Hate crimes spike after election


In only one week, Nov. 9-16, more than 700 incidents of hate crimes and racist outbursts were counted in the U.S., as CNN reported. Since Donald Trump was proclaimed President-elect on Nov. 8, incidents of bigotry and targeted harassment continue to rise, including everything from swastikas drawn in parks to verbal and physical assault on minority Americans.

Overall, reported hate crimes spiked six percent, but the number could be higher because many incidents go unreported, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a video statement. “These numbers should be deeply sobering for all Americans,” Lynch said. “We need you to continue to report these incidents to local law enforcement, as well as the Justice Department, so that our career investigators and prosecutors can take action to defend your rights.”

President-elect Trump has briefly addressed this issue. “If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it,” he said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Trump’s statement has not been enough to comfort some minority individuals, including students here at John Brown University.

Sophomore Becky Yoon, a Korean student who grew up in Nigeria, said, “I’m just glad I’m not American right now and I have a place that I can go back to, but if I were to encourage [minority Americans], I’d say that it’s only four years. The way [America’s] government is made, it’s not like he has absolute power. Believe in the system.”

Yoon said that on election night she felt “absolutely shocked, because it just seemed like Hillary Clinton was gonna win. Everybody seems like they hate Trump, and then he won. I was just surprised.” Sophomore Tiffany Aguirre, a hispanic student at JBU, echoed Yoon’s feelings, saying she felt “initial shock.”

Yoon responded to the hateful backlash that followed the election.

“Well, I know the protesting isn’t going to change the election results, but I do support it because the people are making their voices heard. I don’t like the violence though. I think there’s a better way to do it.” she said.

Yoon commented on her anxiety for the future of the U.S. “I think it’s going to crash and burn, to be honest. I’m anxious. I’m very anxious and I’m very worried about the future of…mostly minorities – even the minorities who are American citizens. I still think they should be worried just because of what [Trump has] been saying,” she stated.

Aguirre said she has a positive outlook for her country’s future.

“As weird as this sounds, I actually feel hopeful, because there is a lot of work ahead of us,” she said.

As many feel anxious and uncertain about their futures and the futures of their loved ones, Aguirre offered some words of hope for fellow minority individuals.

“You’re not alone,” Aguirre said. “And there is an army of people who want to help and who are there. You just have to find the right resources.”

Attorney General Lynch said all instances of targeted hate or bigotry should be reported. At JBU, these incidents can be reported to campus safety,  local law enforcement and the Justice Department.