Fear and anxiety were thick enough to cut with a knife on election night, as millions of minorities clung to the edge of their seats praying that Trump wouldn’t win the election. Countless groups were targeted throughout his rise to power, including the Mexican community who were alienated by Trump’s threats to build a wall along the border and deport illegal immigrants on a massive level.
Muslims, who make up roughly 23% of the entire world’s population, were also petrified of the ramifications of Trump becoming president as he continued to press the topic of banning Muslims stating that he supported “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
The Trump Supporters React
Even during the election process, Trump supporters and “White America” started showing signs of the potential for hate crimes. From groups such as the KKK announcing their support to rallies showing supporters saluting with Hitler hails, many Trump followers are seeing his election as a free-for-all against minorities. The SPLC reported 867 hate crime incidents within the first ten days after the US election. According to their report, this increase in hate crime was directly related to Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the election process.
Racists in southern states are not the only ones taking advantage of the recent election. New York reported swastikas spray painted on sidewalks in Jewish neighborhoods, and Muslims around the country are now being generalized as terrorists simply because of their religion. Afaf Nasher, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, had directly linked the surge of hate crimes against Muslims as a direct result of President-elect Trump and his blanket ban on all Muslims. She urged accountability in an email stating, “Mr. Trump’s rhetoric normalized hate, racism, and xenophobia,” Ms. Nasher said in an email. “These attacks are the unavoidable byproduct.” She called upon Mr. Trump to denounce the acts of violence against Muslim women.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce revealed that hate crimes were up nearly 35 percent for all of 2016 compared to the year prior telling the Observer, “We also started looking at certain parameters: what happened post-Election Day? We had a huge spike, right after Election Day, it’s somewhat slowed a little bit,” Boyce said. “We’re seeing across the board an increase right now.”
Trump Reacts to Hate Crimes
So what is Donald Trump saying about the increase in the number of hate crimes? His first and only response was early after the election when he told CBS that he was “saddened” to hear about the increase in hate crimes from his supporters against minorities and told the cameras, “If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.” For a man who is constantly on Twitter, following and commenting on every nuance going on in America, it’s hard to believe he was virtually unaware of the increased reports of violence after his victory. In fact, Trump is spending more time addressing the ‘Hamilton’ incident than focusing on bringing Americans back together and stopping the violence.
Many fear that Trump’s lack of acknowledgment and action against those actively participating in hate crimes is a ploy to encourage those individuals. Others are taking full advantage of the absence of Trump on the topic, taking that as a sign to continue their movement. While America continues to settle into the new administration, others are anxiously awaiting the transition of power hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.