It was a big week for hate. It was no different than last week.
Acts of violence and intimidation against minority groups are becoming so commonplace that they’re tough to track ― though we’ve been trying. This week, reports on three incidents highlighted how fear and hatred have permeated the everyday lives of Americans.
In a township outside of Indianapolis, Indiana, school officials confirmed that a group of fourth-graders on a winning robotics team were told to “go back to Mexico” by other students ― and that parents joined in to hurl racist slurs their way. The Indianapolis Star reporter who brought the February incident to light this week characterized the backward thought process behind the verbal assault:
If you allow racism and hate to dictate these things, minority students from the Eastside, poor kids from a Title I school, aren’t supposed to be smart. They aren’t supposed to be talented. They aren’t supposed to be technologically savvy. And they definitely aren’t supposed to be able to best white students from surrounding communities.
Over in Orange County, California, a waiter was fired for demanding patrons’ “proof of residency” in the United States. “I need to make sure you’re residents before I serve you,” the waiter reportedly said to Diana Carrillo, a 24-year-old Californian, her sister and two of their friends.
Carrillo was quick to invoke President Donald Trump, whose administration has been criticized by civil rights groups for failing to respond in a meaningful way to hate crimes across the country.
“I feel that’s the direction we’re headed in, given who’s the president,” Carrillo told the Orange County Register Friday.
Often, Trump’s name is brought up during actual crimes. On Thursday, a man was charged with aggravated harassment after allegedly kicking a Muslim Delta employee at John F. Kennedy International Airport and promising that Trump would kick the victim out of the country.
“Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” the suspect, 57-year-old Robin Rhodes said to the victim, according to a complaint that KTLA obtained.
“You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive] ass,” Rhodes said. “[Expletive] Islam, [expletive] ISIS, Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”
There are now so many instances of hateful acts carried out in Trump’s name or policy that saying hateful people are “emboldened” by this administration borders on cliché.
At least 150 civil rights groups agree. Last week, Amnesty International, the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Muslim Advocates and the National Bar Association were among a long list of groups to sign an open letter condemning the Trump administration’s lack of action ― or even acknowledgement ― after so many acts of violence and intimidation.
Jewish leaders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are enraged over the lack of response to bomb threats made to Jewish community centers over the country. Though the Department of Homeland Security has pledged its full involvement into the investigation of more than 125 threats made to 85 centers across the country since January, the federal reaction has been widely criticized as hollow and sluggish.
The past few weeks have been no different across America.
We watched as two Indian men in Kansas were shot after being told to “Get out of my country.” We watched as four mosques were burned down in less than two months. We watched as a Sikh man was shot in Washington; as gravestones were overturned; as Latinos in California and New York were assaulted; as transgender women of color were murdered; as Jews were under siege in their homes, places of worship and community centers.
We will continue to watch as lawmakers, civil rights groups and the American people wait for the Trump administration to draw a line in the sand and condemn the rise in American hatred.