Shortly after Donald Trump won the presidency, the United States saw an increase in racism and hate crimes. According to Thinkprogress, from November 9, 2016 through February 9, 2016 there were 261 documented hate crimes. These incidents targeted Jews, Muslims, Latinos, and Blacks. The majority of these hate incidents were graffiti/hate messages followed by assaults and harassment. From the 261 documented incidents 41 percent were connected to Donald Trump’s victory. After Trump’s win, there were swastikas drawn at schools, racist taunts and other acts of intimidation across the country.
Sources like USA Today state that the number of hate crimes and racism has declined since Trump’s victory, yet there have been recent events that question this statement. For instance, not too long ago, Charlottesville, Virginia made headlines across the country due to racism and hate crimes. On August 12 there was a “Unite the Right” rally planned to protest against the removal of a General Robert E. Lee statue. This event quickly became one of the largest white supremacist events in recent history. The day before the event, marchers joined at the University of Virginia carrying torches yelling “white lives matter,” and “blood and soil.” Tensions grew quickly throughout the night into Saturday the day of the protest where tensions reached an ultimate level. Tensions got so bad that James Alex Fields, one of the marchers, sped his car and rammed into Ant-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring up to nineteen other people. Soon after the incident, Donald Trump condemned the incidents “on many sides”, but did not strictly condemn white supremacy. It took Donald Trump two days to specifically condemn white supremacy, but later on backtracked saying that there was “blame on both sides.” Donald Trump’s comments drew widespread criticism from both major parties and, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader supported his remarks.
Did Donald Trump’s poor response to the Charlottesville incident become an invitation for white supremacists to think it is okay to be openly racist? Will hate crimes increase due to his poor response? The most recent event that has shocked the country involves a bi-racial 8-year-old in New Hampshire. On August 28, a boy and others were playing in a yard in their neighborhood when a group of white teenagers went up to the bi-racial boy, calling him racial slurs and throwing rocks and sticks. They then tried tying a rope around his neck and pushed him off of the picnic table. The boy was able to get out of the rope but ended up inuring his neck. The police in the town are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
It is insane that it is 2017 and incidents like this are occurring. Having a president that does not quickly condemn white supremacy is not helping incidents like these decrease. It also does not help that in the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign he has attacked minority groups such as Muslims and Latinos. His campaign was based on attacking others and making people feel inferior. Personally, I think his actions in the past have made people think it is okay to discriminate against others and encourage racists to come out of their shadows.