16/03/17

Hate Crimes – How our generation can stop them! | BBC News School Report

HATE CRIME: HOW OUR GENERATION CAN STOP IT

In the wake of a clear divide over recent current affairs, hate crime has reportedly hit our streets at a new high, and is appearing more and more on the front pages of national papers. Although not a problem within our own diverse student body, what can we as pupils do in the growing face of hatred in the UK?

Defined as “a crime motivated by racial, sexual or other prejudice,” these acts of intimidation have gripped the nation, serving to isolate, cause fear and distance Britain’s closest of communities. Following the EU referendum last year, the number of recorded hate crimes rose by 57% in a matter of days, leaving a 44% rise in hate crimes overall for that year and 2,241 cases of aggravated racial attack after the results of the nationwide vote were revealed. These incidents have crept into most of Great Britain’s cities, rural areas and onto computer screens throughout the UK and with a need for more awareness in the media, it is up to our generation to tackle this and challenge the ignorance and intolerance behind this epidemic, particularly if we’ve had to face it ourselves.

On Friday 3rd February, earlier this year, I was subject to verbal discrimination. Having gone to the shops looking for shoes to wear with a traditional Indian Lengha dress, my family (including my 8-year-old sister) were confronted by racial abuse. Targeted because of my skin colour rather than the content of my character, I was shouted at by a man. Asking where “white supremacy” had gone in the wake of Donald Trump’s immigration order, I couldn’t comprehend this kind of abuse happening in the country myself and my parents were born in. Despite my family being the victims of abuse in this case, I was left feeling an alien in my own home; I felt completely self-conscious when out in public, wondering if in every interaction, my presence was being scrutinised. I, as a British national, felt alone in Britain. I shouldn’t have been made to feel this way. No human, let alone a mother and her 3 children should have to encounter such animosity.

Furthermore, no individual in their own home, browsing on a screen, sitting on their sofa should be targeted and made subject to abuse. A quarter of teenagers throughout the country have faced online trolling, with the same number facing online hatred. It’s hard to understand the severity of the problem but for every single day in 2015, 5 internet trolls were convicted and a fraction of the UK’s teens found hateful and targeted abuse on the internet. As a generation, we’ve been thrown headfirst into the world of Wi-Fi and social media, but unfortunately the likelihood is that around 7 or 8 girls in each form will have been attacked on the internet, with numbers expected to rise if we don’t act now.

Perhaps one of the most important ways we can put an end to the rise of hate crime in the UK is by speaking out. Anyone who has had to face such intimidation should be encouraged to share their story with peers, and if necessary these acts should be reported to agencies, online social media platforms or the police. Hate crime thrives on stripping others of their self-esteem and has no place in civilised society, the future’s society, our generation’s society. Regardless of your age, gender, sexuality and race, will you put a stop to hate?

Amrit 11B