Fears of racial hostility and division nationwide seem to be increasingly confirmed due to reported incidents that have taken place since the presidential election. Some were verbal attacks, others were physical. Some took place in schools or the workplace, while others were in public spaces. But they have spurred fears of race relations becoming worse in the near future.
The Southern Poverty Law Center released a new report on Tuesday entitled: “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election” that said in the days following the election of Donald Trump as president, it recorded 867 reports of harassment or intimidation in all but four states. These included primarily anti-immigrant and anti-Black attacks, but also harassment of women, the LGBTQ community, and others including a few Trump supporters. Many of the incidents had at least one person invoking Trump’s name.
The data for the report came from submissions to the SPLC’s #ReportHate page on the organization’s website and also media stories. The information counted actual real-time events, but omitted online harassment and excluded incidents that authorities have determined were hoaxes.
Reports recorded by the SPLC in the first 10 days since the election were highest at 202 on Nov. 9, one day after, and dropped off to 26 on Nov. 18.
Some examples of incidents:
- A Colorado mother reported that her child was threatened over her race: My 12-year-old daughter is African-American,” she said. boy approached her and said, ‘Now that Trump is president, I’m going to shoot you and all the blacks I can find.’ “
- In Las Vegas, a White man physically attacked two Black men and attempted the same against a Black woman. Afterward, he chanted “Donald Trump” and “White Power.”
- A White Massachusetts man received a letter warning him not to bring Black friends into the community from someone saying it has “zero tolerance for Black people” and that “we have reclaimed our country back by selecting Trump.” Another letter he received read: “We have just cleared the White House of n*****s! Do not bring n*****s in our neighborhood… We will kill them.”
Other incidents include intimidation of immigrants, particularly, but not limited to the Latin-American and Muslim-American communities.
- In South Carolina, an undocumented immigrant middle schooler was intimidated by classmates who said they “couldn’t wait to see her ugly face deported.” A fight ensued and is now facing court proceedings that her mother fears will result in the family’s deportation.
- A Muslim-owned business in California received a typed note that read: “BE PREPARED TO GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY WITH ISIS…DONALD TRUMP WILL KICK ALL OF YOUR A** BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM.”
- A 75-year-old gay man in Florida was pulled from his car, beaten and told by his attackers: “You know my new president says we can kill all you f*****s now.”
Of the 867 incidents, only 23 were reported to have been anti-Trump, including one in which a man riding the New York City subway was targeted while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
Such incidents have encouraged many people of color to think about buying weapons for self-defense. Gun store owners say the number of Black and minority customers they’ve seen has quadrupled since the election. In addition, Black gun groups are reporting double the normal number of attendees at their meetings.
“Most folks are pretty nervous about what kind of America we’re going to see over the next 5-10 years,” Philip Smith, founder of the National African American Gun Association told NBC News.
Trump has said he condemns the incidents, telling The New York Times in an interview that “I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group,” he said. “It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.”
But fringe White supremacist groups that have fashioned themselves as the “alt-right” continue to embrace Trump, based on the racially charged and misogynistic rhetoric of his presidential campaign, which notably targeted undocumented immigrants. In addition, Trump’s appointment of surrogates like Steve Bannon, who ran the ultra-conservative Breitbart.com, as his chief strategist and his choice of Jeff Sessions, who had been accused of racist tactics over his career, leave little faith that Trump would be willing to do much to quell fears of more such incidents.
“President-elect Trump’s first commitment to the American people was to be a president for ‘all Americans’ and to ‘bind the wounds of division’ in our country,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen at a press conference. “He needs to make good on that pledge by taking decisive action.”