What We Don’t Get About the Far Right | Brennan Center for Justice – The truth is we don’t know the full extent of the racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and homophobic far-right violence in the U.S. because the government’s hate crime statistics are based upon voluntary information. In 2017, of the 16,149 police departments that participate in hate crime reporting, only 2,040 reported hate crimes.
Even without that data, there are indications of the problem’s scope. Justice Department victim surveys conducted between 2004-15 estimated there were approximately 250,000 hate crimes in the US each year. And yet the Justice Department prosecuted only 27 hate crimes defendants in 2016. The Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute, published a report last month documenting the multitude of criminal statutes the Justice Department has available to investigate and prosecute far-right terrorism but too often chooses not to as a matter of policy and practice.
Treating far-right violence as a purely domestic issue deprioritizes these crimes on the national security agenda. It also ignores the international reach of militant white supremacist groups and obscures the greater threat posed when governments become enthralled with exclusionary nationalism, which mobilizes popular support by stigmatizing groups of “others” — often identified by race, religion, or ethnicity — as national enemies.