by Leslie Layton
Seven submissions from the Chico area last year to the national Documenting Hate database, as well as interviews conducted by ChicoSol (see “Chico seems less friendly”), indicate that people of color face a more difficult social climate locally.
“After the [presidential] election, there were a lot of people riding around in pick-ups shouting racial slurs,” said Danielle, a former student at Chico State who submitted an incident report last year. “I myself experienced it walking home from the [Madison] Bear [Garden] … they turned the corner and screamed a racial slur at me.”
Danielle, an African-American, asked to be identified by her first name only.
The Documenting Hate database is run by the investigative news organization ProPublica in collaboration with media partners, including ChicoSol, and tracks both hate crimes and so-called “bias incidents.” In 2017, there were five submissions from the Chico area to the database.
Bias incidents involve interactions that involve some type of discrimination, intimidation or harassment based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.
ChicoSol was able to contact six of the seven individuals who reported cases of bias to the database in 2018, thereby verifying the authenticity of the submissions. Half of those incidents occurred during or after the beginning of the presidential campaign, and the other half referenced incidents that occurred prior to 2016.
One report, for example, referenced an incident that occurred in March 2016. An African-American student was signing a petition at a table outside a Safeway store when a passerby used the N-word. “The man tabling did try to console my roommate,” wrote the fellow student who submitted the report, “but it was too late. She was already humiliated and in tears.”
Nationwide, research from many organizations, including the F.B.I. and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), shows that the numbers of hate groups and incidents of racial violence have been on the rise since the beginning of the campaign season for the 2016 presidential election.
SPLC says the number of hate groups operating across the nation rose to a “record high” in 2018 “as President Trump continued to fan the flames of white resentment over immigration and the country’s changing demographics.”
By reporting bias incidents and hate crimes, you can help ChicoSol and our Documenting Hate partners track patterns and trends. People who submit reports are contacted so that ChicoSol can verify authenticity, but names aren’t used in stories unless express permission is given.
Submissions can be made here.