Incidents motivated by racial hatred certainly have taken place since Election Day, but is there “a national outbreak of hate, as white supremacists celebrate Donald Trump’s victory” that should be blamed on the president-elect himself?
That’s the claim of the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center in the introduction to a report issued Tuesday that compiled 867 alleged incidents of “harassment and intimidation” in the 10 days that followed the presidential election.
SPLC, which has labeled Trump supporters such as Dr. Ben Carson an “extremist,” said in the report’s introduction that “harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.”
But SPLC – demanding Trump stop “the hate that his campaign has unleashed” – concedes it “was not able to determine the authenticity” of every one of the 867 reported cases, which were collected from submissions to the organization’s #ReportHate page on its website and media accounts.
As WND reported Nov. 21 when SPLC began compiling the reports, many faked claims of “hate crimes” had been recently documented. Further, most of the incidents on SPLC’s list, while deplorable if they actually happened, did not include physical violence, meaning the use of the term “attack” is misleading. Most of the incidents were uncorroborated assertions of verbal threats or racist comments that don’t appear to rise to the level of a crime.
A Muslim Uber driver from Morocco who now is a U.S. citizen, for example, was “verbally assaulted” in New York City on Nov. 17 by a man who yelled, “Kiss your visa good-bye,” among other slurs.
The incident was caught on video, but the vast majority of claims on the SPLC list were not, making it nearly impossible to verify them.
And news media have reported numerous incidents that turned out later to be hoaxes.
On Nov. 14, for example, NBC reported an openly bisexual Chicago student claimed she received anti-gay, pro-Trump notes and emails after the election such as “Back to hell.”
Taylor Volk of North Park University said she was a victim of “a countrywide epidemic all of a sudden.”
But last Friday, a university investigation found Volk had fabricated the messages.
A whiteboard message “Bye Bye Latinos Hasta La Vista that roiled the campus of Elon University, including condemnation from the president, turned out to have been written by a Latino student who saw it as a joke.”
Reason.com’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who was tracking SPLC’s compilation of reports, wrote Nov. 18 that the “bottom line is that when it comes to physical aggression inspired by this election, we are looking at a little more than a dozen incidents reported, over a 10 day period, in a country of roughly 318.9 million people – none of which resulted in serious injuries.”
She argued further that “these incidents vary widely in how much they can be attributed to politics, prejudice, and hate versus tempers, egos, and mental-health issues flaring along with the election results and our collective heightened emotional state.”
Trump ‘must acknowledge’ guilt
In its report, SPLC put the onus on Trump to stop the alleged wave of hate crimes, charging that unless he takes action, “the hate that his campaign has unleashed is likely to continue to flourish.”
SPLC said it’s not enough to disavow white supremacists, he “must acknowledge that his own words have opened ‘wounds of division’ in our country.”
“Rather than simply saying ‘Stop it!’ and disavowing the radical right, he must speak out forcefully and repeatedly against all forms of bigotry and reach out to the communities his words have injured.”
WND’s Nov. 21 report noted the numerous incidents of faked hate crimes.
Earlier this month, a female Muslim student at the University of Louisiana who accused a Trump-supporting man of attacking her and ripping off her hijab admitted a week later she made the story up, the Washington Post reported.
In another case, Bowling Green State University student Eleesha Long falsely claimed to have been attacked on the school’s Ohio campus by three white men wearing Trump T-shirts just one day after the election, Media Research Center reported.
Further, SPLC’s definition of “haters” and “extremists” has been at variance with the mainstream.
The organization, for example, labeled former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson an “extremist.” After a nationwide backlash last year, the organization apologized and removed the post.
But the SPLC website still has a negative “file” on Carson that insists he has said things that “most people would conclude are extreme,” such as his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
And SPLC was linked to a domestic terrorist who attempted mass murder at the headquarters of the Family Research Council based on SPLC’s listing of the Christian organization as a “hate group” for its traditional stand on marriage and relationships.