February 20th, 2014
09:16 PM ET

Teens carved swastika into classmate's forehead: are racist incidents on the rise in America?

The problem of hate in America has come to the forefront this week with a string of incidents, ranging from vandalism to assault in three different states across the country.

Police: Oregon teens torture classmate, cut swastika into his head

In Oregon, three teenagers have been charged with menacing, kidnapping and assault for attacking a classmate and carving a swastika into his forehead with a box cutter.

Meanwhile, authorities at Ole Miss are investigating the defacing of a statue of civil rights icon James Meredith, which vandals desecrated by hanging a noose around the statue's neck.

There is also outrage in Georgia after officials approved a new license plate featuring two images of the confederate flag.

What is going on? Are racist incidents on the rise in America?

Mark Potok, senior fellow with the Southern poverty law center and Reihan Salam, CNN contributor and contributing editor with the National Review are OutFront.

"I think the best data shows that in fact anti-black racism has risen over the last four or five years," Potok says. "There's polling that shows that both implicit and explicit anti-black attitudes among American whites have gone up quite significantly between 2008 and 2012, to the point where now more than half of white Americans have these anti-black attitudes."

Salam disagrees with Potok. He says looking at implicit associations are "extremely misleading" and adds that "people are getting very creative in what they're characterizes as racism. When you look at hard statistics, like interracial marriages and friendships, when you look at the level of racial segregation you've seen enormous progress over time and we should celebrate it."

Filed under: News
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. jaymetal

    At times it feels as tho everything is on the rise. I mean there isn't a day you don't hear about hate spewing out the radio and big screen tv. Nation after nation with some drama unfolding and escalating violence hitting our own homeland. I think a lot has to do with reporting and the media reporting with all its sensationalism . No doubt however, hate is here to stay. Fact not fiction. Instead of all the reporting of the hate, we should be working on a solution to seek out why and what is happening to people to cause this surge in violence against one another. It's senseless!

    February 22, 2014 at 9:43 am | Reply
  2. Linda Davis

    Remember after 9/11/01 how we Americans acted? We didn't see race or color, poor or rich. We saw each other as brothers and sisters sticking together in a united front against the terrorists that attacked our nation. This reminds me of when siblings constantly pick on each other,but if someone from outside hurts one of them, the rest of the kids jump in as a united front against the attacker. We need to remember how important our country is and how much we really count on each other. Our differences didn't mean so much back in '01 and shouldn't mean so much now.

    February 22, 2014 at 1:34 am | Reply
  3. brian

    it should allso be lookd at how the white ppl are being put into the minority with the illegals-mexican ppl
    specialy here in colorado its being felt very hard..... the ppl not the dam goverment

    February 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  4. James

    No it is not on the rise, it's just the media creating a pretend world that allows the crazies to come out, like this one.

    February 21, 2014 at 12:04 am | Reply

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