A Preview of Trump’s America? Hate-Based Incidents Spike Nationwide

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A Preview of Trump’s America? Hate-Based Incidents Spike Nationwide

Auditi Guha

More than 400 hateful intimidation and harassment incidents across the United States have been reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the days after Donald Trump won the presidential election.

A 13-year-old Filipino girl was approached by a fellow student she didn’t know at her Texas elementary school who said, “You’re Asian, right? When they see your eyes you are going to be deported.”

A high-school teacher in Georgia was left a note in class telling her that her Muslim headscarf “isn’t allowed anymore” with a suggestion that she hang herself with it. The note was signed, “America.”

A gay couple in North Carolina was walking to a restaurant holding hands when a white man drove by and yelled “fucking faggots.”

A swastika was spray-painted on a billboard in California advertising Almost Christmas, a movie with an all-Black cast—in just one of 35 swastika-related vandalism incidents reported nationwide in the past week.

These are among the 437 reports of hateful intimidation and harassment recorded across the United States by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) between November 9 and November 14, in the immediate days after Donald Trump won the presidential election. Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, called the results “truly a frightening number.”

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“Since Donald Trump won the election we’ve seen an alarming number of hate-based incidents occur throughout the nation, some of which are no doubt stemming from Trump’s hate-filled campaign,” said Beirich in a statement.

Trump during his campaign for the presidency verbally attacked women, Muslims, Mexicans, and immigrant groups. Trump’s supporters have carried over his inflammatory rhetoric into post-election hate-based incidents, as the report has documented.

Trump asked perpetrators of hateful acts to “stop it” in an interview Sunday. He said he was “so saddened” to hear about attacks against certain groups, according to CNN.

The majority of documented incidents were anti-immigrant (136), followed by anti-Black (89) and anti-LGBTQ (43). Eight of the incidents involved more than one target—for example, both anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant invective—according to the SPLC report released Wednesday.

The center counted 41 Trump-related incidents with no clear defined target, like the pro-Trump vandalism of a “unity” sign in Connecticut, as well as 20 reports of anti-Trump intimidation and harassment.

The harassment recorded by the SPLC occurred at 99 K-12 schools, 76 businesses, and 67 universities. Forty incidents of vandalism and leafleting on private property were reported and 38 epithets or slurs were hurled from moving vehicles, according to the SPLC.

The states recording the highest number of incidents include California (51), Texas (30), Washington (27), New York (26), and Florida (23).

The SPLC noted that the incidents seem to be decreasing a week after the election but that earlier incidents are still being reported.

The FBI also released a report this week, showing a marked increase in hate crimes in 2015, especially against Muslims.

The FBI report counted 5,818 single-bias incidents involving 7,121 victims last year, increases over 2014 hate crime numbers. Of those 2015 victims, 59.2 percent were targeted because of a particular race or ethnicity bias; 19.7 percent on a religious bias; 17.7 percent because of their sexual orientation; and 1.7 percent because of gender identity.

The FBI collects this information because of the Hate Crime Statistics Act passed by Congress in 1990, which asks for data “about crimes which manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.”

“We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it,” FBI Director James Comey said during a 2014 speech.