A New Dawn for Hate?

This morning, in Ogden, Utah, Aaron Feller McFarland and his husband, Nik McFarland, woke up to find the slurs “FAGET” and “HOMO DIE” emblazoned across their car in blood-red spray paint.

Yesterday, Nancy Leong experienced a more casual form of harassment. On her morning run in Denver, as a car whooshed by, a man screamed at her, “Build that wall!” Never mind that Nancy, an associate professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, is an Asian American, born and raised in this country. Her brown skin and dark brown hair were all that were required to raise the ire of her harasser.

Stand with us to protect everyone's rights

Aaron, Nik, and Nancy are not alone. A mere three days after the election, reports of harassment and violence directed at people of color, immigrants, LGBT people, Muslims, and others have been pouring in. Shaun King, the senior justice writer for the New York Daily News, has received dozens and dozens of reports of abuse and is chronicling them on Twitter. The Southern Poverty Law Center is also collecting reports of racist harassment, as are various news outlets.

Homo Die

The harassment and discrimination has been widespread, targeting people based on race, ethnicity, and national origin, as well as religion and sexual orientation. Not surprisingly, in light of promises to ban Muslims from our country and to single out American Muslims for surveillance, many of the victims have been Muslim. A San Diego State University Muslim student was robbed, for example, by two men who made comments about Donald Trump and Muslims. The student was wearing a hijab at the time.

The reaction among affected communities runs the gamut. Some victims of these attacks are speaking out and inspiring others. At the same time, many people are fearful and unsure what to do.   

Although there are no easy answers, one thing is clear: We can’t sit back and watch this become the new normal. 

When the government violates constitutional and statutory rights, the path forward is much clearer: We take legal action to stop the violations and restore equal protection for all. Indeed, the ACLU has already made clear to President-elect Trump that we’ll see him in court if he tries to implement any of the unconstitutional policies he proposed during the campaign, many of which would harm the very people already suffering harassment days after the election. And, in that vein, we urge everyone to review our Know Your Rights resources, which cover a wide range of civil liberties, such as your rights when questioned by police or when protesting.

But what can we do when private citizens — emboldened by political leaders — travel down the reprehensible path of hurling bigotry at their neighbors?  When the harassment takes place in public schools and the work context, school officials and employers have an obligation to stop it because it is their responsibility to ensure that our schools and workplaces are safe for all. And when the harassment involves violence or threats of violence, law enforcement has a duty to intervene, no matter the race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or other identity of the perpetrator or victim. We are all entitled to bias-free, equitable police protection — a right that is more important now than ever.

Yet, even when such harassment does not take place in school or the workplace or does not involve physical violence, it can still exact an extraordinary human cost. Victims often experience the harassment as an attempt to intimidate them and to force them out of public spaces and social and political communities. This we cannot allow.

In some situations, when any of us are witnessing harassment as it is happening, we can stand up and help.  Earlier this year, French illustrator Marie-Shirine Yener sketched out a four-step plan to help bystanders of anti-Muslim harassment defuse the situation by engaging the victim in conversation and building a safe space for him or her. But, as some have pointed out, the intervention Yener proposes might not always work and could end up escalating some situations, so it has to be employed cautiously.

Although there are no easy answers, one thing is clear: We can’t sit back and watch this become the new normal. 

If this is indeed a new dawn for hate, then we must use the sunshine to our advantage. We must embrace the victims of harassment with warmth and love, and we must shine the brightest light possible on these acts of bigotry. We must encourage those targeted to keep documenting the harassment for the public record in any way they can — through Twitter, Facebook, or any other medium — and we must amplify their voices. When they don’t have the strength to document the harassment, we must (with their permission) do it for them. And we must find ways to speak out against and condemn such harassment: Every. Single. Time.

Will you join us in pledging to speak out against bigotry and harassment until the sun finally sets on a renewed wave of hate?  Make your commitment known in the comments!

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Holly

I am committed. I will speak out, I will support and do whatever I can to not sit silence and to help put an end to this.

