Mazin Sidahmed November 29 2016
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has counted 867 hate incidents in the 10 days after the US election, a report released Tuesday found, a phenomenon it partly blamed on the rhetoric of Donald Trump.
The advocacy group collected reports of incidents from media outlets and its own #ReportHate page. SPLC said it was not able to confirm all reports but believed the number of actual incidents was far higher, as according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics most hate crimes go unreported.
Richard Cohen, SPLC’s president, blamed the recent surge in hate crimes on Trump and his divisive language throughout the campaign.
“Mr Trump claims he’s surprised his election has unleashed a barrage of hate across the country,” said Cohen in a statement on Tuesday. “But he shouldn’t be. It’s the predictable result of the campaign he waged. Rather than feign surprise, Mr Trump should take responsibility for what’s occurring, forcefully reject hate and bigotry, reach out to the communities he’s injured, and follow his words with actions to heal the wounds his words have opened.”
Trump’s name or one of his slogans was directly invoked in several instances. SPLC categorized 43 recorded incidents as “Trump-General”, where attackers used Trump’s name but it was unclear what bias motivated the attack.
The appointment of Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief White House strategist has proven controversial, due to his record of promoting antisemitic, anti-Muslim and misogynistic content while overseeing the “alt-right” website Breitbart News.
In an interview with 60 Minutes shortly after his victory, Trump claimed that he was “surprised to hear” about the increase in hate crimes since his election, many of which were perpetrated by his supporters. He looked squarely at the camera and told his supporters “Stop it!” during the interview.
According to the report’s findings, anti-black and anti-immigrant incidents were the most commonly reported, with K-12 settings and colleges the most common venues.
Nearly a third of the incidents (289 of them) were motivated by anti-immigrant sentiment, the report said. Assailants often invoked Trump’s promise to build a wall in their attacks and called for the victims to be deported. For instance, in Redding, California, a student brought “deportation letters” to school and recorded himself handing them out to Latino students. In Royal Oak, Michigan, students chanted “build the wall” in a school cafeteria the day after the election.
SPLC released a separate report on Tuesday detailing the impact of the election on schools.
Anti-black incidents were the second-most common, making up 23%, or 180, of the total. References to lynching were frequent, and pictures of nooses were used for intimidation. For instance, a black doll was found hanging from a noose in an elevator at New York’s Canisius College.
In a school in Orlando, students wrote “Yall Black ppl better start picking yall slave numbers. KKK. 4Lyfe.” followed by the line “Go Trump. 2016”.
Antisemitic and anti-Muslim attacks were also common. SPLC documented 80 reports of vandalism and graffiti incidents of swastikas, without specific references to Jews. In New York, a swastika was found spray-painted on a sidewalk in a Jewish neighborhood. Muslims had been generally characterized as terrorists, while Muslim women wearing hijabs were “particularly vulnerable to threats and assault”, the report said.
A letter threatening genocide against Muslims and praising Trump was sent to several mosques over the weekend, outside the period included in the report, the Council of American and Islamic Relations said. “There’s a new sheriff in town – President Donald Trump,” the letter reportedly said. “He’s going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And, he’s going to start with you Muslims.”
SPLC also found 23 incidents of anti-Trump hate, which included attacks on the Trump campaign headquarters or people targeted for wearing paraphernalia such as Trump hats or shirts. For instance, the report said a man in New York City wearing a Trump hat was reportedly grabbed around the neck while riding the subway.