On March 16, eight people, including six Asian women, were shot and killed by a gunman who embarked on a shooting spree through three Atlanta spas. Despite evidence that the gunman targeted Asian businesses, Tucker Carlson skipped over any attempt to inform the public of the events that took place or to memorialize the victims, instead diving straight into attacking anyone discussing the potential role of race in the attacks as divisive.
There’s clear evidence that anti-Asian violence is on the rise, with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University reporting that “Anti-Asian hate crime in 16 of America’s largest cities increased 149% in 2020 according to an analysis of official preliminary police data.” But Carlson attempted to dismiss the role that race and ethnicity played in this attack by pointing to vague federal statistics that indicated that “Asians were more likely to be attacked by African Americans than by members of their own ethnicity.”
The statistics Carlson cited were most likely pre-pandemic 2018 data from the Department of Justice (Carlson did not give a detailed citation for his numbers) indicating that 27.5% of violent crime committed against Asian Americans was committed by African Americans. While these statistics may provide insight into the larger scope of violent crime in the United States, they do not negate the realities of anti-Asian and white supremacist violence, and they do not erase the potential motivations of the shooter, or the right of Asian-Americans to speak about their experiences and emotions.
Stop AAPI Hate recently wrote that it had received reports of 3,795 hate incidents against Asian Americans from March 19, 2020, to February 28, 2021. Those incidents included “verbal harassment,” “shunning,” and “physical assault.” Additionally, the reporting center found that “women report hate incidents 2.3 times more than men.”
There are clear indicators that white supremacist violence is on the rise. FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2017, told the Senate Judiciary Committee this month that white supremacist ideology “is a persistent, evolving threat” and is “the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio, if you will, overall.” He also said that the number of arrests of white supremacists has nearly tripled since his first year in the position.
While Carlson remains adamant that white nationalism is not a problem in this country, his own unabashed championing of white nationalist grievances has earned him the accolades of neo-Nazis, who praised him as a “one man gas chamber.” Meanwhile, his show has shed advertisers in droves and Fox staffers have decried the program as “a white supremacist cell inside the top cable network in America.”