Hugh D

I am committed to counter the increase in hatred and negativity caused by the unacceptable words, action and behavior of Donald Trump. I, a White Middle Class Male am embarrassed, humiliated, and appalled by the mean, vulgar, offensive,sexust, racist, criminal, threatening, etc. words, tweets, behavior, of Donald Trump and those who accept or excuse it. This includes his wife, children, Rudi Gulianni, Chris Christie, Steve Bannon, Children, Mitch McConnel, Gov. Pence, Ms. Conway, Sean Hannity, etc. His behavior and statements do not reflect me and I will actively do all in my power to not support the financial endeavors of these people. This includes not shopping at Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, TJ Maxx or the other stores that sell any product linked with Donald Trump and his Children until said stores discontinue and send back to Trump merchandise from his or his supporters brands. I will not stay at a Trump Hotel, and will boycott Corporations that book rooms or have seminars or conferences at his Resorts, Hotels, etc. I will boycott Corporations that are located in any Trump Property, this includes the Manhattan properties and the Office tower in San Francisco. I will not buy, rent or purchase a property developed by Trump and encourage others to not do so. I will not watch a Mark Burnett production since he refuses to release tapes of The Apprentice that likely show Mysogonist, racist and criminal behaviors. I will, as an individual strive and I am committed to increase the use of words Thank you, please and express appreciation to those I meet. I will not use curse and hateful words. I will increase words of kindness. I will listen and comfort those in my "circle of acquaintances, friends, and influence". I will strive to be kinder to all. I will allow "that person" to cut in during heavy traffic. When things go wrong I will not blame others, I will find solutions instead. I will personally clean up hateful graffiti. If someone uses hateful, mysogonistic, vulgar, sexist, and racist speech, I will kindly ask them to stop. I will hold doors for the Elderly, Disabled, Women, Children. I will let the person(s) with one item in the shopping line go in front of me. I will help the Disabled and Elderly take out and in their garbage cans and volunteer to help them ... (Basically I will find ways to be of service and to do daily acts of kindness to) I will and do donate to Refugee Relief. I will welcome everyone of any background in my community, I will offer help to neighbors, find ways to assist "silently", and I will know people who live within a block of my home (at minimum) by name, wave hi and give kind greetings to them. My home will be a place where people know they are "safe" and accepted for "just being" when they are uncomfortable, in crisis, upset, or just need to talk. I will strive to be a good man of Integrity. Trump does not represent any trait I find desirable and I do not consider his example. His behaviors prove he is not a Man and he has no integrity. I abhor the behaviors of his "inner circle" (Gingrich, Pence, Sons, Christine, Gulianni, etc) they have no moral values that I esteem. The women in his circle that excuse or condone his Bullying are a bad example to women and men alike.
I can't do everything, however I can stand up and be a man of Integrity ... I encourage all men, especially White men like me to stand up and have Integrity and be honest and kind to all.

Dan M

Excellent comment. I wish there were more people like you! and me.

Jessica

Many people I love and respect don't understand why Trump being elected is a reason for some people to fear. I don't think they don't see it because they have hate in their hearts themselves. I think they live in an isolated world where diversity doesn't exist. I am blessed to have friends from many ethnic and religious backgrounds and different sexual orientations. I see their struggles and can feel their fears. Sometimes is hard to

Anonymous

I will never turn a blind eye to harassment. If I witness it, I will help the victim of it in anyway I possibly can. The bigotry and hatred of trump and his followers will never flourish.

Anonymous

Ditto.

Cheryl

I am with you and will speak out against bigotry and hatred. Shine that light!

Anonymous

thank you

Christopher Hund

I will be vigilant and provide a safe space to those who are harassed and living in fear.

Liberals are nuts

The only violence is being directed at white Trump supporters. All of this article is garbage. These scumbag black pieces of garbage are burning down cities, dragging white people out of their vehicles and beating them, and destroying property. Do you hear a peep out of The American Criminal Liberties Union? Nope. The black and Hispanics are what's causing all this trouble. Get real!!

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