Those longing for a return of yesterday now have it. In the form of rampant bigotry and hate crimes doled out by white supremacists.
All throughout his controversial campaign last year, scandal-prone real estate mogul Donald Trump promised change. And apparently, change we have. Ever since being elected the 45th President of the United States despite losing the popular vote one excruciatingly long week ago, hate crimes against people of color have played an increasingly prevalent role in everyday American life.
If you’re fortunate enough to not experience them firsthand, you’re hearing about them, reading about them, discussing them, or perhaps you are trying to tune them out. Regardless, the phenomenon is very real. According to experts, in Trump’s America, we are experiencing more hate crimes now than we did in the aftermath of 9/11.
“Since the election, we’ve seen a big uptick in incidents of vandalism, threats, intimidation spurred by the rhetoric surrounding Mr. Trump’s election,” Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.,
As of last Friday, the SPLC reported 201 hate crimes perpetrated against immigrants, African Americans, Muslim Americans, Latino Americans, women and the LGBT community since Trump’s election. They cite many of the incidents, which include harassment, vandalism, violence, taunting, cruelty and terror, as involving “direct references to the Trump campaign.”
Here are just a few incidents reported since the election:
- Louisiana woman set on fire; KKK smeared on her car
- Shasta High student gives ‘deportation’ notices to other kids
- 3 Oklahoma students linked to racist messages sent to Penn students
- Hijab wearing UM student threatened with being set on fire
There were reports of a man in Columbus, Ohio, yelling “C–t, you don’t belong in this country!” at a Muslim woman driving in a car with her family, while banging on the window, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR).
“It’s kind of a very tense time for the American Muslim community and people are really anxious about the future,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for CAIR. “We already had been worse based on the fact that Donald Trump had mainstreamed Islamophobia… and this was just taking it off the charts.”
FBI statistics back up that claim. In 2015—the same year America’s most celebrated internet troll announced his candidacy—the US saw a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslims. Experts say these crimes, fueled by Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, in 2015, were at their highest since 9/11. Although the official statistics are not yet available for 2016, one can only imagine.
To make matters worse, a perpetually ignorant, tone-deaf and seemingly unconcerned Trump just made noted white supremacist Steve Bannon, someone Glenn Beck (?) calls a “terrifying man,” one of his chief advisers.
So suffice it to say this problem is not going away. It seems we as Americans have entered into a new age. One that is rife with a renewed and heightened sense of hatred and violence doled out by white supremacists. It seems that those longing for the good ol’ days managed only to bring the worst parts back, but they seem to relish it regardless.
During a recent appearance on AM Joy, documentary filmmaker and activist, Michael Moore implored white people to be proactive about standing up to the bigotry they encounter.
“White people have a responsibility to reject anybody who stands in front of a camera who spews racism, who spews sexism, misogyny. Who brags about being a sexual predator,” he said. “I don’t care what your race is, but especially if you’re white. Because that means that you belong to the race that’s been in power forever.”
Stay safe, spread love, stand up to bigotry and report any incidents you see.