The United States is no stranger to hate crimes and racial or ethnic harassment; after all, this is a country that was built on the genocide of indigenous people, the enslavement of black people, and the systemic and institutionalized oppression that keeps one group ahead of all the rest.
For the most part, bigots and racists managed to keep their activities and opinions more covert than overt as required by polite society, but a report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center on Tuesday shows that those behaviors are seemingly more acceptable out in the open ever since Donald Trump won the presidential election.
“Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election” examines almost 900 reported incidents of harassment and intimidation around the nation and found a common thread. In most cases, the perpetrators were not afraid to commit these acts out in the open and in front of witnesses, and many of them invoked the name of Trump, indicating that the hate attacks stemmed in large part from his election.
According to the SPLC, in the 10 days following the election, people experienced harassment at work, at school, at home, on the street, on public transportation, in their cars, in grocery stores and other places of business, and in places of worship. While the most common forms of attacks have been messages of intolerance via graffiti or verbal harassment, there have been a small number of violent physical interactions reported as well. There were even attacks directed at the Trump campaign and his supporters.
The SPLC sourced the 867 hate incidents they examined from the #ReportHate page on the SPLC website as well as media accounts. They did not include online harassment or incidents the authorities determined to be hoaxes. The group also acknowledged that the incidents it examined represent a mere fraction of the actual number of election-related hate incidents that have occurred since Nov. 8. In fact, the Bureau of Justice statistics estimates that two-thirds of hate crimes go unreported to police.
Hate incidents have been reported in every state except Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. California had the most reports at 99, and Rhode Island had the least with just one report.
Public spaces seemed to be the place where incidents were most reported, with K-12 school- and workplace/retail-related incidents coming in close with 183 and 162 incidents respectively.
There were 280 anti-immigrant incidents and 187 anti-black incidents reported, making them the most reported incidents, but anti-Semitic, anti-woman, white nationalist, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT and anti-Trump attacks were included in the report as well.
While there were 202 reported incidents on Nov. 9, the day after the election, the number of reported incidents declined over the 10 days following the election.
Considering that Trump ran on a platform of racism, xenophobia and misogyny, these numbers should not come as a surprise to anyone. In fact, they should seem low to anyone who understands the history of this country and the white nationalist temperament that Trump has awakened.
Our advice to everyone is to be careful and stay alert; it’s dangerous out there.
Read more at the Southern Poverty Law Center.