What Effect Do Cameras Have On Our Perception Of Hate?

We’ve mentioned one statistic over and over: since Donald Trump decided to run for president in 2015, the number of hate crimes has increased consistently. His anti-immigrant and anti-minority rhetoric quite literally resulted in the murder of American citizens. But how much of that increase in crime is the result of an actual increase as opposed to an increase in the number of cameras at our disposal?

These days, everything we do or say is on camera. Even six years ago, we can argue that was the case. But that might not be true. Along with the rise in hate crimes, there has been a proportional rise in activism meant to protect these targeted groups. And that means there are more people with their camera phones at the ready. 

When Nahla Ebaid and her husband were on vacation in March, a maskless woman came into the Fort Lauderdale Walgreens where they were shopping, was asked to mask up, and immediately turned toward them to excuse her own poor behavior. 

Ebaid said, “She looked at us and she said ‘I wish I am from your country so I don’t have to wear the mask.’ So, we said, ‘Which country is that? We’re from New York.’”

It was at that point that the woman began ranting about Muslims living in America. Of course, the entire exchange was captured on Ebaid’s smartphone and inevitable 911 calls and police body cameras.

The perpetrator, Luba Bozanich, later said, “I don’t like what I saw, but I’m human. When this guy said what he said to me I said what I said to him and I got angry. I felt very angry, and I told him off.”

Ebaid and her family declined to press charges. Ebaid used the incident to tell all Muslim American women: “Wear your hijab, don’t be scared to wear your hijab.”

Events like these have become common all over the world. We live in a time where behavior like this is recorded from every angle — and it’s harder for people to get away with it. But of course it also changes our perception of such events and makes them seem more common.