Jan 21, 2017

Tracking Hate during the Trump Administration

Goya Por una navaja (For a clasp knife). A garroted priest
grasps a crucifix in his hands. Pinned to his chest is a
description of the crime for which he was
killed—possession of a knife (Disasters of War;
Plate 34, Wikiwand).
Post-election analyses have attempted to discern the meaning of the Donald Trump election.

It's indisputable: Trump's relentless invectives against blacks, Latinos, women, Muslims, and LGBTQ Americans, (actually running a campaign on an open platform of hate), did not disqualify this lunatic who has created a disturbing 21st-century alliance with Russia, domestic white supremacists, the 'Christian' right, the rightist elements of the FBI and totalitarian movements around the globe.

Most Americans recognize Trump as a pathological liar and a malignant sociopath, but nevertheless some 25 percent of the electorate still voted for him. But the votes do not support coherent policies beyond transferring money and power to billionaires and diminishing civil liberties.

The fact is that most Trump voters do not care about public policy, do not know public policy, macro-economics, fiscal policy, monetary policy and federalism, for example. Trump voters are not too keen on Constitutional democracy as a system of governance, period.

Trump is a visceral embodiment of resentment and angst, a figure that says 'fuck you' to blacks, Latinos, immigrants, liberal Jews, Hillary Clinton, multi-national corporations and others while Trump promises to erect an America-first edifice—a vague, nonsensical construct hazy in the "post-truth, post-fact, post-everything Trump fog," (Schwarz, The Intercept). Trump is the strutting reenactment of the American myth.

Much of the corporate press—refusing to jettison the ridiculous journalistic conventions of neutrality and nihilism—has come to the realization that pretending that Trump is not a fascist and burying its collective head in the sand is no longer a tenable approach to reporting the news.

Now comes a corrective action from the New York Times, an editorial column entitled This Week in Hate that tracks hate crimes and harassment around the country since the election of Donald Trump.

Begun last year and now in full operation one day after the inauguration, the Times has decided to chronicle what is happening in the faith that knowledge begets action. The Times' publishing decision is an important step.

From This Week in Hate:

This Week in Hate highlights hate crimes and harassment around the country since the election of Donald Trump.
Reliable data on hate crimes is hard to come by. As reports of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic harassment and attacks poured in after the election of Donald Trump, many Americans wondered whether they represented a nationwide increase in hate crime. While the Southern Poverty Law Center saw a dramatic increase in reports after the election, it’s not yet clear whether this indicates a nationwide trend.

That’s one reason This Week in Hate is joining with ProPublica and a coalition of other organizations to work on, a project that aims to gather data on hate crimes and incidents of bias around the country. Documenting Hate will analyze information from law enforcement, news reports, nonprofit groups and individuals in order to investigate topics like how many hate crimes occur annually, which parts of the country have the highest prevalence and whether the frequency or severity of hate crimes has changed since the election of Mr. Trump. This Week in Hate and several news organizations will publish results from those investigations. Here are some reports of hate crimes and harassment that have drawn public attention in recent days.

• As many as 16 Jewish community facilities in the Eastern United States received bomb threats last Monday. At a community center in Rockville, Md., more than 300 people, including 200 preschoolers, were evacuated. No bombs were found at the facilities, but the F.B.I. is investigating the threats.
• A swastika and the word “bomb” were found on a bathroom wall at a Jewish community center on Staten Island last Wednesday. Police investigated and did not find a bomb.
 • Last Monday, a woman in Nampa, Idaho, discovered that her car had been vandalized with the words “go back”; paint was poured over the car, its windows were smashed and its radio and air conditioner were damaged. The car’s owner was born in Nigeria but is not a recent immigrant. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
• A former Republican Party county chairman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, discovered last Monday that his van had been vandalized with an anti-Trump message.
• The garage of a family in Sylvania Township, a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, was vandalized last Tuesday with a swastika and a racist message aimed at Arabs. Police are investigating the incident. One of the family members, 21-year-old Malak Ayache, has painted over the vandalism with the message “Toledo [heart]s Arabs” to mark the support her family has received from neighbors since the incident. “I honestly want everyone to know that this negative, hateful act is not going to affect this family,” she said.

Documenting Hate has developed a form to help people report hate crimes or incidents of bias for inclusion in the data analysis. If you have experienced, witnessed or read about a hate crime or incident of bias or harassment, you can use the form to send information about the incident to the Documenting Hate partners, including This Week in Hate.

The form is not a report to law enforcement or any government agency. You can access the form here
If you have experienced harassment, these resources may be helpful. If you witness harassment, here are some tips for responding. You can contact This Week in Hate at weekinhate@nytimes.com

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