The Southern Poverty Law Center today released two reports documenting how President-elect Donald Trump’s own words have sparked hate incidents across the country and had a profoundly negative effect on the nation’s schools.
Joined by human rights and education leaders at a press conference in Washington, D.C., the SPLC called on Trump to take responsibility for his actions and to repair the damage he had caused.
“Mr. Trump claims he’s surprised his election has unleashed a barrage of hate across the country,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “But he shouldn’t be. It’s the predictable result of the campaign he waged. Rather than feign surprise, Mr. Trump should take responsibility for what’s occurring, forcefully reject hate and bigotry, reach out to the communities he’s injured, and follow his words with actions to heal the wounds his words have opened.”
In Ten Days After, the SPLC documents 867 bias-related incidents in the 10 days following the presidential election. Among them: multiple reports of black children being told to ride in the back of school buses; the words “Trump Nation” and “Whites Only” being painted on a church with a large immigrant population; and a gay man being pulled from his car and beaten by an assailant who said the “president says we can kill all you faggots now.”
In After the Election, The Trump Effect, the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project details the findings of an online survey of more than 10,000 educators since the election. Ninety percent reported that their school’s climate has been negatively affected, and 80 percent described heightened anxiety and concern among minority students worried about the impact of the election on their families.
The teachers described an increase in the use of slurs and derogatory language, along with disturbing incidents involving swastikas, Nazi salutes and Confederate flags. More than 2,500 said they knew of fights, threats, assaults and other incidents that could be traced directly to election rhetoric.
Since the election, approximately 675,000 people have signed SPLC petitions calling on Trump to distance himself from white nationalists and other extremists and to dump Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist and counselor.
“President-elect Trump’s first commitment to the American people was to be a president for ‘all Americans’ and to ‘bind the wounds of division’ in our country,” Cohen said. “He needs to make good on that pledge by taking decisive action.”
This article was published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.