When The President-Elect’s Name Is A Hate Crime, Things Are Bad
This hasn’t happened since Hitler.
President Barack Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump are both urging national unity as protesters march from Miami to Portland in opposition to the reality-star-turned-ruler. The news is filled with “what if” scenarios and predictions for Trump’s first 100 days.
Buzzfeed is now maintaining an updated list of reported racist incidents following Trump’s victory. The chilling subtitle reads, “This is the normal,” and it threatens to be: This stuff is happening all across the country, in rural areas and big cities. Here’s a sampling of the most recent incidents:
Note the name “Trump” is written on the door. Now here’s another one. This was scrawled on the door of a Muslim prayer room at New York University:
So this is what’s happening. Donald Trump is going to be the next president of America?—?and his very name is now hate speech! If you think I’m wrong, consider the motivations of the person who wrote “Trump” on that door, given Trump’s repeated racist statements about Muslims.
This puts Trump in some pretty scary company. How many other world leaders’ names equate to slurs? Adolf Hitler, for one. His name disappeared from Germany and Austria after WWII, and if you write it on a wall and someone sees you, you’re probably going to get arrested.
If someone were to write former Ku Klux Klan “grand wizard” David Duke’s name on a wall, they’d be hurting some people’s feelings. Ditto for racist Australian politician Pauline Hanson (who’s planning a comeback now that Trump won). If you buy her T-shirt, you’re going to hurt Aboriginal, Arab and Asian people’s feelings.
When Trump’s name has been weaponized, how can he possibly make claims of uniting all Americans?
Back to Buzzfeed’s page. As you look at these images, stop and think: Are you okay with this happening? If you are, stop reading. If you are definitely not okay with it, or if it gives you a strange, sick feeling, read on.
It’s important for all of us to read this feed, let it make us feel sick, and share it. There is an overwhelming chance that electing a man with avowed racist, sexist and religiously discriminatory beliefs has empowered every bigoted bully in our nation (not to mention other countries).
Following and forwarding this feed won’t be enough. This job is too big to be handled by smartphone. You’re going to have to rip those posters down and cross out that graffiti. You’re going to have to voice your support for marginalized and threatened populations, and you’re going to have to do it louder than people who shout racial epithets.
You’re going to have to stand up to the person who’s creeping on that woman walking down the street. You’re going to have to tell your good friend or family member, “That is not an okay thing to say. I don’t ever want to hear you say something like that again.”
Even if you’re not the one being picked on, you need to stand up, because one day maybe you will be the target. That’s the lesson from Nazi Germany.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
—Martin Niemöller, “First They Came”
No matter which party you support, if you oppose this sort of thing, you’re in a third group now: the one that says, “This doesn’t happen to America on my watch.”