hate crimes have not only continued to gain steam, but have accelerated. Explain why that is the case. One reason is simple inertia, but the fundamental reason is that the political elites in Washington are mired in a massive misunderstanding of the issue at hand. The measures taken to combat hate crimes, as well as the crackdown on hate speech and hate crimes, are woefully inadequate.
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Despite acknowledging the facts, Biden did not pause for further reflection, instead praising the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act passed by the current administration. The already limited representation of American society was further diluted when mainstream media in the United States interpreted Biden’s speech as if it were about the increasing number of Asian voters. There is a chronic societal illness in the United States manifested by racism, hate speech, and gun crime. This issue has not been resolved and has likely grown worse due in large part to the ambivalent stance taken by elites in Washington.
Furthermore, how is it possible to lessen hatred and conspiracy theories against Asians or Chinese when being tough on China has become a bipartisan consensus and overstating the “China threat theory” is a universal tool to attract votes? Washington has made a number of outwardly reassuring gestures toward Asians, but beneath the surface, it is committed to cultivating an environment conducive to the growth of bigotry and continues to water and fertilise it. Can we anticipate anything besides the thorns of evil to sprout from this ground?
To reduce the phenomenon of hate crimes in the United States, political demagogues in Washington must be restrained from continuing their words and deeds unchecked. If the United States does not end hate attacks abroad, it will not end hate attacks at home. Even now, US authorities spread lies about China in an attempt to damage its international standing. Now, taking a stand against China is seen as politically correct in Washington. Across the United States, a massive wave of hostility is gathering force. After it explodes, it won’t be possible to direct it like a guided missile. Americans should be aware of the destructive potential of hurricanes because they strike the United States more frequently than any other region.