Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Pandora's Box of Americam racism

In case you were thinking that all that talk about Donald Trump's election win lifting the top off a Pandora's Box of racist and sexist attitudes and actions was just hyperbole and rhetoric, think again. Already, just days after the election, there has been a spate of racist and anti-Semitic incidents across the USA, more than 300 according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre. And these are just the ones that have been reported and garnered some media attention
They include:
  • Vandalization and "Trump Nation Whites Only" graffiti at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Silver Spring, Maryland, as well as at other churches nearby.
  • Swastikas daubed on doors in a residence where several Jewish women live at the New School, New York City, as well as in a residence at the State University of New York at Geneseo (accompanied by the word "Trump").
  • A swastika and "Make America White Again" graffiti on a softball dugout at Wellsville in upstate New York.
  • The word "Trump" scrawled on a Muslim prayer room at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering.
  • Swastika graffiti and the words "Heil Trump" at the University of California at San Diego.
  • Black students at the University of Pennsylvania were included in on a racist GroupMe message from "DaddyTrump", that included violent threats against blacks, racial slurs, a calendar invitation to a "daily lynching" and old images of African-American lynchings.
  • Threats to a female Muslim students at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, demanding that she remove her hijab or be set on fire.
  • Students at Royal Oak Middle School, Michigan (Grades 6-10) chanting "Build that wall!" during their lunch break.
  • Racist graffiti and hashtags, including "#GoBackToAfrica", "#MakeAmericaGreatAgain", "#WhitesOnly", "#WhiteAmerica" and "#Trump", at Maple Grove Senior High School in Minnesota.
  • Threats and intimidation of a Muslim student at San Diego State University, including mentions of Trump and of the student's traditional clothing.
  • "Black lives don't matter and neither does [sic] your votes" graffiti on a wall in Durham North Carolina
  • Graffiti spray-painted in a window in Philadelphia, including "Sieg Heil 2016" and "Trump" with a swastika in place of the "T", as well as more racist graffiti nearby.
  • Social media photos of a black doll being hung circulating at Canisius College in west New York state, with a connection being drawn to "Trump fans".
  • A Twitter video of a student at Shasta High School in Redding, California, handing out "Deportation" notices to other students of a variety of ethnicities (he though it was "funny").
  • Physical and verbal abuse (including use of the N-word) of a black student at Baylor University, Texas (although it was heartening to see that 300 students then turned up to escort the student to her next class).
A longer, more up-to-date, and even more depressing, list is available at Fusion.net, but I just haven't the heart to detail any more examples here.
Set against that are a couple of incidents, in Connecticut and Chicago, where Trump supporters were attacked. But the writing is quite clearly on the wall (so to speak): many people see Trump's election as carte blanche (so to speak) to make their ugliest attitudes public.
And Trump's rather lame response to all this activity? On a 60 Minutes interview, he said: "If it helps, I will say this, and I'll say it directly into the camera: 'Stop it'." Ouch.

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