Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hate crimes surge in US after Obama election: Experts Say.

I have not read much in the media and on blogs about this AFP report:

Mark Potok, director of the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, said the final weeks of the US election campaign and its immediate aftermath had witnessed "hundreds and hundreds" of hate-related incidents.

"Since the closing weeks of the campaign, we've seen a real and significant, white backlash break out and I think it's getting worse," Potok told AFP.

Potok traced the onset of the incidents to around the time of election rallies by Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin where shouts of "Kill Him!" were reportedly heard from sections of the crowd.

"But what we're seeing now is everything from cross burnings, to death threats, to Obama effigies hanging in nooses to ugly racial incidents in schoolyards around the country," Potok said.

"It's been really quite something. I can't quantify the figures beyond saying that clearly there have been hundreds and hundreds of these incidents."

Brian Levin, a professor from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino also said the rise in hate crimes appeared to fit into part of a longer term trend.

"We don't have exact figures but what I can say anecdotally is that there does seem to be a significant spike in hate crimes from around the election period up until now," Levin said.

Of course, there a lot of "seems" and "can'ts"... so it remains to be confirmed. Besides, it seems that hate crimes also increased in some parts of the country last year (See this article on the state of Washington. ).
I am just surprised that this is not talked about. Fear that it might give more people ideas and ignite more hate crimes? Or just too taboo to be discussed?
Strangely, the scary idea that Obama might be killed by a nutjob has crossed the minds of some of my students who asked me a couple of days after the elections "How long do you think he has"?. Well, granted, they may just have spent too much time watching 24.
Given the hate of some of the people at the Republican meetings, I wouldn't be surprised that some haters would try to retaliate against "minorities" yet I think it is just the last convulsions of a dead beast!


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