In March 2017, HuffPost partnered with the nonprofit news organization ProPublica to help create a database of hate incidents. There was understandable concern at the time, just months after the 2016 presidential election, that the ascent of President Donald Trump had given bigots in this country a new license to hate.
Since that time — as the country has reeled from a white supremacist terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, and from massacres at synagogues and mosques here and elsewhere — the Documenting Hate project, which includes 170 other news outlets, has amassed a frightening database of thousands of hate incidents.
Combing through the database, we noticed a pattern. So many acts of hate in America are accompanied by variations on a particular phrase: “Go back to your own country.”
It’s what a white man allegedly shouted when he shot a Sikh man in Washington state, and what another white man shouted when he killed an Indian man in Kansas. Viral videos have captured white people shouting the phrase at black and brown Americans out of car windows, on the street and in stores.
And last week, it was a phrase a white president used against four U.S. congresswomen of color, all of whom are American.
Then, at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, as the president attacked Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in a speech, thousands of Trump supporters broke into a chant of “Send her back!” The president stood there and let it happen. Later, he described the crowd as “incredible patriots.”
Months ago, HuffPost started to create a new database of “Go back to your own country” incidents. The phrase and its variants — “Go back to Africa,” “Go back to Mexico,” “Go back to China” and so on — should be understood as white nationalist threats, an attempt to enforce the noxious notion that this country is only for white people.
We hope that by collecting these incidents, we can create a portrait of rising hate in this country, and underscore the urgency with which we need to address this fascist moment.
If you have been told to “go back to where you came from,” or some version of that ― or you’ve seen it happen to someone else ― please tell us about your experience by filling out the form below. We are looking for incidents that occurred between June 15, 2015, and June 15, 2019.
Please include your contact information, so a reporter can follow up with you to investigate the incident.
The form is not a report to law enforcement or any government agency.