Hate Crimes: America We have an F@#!* Problem!
By: Kayla Pasacreta
Throughout the 2016 election cycle, there was no shortage of hateful, damaging rhetoric. This was especially seen towards black people, women (how can we forget DT’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” comments?), immigrants, and Muslims.
There has been an undeniable rise of hate crimes since the election of Donald Trump. Don’t believe me? Head to the Southern Law Poverty Center’s growing list of an alarming 1,094 hate crimes following the election, link here. These 1,064 malicious crimes are mostly categorized as Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Black, Anti-Muslim, Anti-LGBT, and Swastika related. In 2017, after eight years of a black president, who would have thought we would still have to talk about this shit?!
Pictured above are people who actually decided to protest the removal Confederate flag monuments in New Orleans, Louisana. Yes, my friends – there are people who take issue with getting rid of a flag that symbolizes nothing but hate and ultimately America’s shameful history. In so many ways, this picture symbolizes Trump’s America. It consists of entitled, white nationalists (ehm, RACISTS), who feel isolated and threatened by diversity. This is clearly seen within the alt-right movement, who strongly believe that their “white identity” is under attack by ethnic forces. I wish I was making this up, but I’m not.
And unfortunately, the alt-right isn’t just a make-believe-group of individuals with harmful, stupid ideas. Their beliefs attract a following who feel emboldened by these beliefs. A clear, tragic example of this was seen on the University of Maryland’s campus, when an alt-right member stabbed Bowie State’s Richard Collin III to death just 3 days before his graduation. His killer was not just an ordinary madman, but an actual student who roamed the University of Maryland's campus every.single.day.
There’s no way the media can twist this story. There was no provocation, there was no threat. The only thing Richard Collins III did wrong was having black skin. This isn’t an isolated incident. In 2017, what many people rush to crown a “post-racial society”, people are getting killed in the streets just for their ethnicity, religion, and race. This is why universities have the responsibility to take it seriously when nooses are found in Fraternity houses, when Swastikas are scribbled on sidewalks, and when white students go around hatefully saying the word “Nigger”. This sounds like a dramatic scene from Netflix’s Dear White People, but this is real life. So we have to ask ourselves, is it really that dramatic?
I have another story to share with you - in Portland, Oregon, a white supremacist angrily stepped on a train, calling out two black women, one who was wearing a hijab. He hurled the typical insults - "Get the f*** out the country!" and "Go home" amongst them. When the aggressor, Joseph Christian, brought out a knife to heighten the situation, two incredibly heroic bystanders stepped in to defend them - and they were stabbed to death as a result. In the police car, their boastful killer exclaimed, "I hope they all die. I'm gonna say that on the stand. I'm a patriot, and I hope everyone I stabbed died." Citing free speech and patriotism as his reason for harassing young women because of their race and religion, and further murdering men who made it their duty to protect them.
pictured above are the victims, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Mech and Ricky John Best. Photo credit: CNN
We only use the word terrorism when it’s a radical Islamic terrorist going on a killing spree. This country has to wake up and see that many people are losing their lives from domestic terrorism emboldened by the hateful and speech from Donald Trump’s America (I’m being nice and not saying Republicans, but as people who constantly dismiss the severity of the incompetent a$$ president they helped to elect, they are responsible). Donald's corny promise of "Make America Great Again" suggests greatness on the promise of exclusion. With just a simple Twitter search of the words “hate crime”, you’ll find countless pictures and videos, ranging from a white woman cursing a Mexican woman and telling her she’s not welcome in this country, to a teacher fired over their use of the N-word. This isn’t just hate. This is domestic terrorism.
President Donald Trump doesn’t say much to condemn these crimes, and in all honesty, he shouldn’t. It would be fake, disingenuous – because his rhetoric is exactly what is causing these hate crimes. Don’t let anyone tell you that when Donald uses hateful speech that they’re “just words”, they’re causing an epidemic that’s vindicating racists and leading to the death and assault of innocent people.