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Rise in racist incidents points to Trump-emboldened backlash

WASHINGTON, Nov 15, (AFP): A surge in reports of racist incidents has minorities and civil rights groups worried that Donald Trump’s election as US president has emboldened hate groups. Swastikas and Nazi slogans scrawled on a Philadelphia storefront, xenophobic chants at a New York high school, threatening letters in the mail, insults on college campuses: reports like these have proliferated since Nov 8. “I have a scarf on. Passed by someone on the platform today and he says, ‘Your time’s up, girlie,’” journalist Mehreen Kasana wrote on her Twitter account.

Hispanics — the target of Trump’s most incendiary antiimmigrant rhetoric during the campaign — appear particularly vulnerable, as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) noted in tracking the rise of harassment of minorities. Asked about the outbreaks of anti-Muslim, anti-Hispanic bullying, Trump said in a CBS interview aired Sunday that he was “saddened to hear that,” adding it was “a very small amount.” “If it helps, I will say this and I’ll say it right to the cameras. Stop it,” he said.

“’Build a wall’ was chanted in our cafeteria Wed at lunch. ‘If you aren’t born here, pack your bags’ was shouted in my own classroom. ‘Get out spic’ was said in our halls,” a teacher in Washington state told the SPLC, a non-profit that monitors the activities of hate groups in the United States.

SPLC collected reports of more than 200 similar incidents between Election Day on Nov 8 and Friday, against African Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community. “It doesn’t compare to the civil rights movement. No one is blowing up churches,” SPLC president Richard Cohen told the New York Times. “But I don’t think there’s any question that there’s been an increase.” Anti-Muslim attacks increased by 67 percent in 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a report released on Monday.

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