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caption: James Gregory, history professor at the University of Washington.
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James Gregory, history professor at the University of Washington.
Credit: KUOW/Kara McDermott

Hate crimes in the Northwest: We've been here before

Recent hate crimes prompted President Donald Trump to condemn such acts in a speech to Congress. Some of those incidents have been in the Pacific Northwest, and now the shooting of a Sikh man in Kent is being investigated as a possible federal civil rights violation.

UW history professor James Gregory told KUOW's Kim Malcolm about the prevalence of hate crimes in the Pacific Northwest.

"Asian immigrants, starting with the Chinese were often victims of violence in our region," he said. "In the 1880s, virtually all of the Chinese were driven out of Washington state."

Violence has also been aimed at Filipino people, he said, and of course there was the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Gregory said the attention to and prosecution of hate crimes have helped to reduce them. But, he said, the current climate is scarier in some ways than at any time over the past 80 years.

"Since World War II, government officials and political parties have condemned hate crimes and passed legislation, and there hasn't been any official support for this," he said. "But this last election, the passionate xenophobia that was expressed has unleashed the furies."