Critical Commentary: Hate Crime Causes by Ignorance

Posted on October 8, 2013 by


According to Huff Post news, Prabhjot Singh, a Columbia University professor was attacked in a possible hate crime by a group of 20 young men on his way home.  He was knocked down and punched many times on his face which caused him to get facial surgery. Apparently they believed he was a Muslim because of his beard and turban.Those unknown attackers surrounded him, grabbed his beard, hit his chin and shouted anti-Muslim statements: ‘Get him!,’  ‘Osama’ and ‘terrorist.’ “The government must begin tracking and counting anti-Sikh hate crimes, just as it must continue to vigorously combat bias and discrimination against all Americans, including Muslims,” Singh wrote in the New York Times last year about the importance of gathering more information on hate crimes against Sikhs. Ironically, professor Singh may now be among the first to be included in the specific Sikh hate crime.

Hate crimes have been going on in the world for a long time. What makes someone hate someone else enough to kill or harm another human being? Hate crimes are criminal actions intended to harm or intimidate people because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or other minority group status. They are also referred to as bias crimes.

When I first read the title, there are two things come to my mind. First, he is a professor in an Ivy-league university, a medical doctor. It is saddened by the fact that this man, who earned and achieved a lot through his positivity and intelligence, received this kind of treatment. The second thing is it is labeled as “possible” hate crime instead of “definite” hate crime.  The media affects our opinions because they word things in a negative or positive light or use really neutral wording depending on what they want you to think. Anything in the news will have a tone or something that will affect your opinion.The media obviously knows a hate crime is when a victim was intentionally selected because of the race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. If someone shouts something derogatory about a person’s skin color, or religious clothing, and then assaults that person without robbery, it would almost have to be a hate crime.

If you think about it, all crime has a basis in hate. This particular crime has the added elements of ignorance in that the assailants mistook Dr. Prabhjot Singh’s attire as Muslim. How embarrassing that some people display such ignorance and intolerance toward people different from them. The ignorance of the anti-Muslim crowd is exposed in their constant confusion with Sikhs and Muslims who dress quite differently. It is also exposed by the very fact that they are anti-Muslim: treating every Muslim in the world as an enemy. Apparently it takes a lot of non-Muslims being attacked and killed for Americans to identify this disease of xenophobia and hatred that has infested its society since 9/11. What makes it even worse is that some people will look at this incident and think that, if they attacked a Muslim instead of Sikh, that would have been more justifiable. This is an outrage, both for the ignorance of the world’s religions and for the idea that attacking any person for being a member of any faith is justified. My other thought is how come those assailants never attack the real Muslims and always pick on poor Sikh people all the time. They probably do this on purpose. They know exactly who is who. They just don’t want to challenge the real Muslims in America and take all their anger and frustration on the innocent Sikh community who they are not afraid of. Besides, the Muslims that are a real threat usually are clean-shaven and wearing Western attire. We need the FBI to concentrate more on domestic terrorism by US Hate Groups and less attention on external threats.

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Prabhjot Singh, Sikh Columbia Professor, Attacked In Possible Hate Crime, The Huffington Post, 09/22/2013

Posted in: Uncategorized